Retirement has been a rocky road for Osmond, who hopes to help other young women

Retirement has been a rocky road for Osmond, who hopes to help other young women

TORONTO — For the better part of two decades, Kaetlyn Osmond knew exactly what she’d be doing every day. Her world and her schedule revolved around figure skating.

The 24-year-old announced her retirement last May, and hasn’t competed since winning gold at the 2018 world championships. And while she’s completely at peace with her decision to walk away when she did, the months since haven’t been all smooth sailing.

“It was a big change,” Osmond said Wednesday. “Not having the rink to go to every day — the rink was a safe spot for me — skating was my job, it was my hobby, it was all my friends, it was just a great place for me to be. And I knew exactly what my purpose was every single day.

“Losing that was a lot harder than I was expecting it to be. I didn’t have a team of 15 people telling me where to be and what to do, I had to figure that out on my own. And it felt like I had to grow up really quickly.”

Osmond retired as the country’s most decorated female skater of all time, with three Olympic medals, and two world championship medals.

But in the contemplative moments to come, she faced some serious emotional demons. The native of Marystown, N.L., has been an open book on social media about her struggles.

“I know being in skating I kept everything pretty quiet as much as I could while I competed, I didn’t want the added distractions for myself. And in doing that I just showed what I wanted people to see, the happy, no issues, always positive-looking person,” Osmond said. “When I retired I realized I was having a lot more issues than expected, some with body image, some with just confusion and not knowing which way to go.”

On Instagram a few months ago, Osmond said the prospects of restarting a new life were “absolutely terrifying.”

“I’ve always dealt with insecurities, but they were amplified leading into this (Rock the Rink) tour,” she wrote. “I was terrified and angry. I hated the way I looked and the way I felt. Feeling like the minute I saw the people I would be touring with, they would want nothing to do with me.”

Her social media posts began “very selfishly,” she said. “I just wanted to rant and get it off my chest.

But people responded.

“I realized I didn’t want to keep that quiet, I wanted to be a voice … and hearing people reach out to me since then has been very exciting, so I want to continue that and hope to keep people positive, not even in the athletic world but just young female and young athletes in general,” Osmond said.

Osmond certainly isn’t alone in battling body image issues. According to Canada’s National Eating Disorder Information Centre, female athletes in aesthetic sports — figure skating, dance, gymnastics — were found to be at the highest risk for eating disorders. Athletes competing in weight-class sports such as wrestling and endurance sports such as distance running were also at an elevated risk.

Among female skaters who’ve been vocal about eating disorders are Canadian Gabrielle Daleman, who won bronze at the 2017 world championships in Finland where Osmond captured silver, American Gracie Gold and Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya.

“It’s definitely hard being an athlete, you’re put in the spotlight quite a bit,” Osmond said. “We’re also in a judged sport, which is an incredible thing because it makes it very unique. But I’ve been literally put in front of judges since I was four years old so it’s hard to get that aspect out of my mind. The feeling of being continuously judged is definitely there. That being said, I don’t regret anything I did, I love everything about skating.”

Osmond, who moved to Toronto this week, has been busy in her retirement. On top of skating in Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s cross-Canada Rock the Rink Tour last fall, she performed in Stars on Ice, and tours in Switzerland and South Korea. She’s does regular coaching seminars and has started her own development camp in Newfoundland called “Off the Rock” that will eventually see two skaters chosen to travel to Edmonton next summer to work with her former coach Ravi Walia.

She’s looking forward to next week’s Canadian championships at Paramount Fine Foods Centre. She won her first national title at that rink, and as a young girl travelled to watch her older sister compete there.

“I love nationals so much, it was always my highlight of every year,” she said. “And the Mississauga rink is always a very special place for me. I’m excited to be able to go there and see who’s going to have that special moment again there.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read