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Injury leaves Canada's Osmond on unsteady footing

Reigning Skate Canada champion tempers expectations, for now
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A foot injury has caused Kaetlyn Osmond to modify the jump content in her 'Sweet Charity' short program. -Getty Images

Canadian champion and reigning Skate Canada gold medalist Kaetlyn Osmond said she is hopeful that her injured left foot (she called the injury a "stress reaction") will be fully recovered for the 2014 Canadian Figure Skating Championships but admitted she will not be 100 percent when she competes at Skate Canada next week in St. John, New Brunswick.

Osmond, 17, who trains in Edmonton, said she has been enduring a "huge problem" with her skates and that the injury was the result of training rather than from a specific incident. But it has been significant enough, she said, that she had to be in a walking cast for about two weeks and was off the ice for most of September. She said she resumed skating earlier this month.

When asked if she considered withdrawing from Skate Canada, she said, "We were contemplating it."

The injury has forced her to modify the technical elements of her short program. Originally, she had a triple flip-triple toe and a triple Lutz planned; she has changed the combination to a triple toe-triple toe, and the Lutz has been swapped out for a flip.

In addition, she has modified her training so that she is on the ice for only two hours a day instead of three, and she is doing more off-ice training, including hot yoga, Pilates, strength training, biking and swimming.

"By nationals, I should be perfectly fine," said Osmond, who noted that she has more pain when she walks than when she wears skates.

Osmond enjoyed a breakout 2012-13 season, winning Skate Canada and Canadian nationals, and placing eighth in her first trip to the world championships.

Until this injury, she said that her summer training had been cruising along fine. She spent a couple of weeks training with Frank Carroll in Southern California, where her longtime coach, Ravi Walia, joined her as well. Osmond said she had worked with Carroll in the past, and her rink does not have much ice time in August, so it was a good fit for her to return for some guidance from the man who led Evan Lysacek to the 2010 Olympic gold medal.

Plus, she added, "I need to get out of my cloud for a while."

Osmond said her new programs were working out well. Her sophisticated and jazzy short program music is from the Bob Fosse musical Sweet Charity, while she channels Cleopatra for her free skate. She tweeted recently about the arrival of her new dresses.

She had been hoping to be among the top contenders in her season Grand Prix debut. Among her main rivals in St. John will be former world medalists Akiko Suzuki of Japan and Alena Leonova of Russia. American entrants are U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold; Courtney Hicks, who last month won the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic; and Christina Gao. Yu-Na Kim, the 2010 Olympic champion, announced last month she was withdrawing from her Grand Prix events with a foot injury.

Following Skate Canada, Osmond is scheduled to compete at the Rostelecom Cup, Nov. 22-24 in Moscow.

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