Coach Ravi Walia impressed by Osmond’s successes
By Vladislav Luchianov
If Canada‘s Ravi Walia wasn’t a figure skating coach, he would probably be a jeweler. Most likely he would be not just a jeweler for a mass production but the master of a very unique and exclusive work.
This is just a very approximate comparison of a huge amount of work he did and does, coaching the 2013 Canadian figure skating champion Kaetlyn Osmond.
The results of any unique work do not appear immediately but when they do, they begin to amaze and impress so much that remain in people’s memory for a very long time. That’s what we can say about the work of Ravi Walia with Kaetlyn Osmond, which has been going on for many years and which so impressed us in this past skating season.
His student began skating at the age of two, following her elder sister Natasha. Due to a lack of ice during the summer in Marystown, her hometown, she traveled to Montreal to train. At the age of ten, Kaetlyn moves to Edmonton and begins to work with Walia.
This season, Walia’s student won her first international title at 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy. Kaetlyn then made her senior ISU Grand Prix debut at the 2012 Skate Canada, where she also won. She earned her third gold medal of the season by winning the title at the 2013 Canadian national championships. This was the first time in ten years that a ladies’ single skater from outside the province of Quebec won the national title.
During the season she successfully competed at the Four Continents Championships (7th place) and at her first senior World Championships, which was held in her home country and where she reached top eight. She has also contributed to the Canada’s silver medal at the 2013 World Team Trophy.
World Figure Skating talked with Ravi Walia about recent successes of his student, about Kaetlyn’s progress and about goals for the Olympic season.
Ravi, this season your student Kaetlyn impressed the world of figure skating by moving from little known junior to the elite of senior’s figure skating. What are your thoughts and feelings about it? How it became possible?
Ravi Walia: It was a very exciting season and I was really happy to see Kaetlyn move up in the ranks. At the beginning of the season, she made a goal to win the Canadian Championships and place in the top 10 at Worlds. Kaetlyn knew that she would have to make a lot of improvements to accomplish this goal and worked really hard on improving each aspect of her skating. We tried to show more maturity in her programs and hoped this would help her fit in with the best skaters in the world.
After her first victory of this season, at 2012 Nebelhorn Trophy, my thoughts were like “Where did they found this diamond and why it was hidden?!” I mean she didn’t have a big competitive history. What can you say about it?
Walia: I knew that it was important for Kaetlyn to make a good impression early in the season. Since she wasn’t a well-known skater, I was hoping that she would show her best and begin to create a buzz about her skating. It’s true that very few people knew who she was before this season and it appears that she came out of nowhere. However, it took many years of hard work and dedication to achieve this success.
You work with her since she was ten years old. Tell us, please, about the beginning of your collaboration.
Walia: I began coaching Kaetlyn in 2006. I immediately noticed her enormous potential and could see that there was something special about her. She was always very hard working and loved to perform. In the beginning, she had a lot of energy and enthusiasm but wasn’t always focused on her technique. As time went on, we worked on improving her technique and building a strong foundation for the future.
In your vision, what are the main reasons for her fast progress?
Walia: Kaetlyn has a very positive attitude and is very determined. When she moved up to the senior level, she knew it would be difficult to achieve good results. I think this motivated her to work harder on and off the ice. As she began to improve, she gained more confidence and determination for the future.
In one interview, you said that tried to prepare her slowly for the senior’s skating. Could you tell more about that?
Walia: I believe that you cannot rush the development of proper technique or take shortcuts to reach success. It is common for skaters to have set backs (growth spurts, injuries, distractions, etc) and this time has to be managed well. I tried to keep Kaetlyn motivated while teaching her strong basics and a good foundation for the more complex skills. Eventually, she began to improve and gained confidence. We took a step-by-step approach that seemed to work well for her.
Kaetlyn has won three competitions this season and done well at all others. Which tournament has impressed you the most and why?
Walia: I was really impressed with her performances at the Canadian Championships. There were a lot of expectations on her and she had not been practicing well the month before. She had never won the title before, but it felt like she was going in as a defending champion. I was very happy to see that she was able to perform with a freedom and joy to her skating.
And how do you see the present ladies single skating in general?
Walia: I think the top group of ladies is amazing! They are great role models and the other skaters can learn a lot from them. I am really happy that Kaetlyn has the opportunity to compete against them because I think it will push her to improve her performances.
What are your expectations for the upcoming season, which will be the Olympic one?
Walia: This season will be an exciting one for sure! I am hopeful that we can increase the technical difficulty of her programs as well as improve each aspect of the Program Component mark. Of course, she would like to qualify for the Olympic Games and improve on her 8th place finish at Worlds. She gained a lot of experience over the past season and has learned a lot at each event. I think all of this experience will help her in the upcoming season.
Read also – Kaetlyn Osmond: “I try to engage the crowd”
Photo: Olympic.ca; Kaetlyn Osmond’s supporters FB group.