Marystown’s darling is hanging up her skates.
Kaetlyn Osmond, the reigning world women’s figure skating champ and 2018 Olympic bronze medalist, announced on Twitter Thursday she is retiring from competitive figure skating.
“I guess it’s officially out there for everyone to know,” Osmond posted. “I am no longer going to be competing. I’ve personally known this for a while, but to hear it officially announced, it doesn’t sound real. I am excited about future plans that I have, and I can’t wait to share them with you!”
Her gold medal in Milan, Italy was the first world championship win for a Canadian woman since the great Karen Magnussen, who won in 1973.
In South Korea, her bronze was Canada’s first medal in women's figure skating since Joannie Rochette placed third in Vancouver eight years ago.
Her retirement from competitive skating doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Last April, she visited her native Marystown for the first time in four years, and hinted at the time that retirement was looming.
“I love competing at the Olympics,” she said, “and I've gotten the opportunity to skate in two of them already.
“They're just so exciting, and it's the one time every four years the entire country and world comes together. So it's always exciting to go out and represent Canada on the biggest stage ever.
“It's definitely in the back of my mind to compete there four years from now. That said, I'm taking it year by year. Four years is a long commitment.
"The last four years were really, really hard," she said. "I didn't realize it as I was doing it, but sitting down I honestly can't believe I did it. It wasn't a smooth ride, that's for sure."
At the height of her training, Osmond was a virtual athletic machine. Often up and gone at 6 a.m. and home by 6 p.m., in between were three one-hour on-ice training sessions five days a week, and daily off-ice training sessions which were a combination of strength training, cardio, stretching and massage.
Then there was the ballet work, and meetings with sports psychologists and nutritionists.
Osmond’s career was nearly scuttled in 2014 when she suffered a broken right leg seven months after her Olympic debut in Sochi, Russia.
The injury required a couple of surgeries, and kept her off the ice for nearly a year.
She returned with a vengeance, winning the silver medal at the 2017 world championships, sharing the podium with teammate Gabrielle Daleman, who won bronze.
It was the first time two Canadian women had stood together at the world championship top three.
Osmond, now 23 and a resident of Edmonton since she was 10, left Marystown when she was eight, along with her older sister, Natasha, an outstanding skater as well, to live and train with coach Josee Picard in Montreal.
Two years after that, the entire family moved to Edmonton where she trained at Ravi Walia's Ice Palace Figure Skating Club and kick-started her Olympic and world championship career.
Winner of a bronze medal for Newfoundland and Labrador as an 11-year-old at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, Osmond burst onto the national scene at the 2012 Canadian championships where she won the bronze medal, just a year after placing sixth in the junior ranks.
She won nationals in 2013, 2014 and 2017, making her world championship debut in 2013 with an eighth-place showing.
She finished 13th in Sochi Olympics before the injury. In addition to the bronze in Pyeongchang last year, she was also part of Canada’s gold medal team at the 2018 Olympics.
Walia told The Telegram last year he wouldn’t go so far as to say he saw all this coming, but he got a glimpse into the future shortly after he began coaching her.
The two were in Vancouver and Osmond was the final skater of the day. While the judges were scoring the previous skater, Osmond waited by the door leading to the ice, anxious to get the show on the road.
Most kids are usually a bag of nerves in this instance. Not Osmond.
“She’s always loved competing and performing, and she’s always loved being the centre of attention, and always rose to the occasion in competition,” he said.
“When she was young, that was something she looked forward to, and that’s really rare for an athlete ... to love it as much as she does. She's never really been afraid of competition, mostly speaking when she was young, of course.”
She’s been away from Marystown a really, really long time — Osmond was Alberta's female athlete of the year in 2017, and may win again tonight, when that province presents its top awards for 2018 — but this province still considers her one of its own.
The arena in Marystown is now the Kaetlyn Osmond Arena, and the highway from Red Harbour to Marystown was renamed Osmond Way.
Osmond to skate at Mile One Centre
Skating fans in Newfoundland and Labrador will get another chance to watch Kaetlyn Osmond skate live.
Osmond is one of the headliners for the “Rock the Rink Tour” which will stop at Mile One Centre in St. John’s on Nov. 23.
Tickets go on sale noon today.
Osmond was also part of the “Thank-You Canada Tour” which included a Mile One date last November.
Along with Osmond, among the other skaters on the “Rock the Rink Tour” are Olympic champions and three-time world champs Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, three-time world champ and Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan and three-time world champ and two-time Olympic silver medallist Elvis Stojko.