Regina / Canada

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World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond, of Canada, won the battle of ‘Black Swans’ as the Ladies event at Skate Canada International in Regina (CAN) concluded Saturday with the Free Skating. Russia’s Maria Sotskova claimed the silver medal and USA’s Ashley Wagner jumped from seventh after the Short Program to the podium, taking the bronze.

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Osmond – one of two skaters who performed to Tchaikovsky’s classic – suffered a shaky start to her expressive program, stumbling badly on the back end of her triple flip-triple toe combo, but then rallied to land a double Axel-triple toe, triple Lutz and two more triples. However, the three-time Canadian Champion later doubled a flip and fell on a double Axel at the end. The 21-year-old scored 136.85 points and won with 212.91 points overall. “I am absolutely happy how today went, but in my long program I definitely have some work to do,” Osmond said. “Overall, it was my best performance of the season, although some of the jumps did not work out very great.”

Sotskova’s fluid performance to ‘Claire de Lune’, by Claude Debussy, was highlighted by four clean triples, but she under-rotated a triple Lutz and a triple flip as well as a double Axel. The 2016 World Junior silver medalist earned 126.42 points for the Free Skating and totalled 192.52 points. “I am pleased with my performance, because I skated my program clean and I am happy with my score and my result,” the 17-year-old said. “It is an important season, but I prepared for it like for any other season. I try not to think about it too much, because it would make me nervous.”

Wagner gave a strong performance to ‘Moulin Rouge’, completing four clean triple jumps, but she under-rotated the toe in her triple flip-triple toe combination, as well as a triple loop. The 2016 World silver medalist picked up 122.37 points, contributing to her total score of 183.94 points. “Today was a really solid skate for me,” Wagner said. “I think it was a nice checking point for me to see where I am at in the season and where I want to go. It was a huge stepping stone that is out of the way and I am looking forward to Skate America (November 24-26), being even stronger.”

Courtney Hicks (USA) remained in fourth place on 182.57 points, while 2017 World Junior silver medalist Marin Honda (JPN) recovered from a faulty Short Program with a clean Free Skating to jump from tenth place to fifth on 178.24 points. Honda’s compatriot, Rika Hongo, came sixth (176.34 points), and  Anna Pogorilaya (RUS), who had been in second place following the Short Program – and, like Osmond, skated to ‘Black Swan’ – failed to build on it and dropped to ninth (156.89 points).

Skate Canada International concludes Sunday with the Exhibition Gala and is  the second of six events in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating