If you're going to have a Canada Month, you simply have to interview the country's reigning women's champion. It's just the only way to do it, right? The hardest part of interviewing so many of these amazing skaters that I personally just adore watching - like Kaetlyn Osmond - is not fangirling myself and I have to say in this particular case, I just can't gush enough. I remember sitting on my couch in the dead of winter glued to the television set cheering on Team Canada in the Sochi team event and being like "HAYYYY!" when Kaetlyn went out and skated lights out at the Olympics. As skating fans here in Canada, we really are just SO fortunate to be represented by a skater who is not only technically outstanding but really gifted as a performer as well. I just think Kaetlyn is fabulously talented and it was just my absolute pleasure to have chance to talk to her about being from Atlantic Canada, her goals for next season, working with Ravi Walia and Lance Vipond, life off the ice, confidence and much, much more in this absolute must read interview:
Q: Before anything, I just want to say that I think you are just fantastic! You've got personality plus on the ice, are fearless and just bring it out there... plus you're originally from right out here on the east coast. I love it! What do you love most about Atlantic Canada?
A: The best thing about the Atlantic Canada I find is having the water right there everywhere I go. I absolutely love the water and living out west in Edmonton, I find the appreciation of having the ocean as my backyard whenever I go home to Newfoundland. Also, I love the small town feel of 'everyone knows everyone'. It feels like a giant family that I know always supports me.
Q: You're an Olympic silver medallist now, you've represented Canada at the World Championships and Four Continents Championships, won two Canadian titles as well Skate Canada International and Nebelhorn Trophy... looking at all of your amazing accomplishments so far, what are you proudest of or what memories on the ice stand out as the most special to you?
A: My proudest moments are obviously each and every accomplishment, especially ending on the podium on the international stages. However, my absolutely favourite memories are the competitions within Canada. Nationals this past year is a memory I will always cherish. It was such a rough year with injuries causing me a lot of frustration. When Nationals rolled around I knew I had the Olympic spot on the line along with regaining my national title. A lot of pressure for one competition! My thought going in wasn't the pressure of winning, it was proving myself in front of an audience and me. I wanted to prove that I could come back from the hardest season and put my heart out on the ice and skate the best I know I can. That is exactly what I did. When my music ended after my long program, I just took the biggest breath and enjoyed my moment out on the ice. I didn't want to ever leave that ice.
Q: Last year I interviewed your choreographer Lance Vipond and he talked a lot about how much your basic skating skills have improved in the last year and how its really shown in your programs as well. The programs you skated this past season competitively as well as the programs you did in Stars On Ice I think really showed off your maturity and ability to take on different styles. What do you like most about tackling different styles and pieces of music and what piece of music would you LOVE to skate to someday?
A: My favourite thing about tackling many different styles of dance and music is that it continues to challenge me every day. I learn so much more about my body and how to work it the way I want. I love keeping things different. The same repetitiveness of skating can be tiring, so the continuous change in styles keeps things interesting and fresh. I also love that when I go to competitions no one knows what to expect and I come out as a surprise every year.
A: I have been working with Ravi and Lance for eight years now. They know what I need to do to accomplish more and more things every year. Ravi knows how to work me on the ice to make myself feel confident and ready every time I step out on the ice for competition. Also, his calm and strict personality is a perfect opposition to my hyper, bubbly self which makes it a perfect combination for training and competition. Lance is very creative and knows what I can do, whether I know I can do it or not. He continues to challenge me every year with my choreography, making me a varied skater and a much stronger skater every year. He lets me input my own ideas which brings out my own heart in my programs. Also, whenever I say something isn't possible and don't understand how he is doing something, he makes me do it anyways and surprises me every time when I figure it out.
Q: You've already tackled the triple flip/triple toe, double axel/triple toe and triple toe/triple toe. What's your next technical challenge out there in terms of jumping?
A: Well, I have already tackled so many different triple combinations and difficult elements. However, many people don't know that I do actually have a triple loop because I have never competed with it. I do want to add that to my program this year, showing that I can do all my triples. Maybe in the future, I will try triple Axels and maybe even a quad.
A: If I have no schoolwork to do on my rainy days off, I find myself either glued to Netflix watching some movie or TV show (like Nashville or Heartland) or I find myself stuck in the pages of a book. At the moment I am reading "P.S. I Love You". However, I am not always stuck inside on rainy days. I do love running outside and splashing in the puddles. I have a little kid's attitude sometimes.
Q: Looking forward to next season, what are your goals going forward and what can you share about new programs and how your training has been going as of late?
A: I have many goals for next year. I proved to myself last season that I can practice and be very consistent in what I am doing though I never got to show that on the international stage last year. That is my biggest goal this year... to redeem myself for the programs that I am not too proud of last year. This year's short, which is the only program I have choreographed as of now, is really going to help me grow as a skater. Lance did an amazing job with showing me off as a newer skater this season. I am very excited to show people. I am leaving the style and music quiet and making it a surprise appearance during the competition season.
Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: I find that picking three favourite skaters is hard for me because I haven't really watched much skating growing up however Jeffrey Buttle, Kurt Browning and Akiko Suzuki have really stood out to me during their performances. This is because each one of them skates for the love of skating and you can really see their heart and passion in each and every performance. That is what I love seeing in this sport... that when it comes to competitions, you enjoy it knowing the training is there and you can just be free to perform.
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
A: Not many people actually know I am very shy. When I am meeting people for the first few times, I feel very awkward and scared I am going to say too much, not enough or just say the wrong thing.
Q: What do you love more than anything about being out on the ice?
A: What I love most is that I feel the most comfortable on the ice. All the shyness I dealt with growing up and the shyness I sometimes still feel just completely disappears while I am on the ice. The rink and the ice is what I consider home. It is where I can be free to be me and not worry about what anyone thinks.
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