Canada’s Osmond wins gold at grand prix debut

Kaetlyn Osmond at 2012 Skate Canada

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada performs to “Carmen” at 2012 Skate Canada.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada was the surprise winner in the Ladies figure skating event at Skate Canada International in Windsor on Saturday. Japan’s Akiko Suzuki rose from fifth to claim the silver, while teammate Kanako Murakami moved up one spot to take bronze.

Osmond’s dramatic routine to Carmen, which had a modern touch, featured a triple flip-double toe, a double Axel-triple toe, as well as three more triples and three level-four spins.

The 16-year-old scored 115.89 (57.28/59.61) points and was ranked second in the free skating as she was in the short. However, her total score of 176.45 points propelled her to the title in what was the first Grand Prix event of her career.

“It is amazing. I learned so much at this competition and had fun,” said the skater from Alberta. “It wasn’t perfect, of course, I missed a couple of things, but definitely it improved so much on my last competition in components (score).”

“This (winning) is a little more shocking because it’s my first senior Grand Prix,” continued the 2012 Nebelhorn champion. “On the Junior Grand Prix, I was always ninth or 10th, so this is just extraordinary.”

Now the Canadian bronze medalist must wait and hope to see if she’ll be get a second Grand Prix assignment in order to have a chance to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Sochi. Osmond is on the alternate list, but currently there are no spots available.

Suzuki found herself in a similar situation to last year at Skate Canada when she stood in fifth place following the short program. Again, she fought back in the long. Skating to O from Cirque du Soleil, she landed six triples, including a double Axel-triple toe, as well as two level-four spins. The Lutz, however, got an edge call.

The sophisticated program was well received and shows a new side of the 27-year-old Japanese skater. The World bronze medalist won the free skating with 120.04 (60.22/59.82) points and accumulated a total score of 175.16 points.

“I was able to put my short program behind me and I performed quite well, so I’m happy”, said the Japanese silver medalist.

Comparing this year to last year, the skater felt that the situation was harder back then.

“Last year, I tried the triple-triple for the first time in the short program and I was nervous,” Suzuki noted. “My jumps were not going so well in practice and I had a little pressure.”

Murakami skated to three different Tangos by Astor Piazzolla and landed four triple jumps, a triple Lutz (with an edge call), triple loop, and two triple flips. However, as she often does, the Japanese bronze medalist struggled with underrotations on the second loop, a triple Salchow, and a triple toe.

The 2010 World Junior Champion earned 111.83 (53.49/58.34) points for a fourth place finish in the long, and moved up from fourth to third overall at 168.04 points.

“I think I did quite well,” said the 17-year-old from Nagoya. “My jumps were not perfect today, but I showed the character of a strong woman in the program which I always wanted to do.”

Russia’s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who finished third in the long with 112.90 (58.14/55.76) points, narrowly missed the podium to finish fourth at 168.00 points. The 15-year-old looked more grown up in her routine to Dark Eyes, and has improved her speed and ice coverage compared to last year.

The 2011 Skate Canada champion fell on an underrotated triple Lutz, but nailed a triple Lutz-double toe-single loop combination, as well as a double Axel-triple toe, three more triples jumps, and earned a level four on two spins. At the end of her performance, she happily pumped her fist.

“I was very excited at the end, because after all the problems I had this summer, I was able to overcome myself and give a strong performance,” the Youth Olympic Junior champion said. “I’m getting used to my new height and weight. It is a difficult time, but everybody has to go through it. My coach Alexei Mishin is very supportive.”

Elene Gedevanishvili was not able to defend her first place finish from the short program. Skating to Don Quixote, the Georgian crashed on her underrotated triple Lutz, popped the second Lutz, and stumbled on a triple Salchow that was underrotated as well. Nevertheless, she completed a double Axel-triple toe and two other triple jumps, and finished fifth overall with 160.52 points.

“I was not ready to skate the long. It will be better next time”, the 22-year-old promised.

Russia’s Ksenia Makarova faded from third to sixth overall with 154.11 points. Her opening triple loop was fine, but trouble started with the second jump—an underrotated and two-footed triple Lutz. She also fell hard on a double Axel attempt.

The highlight of Gracie Gold’s routine to Life is Beautiful was a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, but the US Junior champion doubled two other jumps and singled the second Lutz to place seventh overall (151.57).

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