Marystown's Kaetlyn Osmond says winning her first national senior women's figure skating championship has been "unbelievably amazing."
"I was only dreaming of it for as long as I can remember and now it's actually happened," said Osmond.
Osmond, 17, won the women's singles Saturday in Mississauga with a total of 201.34 points, skating to music from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen. On Friday, she won the short program.
Osmond's rise to the top of the Canadian figure-skating world started in 2012 when she won bronze at the Canadian championships, and then went on to capture gold at the Skate Canada International competition in October.
Osmond said those performances gave her more confidence and focus.
"It made everything more worthwhile and easier to push towards," said Osmond.
Friends from Marystown thrilled
Katie Stoodley, 17, who skated with Osmond in Marystown heard the news when she was at a figure skating competition in Mount Pearl where news of Osmond's victory travelled fast.
"A lot of the younger skaters who didn't skate with her aspire to be like her," said Stoodley. "I know a lot of the skaters want to become as good as she is and look to her as a role model, so she's a good influence on our club."
Sharon Stoodley, former director of the Marystown Ice Crystal Figure Skating Club, said even when Osmond was a little girl, she showed talent and perseverance.
"Out with the little pink helmet on, doing her own business, didn't matter what people thought," said Sharon Stoodley. "Carefree, always a smile on her face. And our club is very proud of her, what's she achieved and what she is still yet to achieve."
'Have perseverance. You want to do well? You will do well.' —Sharon Stoodley, former president, Marystown Ice Crystal Figureskating Club
Stoodley added that Osmond inspires all of the Marystown skaters.
"Being from a small town does not mean you're not going to go far with the program," said Stoodley. "Have perseverance. You want to do well? You will do well, and succeed just like Kaetlyn."
Major sacrifices for sport
Osmond said becoming a top figure skater has meant some major sacrifices for her, such as moving away from her home of Marystown for training, first to Montreal and now to Edmonton for long days on the ice.
"When you think of a teenager, you think of hanging out with friends a lot or going to a full-time school," said Osmond.
"On the weekends, my friends are staying up until, like, one in the morning and then there's me fighting to stay up until eight."
Osmond will be Canada's only female entry at the world figure skating championships in London, Ontario in March. She also said she has her eye on the 2014 Winter Olympics, to be held in Sochi, Russia.
"With everything that's happened within this season, it's become more of a reality than a dream to go to the next Olympics, and I'm really hoping I can push forward and make it there."