Kaetlyn Osmond skates to 5th-place finish in team ladies short program
Canadian qualifies for Sunday's free skate
Kaetlyn Osmond wasted no time getting comfortable at her first Olympic Games.
The 18-year Canadian made a successful debut on Saturday, securing a fifth-place finish in the ladies short program component of the figure skating team event.
As expected, the three final skaters of the day nailed down the top three spots in the final standings.
Russian Yulia Lipnitskaya took first place, followed by Carolina Kostner of Italy and Mao Asada of Japan. American Ashley Wagner finished fourth. The second half of the event goes tomorrow with the ladies free skate.
Osmond said she was relieved to skate a clean program and put the first skate behind her.
"I was actually a little bit nervous before it, but to go out and skate a perfect short program at the Olympics is great, and it's even better to be able to do that for our team."
"I had fun with it. I wanted to think of it as any other competition. The ice is nice and even though it's a big stadium and a big event, it felt like I was at home practising. I feel really confident in these jumps, but when I landed them they felt a little shaky, but I guess that's just the excitement. Knowing that I can skate a programme that well makes me want to go out and do better."
As if preparing for her short program wasn't enough, Osmond also had to deal with a surprise drug test earlier in the day.
"I was in the middle of a nap. I had my 'Do Not Disturb' sign on.' It was around noon. I knew there was a possibility of it happening."
Russian sends crowd home happy
Lipnitskaya, cheered on by a raucous home crowd, scored 72.90 for her routine, narrowly beating out the 70.84 from runner-up Carolina Kostner. Osmond finished with a total of 62.54.
The young Russian, also competing in her first Olympics, captured the European championship earlier this year, the youngest woman ever to do so.
If she felt any added pressure due to the fact that she was competing in her home country, she showed no sign of it, skating a clean routine and sending a message to her competitors ahead of Sunday’s free skate.
Many happy returns
Italy’s Kostner, competing in her 2nd Olympics following a 7th place finish in Vancouver, was happy with her runner-up finish, particularly because it came on the day of her 27th birthday.
"It was strange in the beginning. At first I thought, 'Oh no'. I'm not a girl who celebrates her birthday. But now, after skating like that, it's the best present I could have received. It's an amazing feeling. This is my best birthday ever."
Japanese hopes take a tumble
The other key contender coming in, Japan’s Asada, fell on her triple axel, and has some work to do if she hopes to catch the frontrunners in the free skate. Asada won a silver medal in Vancouver in the ladies individual competition.
"I couldn't skate the way I'm capable of skating," she said. "I told my teammates, 'I'm so sorry' (for the fall). But I am glad we went through."
Unlike Lipnitskaya, Asada admitted that she let the moment affect her performance.
"I was unbelievably nervous. I felt more pressure than I expected. It just wasn't my performance. I've got to settle my nerves."
The Russian's first-place finish adds another 10 points to the host country's overall score, bringing their event-leading total to 47 points.
Canada moves up to 41 points with the 5th-place finish by Osmond and currently remains in second spot, 6 points behind Russia.
The top 5 skaters all advanced to the ladies free skate portion of the team event on Sunday.