Analysis Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond in medal position after women's short skate

OAR teens each set world records to land 1-2, with 15-year-old Zagitova ahead

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond thrust herself into podium consideration with a strong third-place performance in the women's short program at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The 22-year-old short program specialist from Marystown, N.L., earned a season's-best 78.87 points in the short skate for her Edith Piaf routine.

"I left nothing out on the table and I'm really glad I could do that," the 2017 world silver medallist said.

Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova, who turns 16 in May, set a new world record in the women's short program, scoring 82.92 points to oudo the previous standard set by teammate Evgenia Medvedeva, who sits in second, earlier in the event with 81.61.

Zagitova flawlessly executed a triple Lutz triple loop off the top of her Black Swan routine, followed later by a triple flip and a double Axel. That performance put the 2017 world junior champion into first place ahead of the free program, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.

Medvedeva, the 18-year-old two-time world champion, skated to Chopin's Nocturne and briefly held the world record until Zagitova's performance. She missed the Grand Prix Final with a fractured metatarsal and told The Associated Press that her two Grand Prix wins this season were achieved on painkillers because of the break.

"I'm satisfied with my performance today. It was not my best, but it was OK," she said. "All the battle is still ahead."

Osmond in gold-medal conversation

Medvedeva had not lost a competition in two years until she was beaten by Zagitova at the European Championships in Moscow. While the two enter the free skate as gold-medal favourites, Osmond "put herself right in that [podium] conversation with that performance," CBC commentator Carol Lane said immediately after her skate.

Osmond competed in the short skate for Canada in the team event, earning gold in the process. Osmond's triple flip with a sweeping free leg drew particular praise from CBC commentator Kurt Browning, calling her "one of the most natural performers under stress."

Osmond has had a difficult journey back to Olympic ice after she broke her right fibula in two places when she swerved to avoid hitting a skater in practice in September 2014.

She finished 13th in Sochi four years ago.

"I barely remember my last Olympic experience it was such a whirlwind," said Osmond. "Here, I feel so much more mature, so much more in control and to be able to put a program like that is always much better than it was four years ago."

Daleman slips to 7th

Fellow Canadian Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., fell on the second half of her triple toeloop combination near the beginning of her skate, but recovered to qualify in seventh place.

The 20-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., scored 68.90 points skating to Habanera from the opera Carmen. Daleman already owns gold in the team event from these Games, guaranteeing the title for Canada with her free skate.

Browning referred to Daleman's fall as a "very uncharacteristic mistake," adding that "the rest of the program was a masterpiece."

Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., was 0.04 points shy of qualifying for the 24-member free skate. The 19-year-old scored 51.42 while skating to Mein Herr from Cabaret.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press