For the first time in a long time, Kaetlyn Osmond felt like herself.
The 20-year-old from Marystown, N.L., took the first step toward reclaiming her Canadian crown, laying down the strongest program since a gruesome broken leg sidelined her for all of last season. The skate was good enough to give her the lead after the short program at the Canadian figure skating championships.
"It's been a long time," Osmond said afterward.
The two-time Canadian champion scored 70.63 points for her performance to Cyndi Lauper's lyrical La Vie en Rose, her one misstep coming on a combination — she doubled the planned triple toe-loop.
And when she turned her final spin, the Scotiabank Centre crowd rose in a standing ovation.
"It felt really good, it gave me the feeling that I am back," she said. "And no matter how many other competitions I've done this year, this is the first competition that I've truly felt back.
"And having that standing ovation was even better."
Also Friday, Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje won the short dance, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won the pairs short program and Patrick Chan sits first after the men's short program.
Osmond broke her right fibula in two places in the fall of 2014, an injury that required two surgeries to repair. She virtually had to learn to skate all over again — it was two weeks into her return before she could even change directions on the ice.
Alain Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., was second with a score of 68.81. Defending champion Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., fell on her triple Lutz and finished third (64.44).
"For me, it's just more important that I make the world team, whether it's first or second, I'm not really focused on winning exactly," Chartrand said. "Of course, winning would be amazing."
The Canadian championships determine the team for the world championships in Boston in March. Canada can send two skaters each in men's and women's singles, plus three ice dance teams and three pairs teams.
Duhamel, from Lively, Ont., and Radford, from Balmertown, Ont., scored 73.03 for their skate to Ewan McGregor's Your Song, from "Moulin Rouge." The performance was below what the world champions are capable of, and Duhamel fought back tears talking to reporters afterward.
"Frustrating," she said. "There's no other way to sum it up. It makes me extremely angry, it makes me sad in a way that I can't figure it out."
"Sometimes in skating and in sport in general, it's this invisible thing that is there," Radford added. "I don't think Usain Bolt runs a world record every day."
Julianne Seguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Montreal are second (69.73), while Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch of Toronto are third (69.50).
Weaver and Poje, world silver and bronze medallists, take a sizeable lead into Saturday's long program. The Waterloo, Ont., skaters scored 76.20 for their elegant skate to The Blue Danube.
Piper Gilles of Toronto and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., were second with 70.63 points, while Alexandra Paul of Midhurst, Ont., and Mitchell Islam of Barrie, Ont., were third with 68.30.
Weaver and Poje are one victory from being undefeated through two seasons — their bronze at last year's world championships is their only "loss" since the fall of 2014.
Gilles and Poirier, meanwhile, took an off-beat route to their second place finish in Friday's short dance, skating to a program that combined The Beatles and Mozart. The Beatles' Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds bookends the middle waltz segment.
"I think it's so us," Gilles said of the music, the program, and its quirky choreography. "We look at all the other competitors who are on the scene, and I'm not saying we are always the different ones, but everyone tends to do the lovey-dovey, the partner, the beautiful dancers.
"We can do that, we showed that last year with our very dancey program, but we keep wanting to try things that are interesting for us, and keeps pushing forward, so doing something daring and interesting makes us feel like we're doing our job."
Three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Toronto was gunning to reclaim his Canadian crown later Friday. The seven-time national champion took last season off.