Lacoste focuses on self despite Osmond surge

Defending Canadian champion remains resolute despite spotlight on challenger

Defending Canadian champ Amélie Lacoste has kept her thoughts internalized before Canadians.
Defending Canadian champ Amélie Lacoste has kept her thoughts internalized before Canadians. (Getty Images)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(01/10/2013) - "I know there's a new girl coming up, Kaetlyn Osmond. I know she's very good, but it forces me to reach other goals and be even better. It gives me a new challenge," Canadian ladies champion Amélie Lacoste said during a teleconference Wednesday.

At the 2012 Canadian Championships, Lacoste upset defending champion Cynthia Phaneuf. She subsequently bested Phaneuf at the Four Continents Championships, which earned her Canada's one berth at the 2012 World Championships. Her 16th-place finish in Nice kept Canada with just one ladies spot at the upcoming world championships.

Phaneuf announced her retirement last fall. Heading into the 2013 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, most eyes are on Osmond, who won gold medals last fall at Nebelhorn Trophy and Skate Canada.

"I need to keep the focus on myself," Lacoste said. "I'm going to go to nationals and think about myself, think about what are my goals and focus on my performance. There's nothing I can do about her performance, how she's going to skate.

"It's not in my control," she added. "The only thing I can control is my performance and how I'm going to react on the ice."

Lacoste, 24, said she's been training well despite nagging problems with her right hip, which she injured last fall. She's been working with a physiotherapist and said the only jump on which she's hampered is a triple loop-triple loop combination.

Following a sixth-place finish at Cup of China, she made some changes to the music and sequence of elements in her free skate. The music, "Rhapsody in Blue," remains, but the cuts have been tweaked. The short program to "The Feeling Begins" is unchanged.

Winning the Canadian title definitely gave Lacoste a confidence boost and a new approach to her skating. She also is aware that she's a role model for young skaters, and she's happy to be a positive presence.

"I told myself, 'OK, from now I just want to enjoy myself,'" she said. "Enjoy every opportunity, every competition for the rest of my career. Enjoy skating as much as I can.

"Overall, when I skate, I just need to skate for myself and not for others. Skate and enjoy myself."

To date, Osmond is the only Canadian ladies skater to meet the ISU's minimum score needed to qualify for the world championships. Lacoste said she had hoped to achieve it during the fall international competitions, but she did not.

"Of course, it's in my head, but I try to not focus on that," she added. "If I reach my goal and win the national championship again this year, I hope Skate Canada gives me another chance at Four Continents to do the points for worlds."