Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond to skip Grand Prix circuit after year 'beyond expectations'
2-time Olympic medallist intends to 'refocus' and evaluate next steps
For once, Kaetlyn Osmond is taking a break because she wants to.
Canada's world figure skating champion is skipping the ISU Grand Prix circuit next fall as she ponders her future, and enjoys some time away from the competitive rink. She's not entirely sure whether she'll return, she'll make that decision in the coming months.
"I'm still leaving everything open, my head right now is just focused on this [break]," Osmond said.
But coming off a four-year stretch that has seen the 22-year-old from Marystown, N.L., sidelined for months at a time due to serious injury, Osmond enjoying being in the driver's seat for a change.
"It feels really good," she said. "This is the first time since I've taken more than a full week off in I don't know how many years."
Osmond won bronze in women's singles at the Pyeongchang Olympics, and helped Canada win gold in the team event. A month later, at the world championships in Milan, Osmond captured Canada's first women's world gold in 45 years.
But she barely had time to soak it in. She flew straight from Italy to Japan's "Stars on Ice" tour, and had been on tour in Japan and then Canada until last week, which she spent enjoying an "incredible and very much-needed" vacation in the Dominican Republic.
"It's been very busy doing shows, which has absolutely been an incredible way to celebrate for me, and I was enjoying every single moment of it," Osmond said.
Osmond, who lives and trains in Sherwood Park, Alta., said her excellent — and somewhat unexpected — season left her with a lot to think about.
"My goal was 2018 for the longest time and for the last couple of years I really focused on each competition, and being able to do well and do my best in each competition, and when worlds ended, so much more happened this season than I ever could expect, winning worlds and medalling at the Olympics twice," Osmond said. "So it was just a lot happening . . . and I just need time to refocus now."
With the 2022 Beijing Olympics still four years away, there's no better time to take a break.
"The next Olympics is a lot of time from now. It's something that I've barely been able to think about," she said on whether she plans to be in Beijing. "But that's part of the reason that I'm taking this time off for this fall is to think about my goals, think about how many more years I'll be competing. And just see where it goes from there. Right now, I just can't wrap my head around it."
Skating has given me much: happiness, excitement, friendships, and opportunities that I never thought were possible. I love skating and competing, but I’m excited to re-evaluate and refocus and try new things this fall. Goodluck to everyone in the Grand Prixs! <a href="https://t.co/olcnEchXVr">pic.twitter.com/olcnEchXVr</a>—@kaetlyn_23
Osmond was sidelined for more than a season when she suffered a gruesome broken leg in the fall of 2014. She didn't watch the Grand Prix events — an international circuit that sees the top performers compete in the Grand Prix Finale — during her recovery. It was too tough to watch. And her rehabilitation was excruciating slow. She had re-learn how to skate, and overcome a huge amount of self-doubt.
But she eventually bounced back stronger than ever, so she figures: why not from this break as well?
"Thinking back to 2014, and being forced to take that year off, in the long run it served me really well and I felt better this year than I ever was," she said. "This will be a little different, I won't have a rebuild if the decision is that I come back, but I'll be taking this fall for myself."
Osmond will still work on choreographing a short program for next season. She's in the process of listening to music, and will be back on the ice to work on the choreography in a couple of weeks.
She's also skate in "The Thank You Canada" tour next fall with teammates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford. The cross-country tour opens Oct. 5 in Abbotsford, B.C., and will stop in 30 cities.
"So I'll still be skating," said Osmond.
She's also been taking online communications courses through Athabasca University, and is interested in broadcasting.
Osmond's announcement comes at a time when Canada's figure skating team is already depleted. Of the team that won gold in Pyeongchang, Chan, a three-time world champion, and decorated pairs tandem Duhamel and Radford retired after the Olympics, while Virtue and Moir also likely skated their last competitive programs at the Games.