Nfld. & Labrador

Pride, joy, tears: Marystown celebrates Kaetlyn Osmond

People from the entire Burin Peninsula and beyond gathered in Marystown Saturday for a parade, a meet and greet, and special skating performance celebrating Kaetlyn Osmond.

More than 1,000 took in special performance at Olympian's namesake arena

Figure skating champion Kaetlyn Osmond is back in her hometown of Marystown for a welcoming parade and a big performance. (CBC/Ariana Kelland)

The energy on the Burin Peninsula is electric Saturday as people gather to celebrate their homegrown hero. 

"This is absolutely incredible," said Kaetlyn Osmond, beaming.

"Being home is always exciting, and to have a welcome like this is just unbelievable," the 22-year-old skater said Saturday during the parade honouring her achievements. 

Before you even reach Marystown, there are red balloons and Canadian flags along the road, signalling hometown pride for world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Osmond.

The Burin Peninsula town welcomed the skater with a homecoming parade on Saturday morning, before she greeted fans at St. Gabriel's Hall.

'They want to be like her someday!'

"You don't hear very often about people from small towns in rural Newfoundland that made it so big and got to do so many great things in their lives," said a member of the Marystown Central High School's student council from the back of a pickup truck in the parade. 

"So it's nice to be able to have our own sort of hometown hero."

"We're really cold and really uncomfortable in here, but it's worth it!" another student in the truck said. 

The student said she wants to be an actress, and seeing Osmond's success makes her feel like she actually can. 

"We are Filipinos and we want to support Kaetlyn. We are so proud of her, our kids love her!" said one woman walking in the parade. 

"They want to be like her someday!"

Young hockey players and figure skaters from the club Osmond started skating in as a child were on hand as well to meet their idol. 

'An all-around good decision'

Osmond's family filled a bus in the parade, just before provincial politicians and the champion figure skater. 

"I can't keep the tears in, it's very, very emotional. And probably will be for many years," her mom, Jackie Osmond, told CBC News. 

She said none of her daughter's success would be possible without the support of their whole family. 

"We had to leave for work purposes anyway, like a lot of Newfoundlanders have to do, and we just reaped the benefits of being able to do that and Kaetlyn and her sister being able to take part in skating," said Osmond. 

"It was an all-around good decision."

Jam-packed schedule

On Saturday night, Osmond will perform in the Ice Crystals Figure Skating Club's ice show at Marystown's Kaetlyn Osmond Arena.

She currently holds the world women's figure skating title, as well as the Olympic bronze figure skating medal and the Olympic gold team medal.

Red balloons and Canadian flags decorate the Marystown sign to welcome Kaetlyn Osmond home. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Osmond's dedication to her hometown is clear, and is displayed under her name during competitive skates.

While she left the province at age eight, Osmond said Marystown will always be home.

And it's clear the town feels the same way. Photos of the skater cover light poles and businesses throughout the area, which has a population of over 5,000.

After her Marystown homecoming, Osmond will skate in Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor next weekend. 

With files from Fred Hutton