by Paula Nichols
February 19, 2014 (ISN) – Having returned to Sochi after a week of training in Germany, two of the youngest members of the Canadian Olympic Team were ready for their moment at centre ice.
Having already won a silver medal in the inaugural team event to kickstart her Olympic debut, Kaetlyn Osmond wasn’t quite able to match that performance, doubling the back end of a planned triple toe-triple toe combination and falling on a double Axel. She sits in 13th place with a score of 56.18.
“I was really excited I could come back from the mistakes on the jumps and still pull it together for the components and the other aspects of the program,” said the two-time Canadian champion. “It was actually the best time I’ve done all my spins in one program.”
This wasn’t just an Olympic debut for 16-year-old Gabrielle Daleman, but her first senior international competition. A strong jumper, she had some troubles on her opening triple Lutz-triple toe combo, but still recorded a personal best 52.61 to place 19th.
“I was a little nervous knowing that this was my first senior international but once I started skating I just told myself ‘do the best that you can’,” said Daleman. “Even though it wasn’t a perfect skate I’m still really happy with it.”
The two teenagers had recently returned to Sochi from Mannheim, Germany where they were able to train without being forced to adhere to the strict Olympic schedule. Osmond felt that break was beneficial.
“It made it feel like another competition that’s for sure,” said Osmond. “When I came back from Germany the excitement came back. I know before I left, just after the team event, everything started to feel really repetitive.”
But it also took a lot of effort for them to follow the successes of their Olympic teammates.
“It was kind of hard because it (TV coverage) was all in German,” said Daleman. “They weren’t really showing any of the Canadians but we were still watching, trying to stream online. I’m pretty sure our Canadian athletes must have heard us.”
At the top of the leaderboard is essentially a three-way battle for the gold medal, with defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea, host nation hope Adelina Sotnikova and former world champion Carolina Kostner of Italy all within 0.80 of each other after outstanding skates. The 15-year-old star of the team event, Yulia Lipnitskaya, fell on her triple flip and is fifth.
But the real shocker is Olympic silver medallist and two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan in 16th. Going last and directly after Sotnikova blew the roof off the Iceberg Skating Palace, Asada fell on her trademark triple Axel and also doubled a planned triple loop, causing her to leave out an entire combination.
The free skate will take place on Thursday evening.