ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Figure skating champion Kaetlyn Osmond will be receiving the highest honour in her home province — the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Osmond, 23, left Marystown, N.L., for Edmonton at a young age, but her province and hometown continue to cheer for her, even re-naming the local arena after her in 2014.
"When you see her on the ice, that’s it. That’s the town, that’s the pride, that’s the pleasure," said Dominic Lundrigan, the now-retired arena manager who remembers when Osmond first laced up her skates as a kid.
Osmond won the world figure skating championship and an Olympic bronze medal in 2018, and is a three-time Canadian champion.
Lundrigan said the young woman has put the small town of just over 5,000 on the map with her talent and success, and said she brings excitement to Marystown with every return visit.
"She lifts the spirits of the whole town when she comes home."
Osmond and artist Christopher Pratt were among 10 people named Monday as recipients of the order, granted for "excellence and achievement" to former and current residents of the province.
They will be inducted at a Jan. 29 ceremony.
Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote said in a statement that this year’s recipients represent the diversity of the province.
"While they vary in age, gender and the nature of their accomplishments, two things they all have in common are their love for Newfoundland and Labrador and their desire to make the world a better place," Foote wrote.
Osmond was greeted with a parade when she visited Marystown in April, later meeting with young skaters and performing at the packed arena.
Her visit also saw the official re-naming of a highway from Red Harbour, N.L., to Marystown as Osmond Way. A ceremony recognized Osmond and Paralympic silver medallist Liam Hickey, the 19-year-old sledge hockey player from St. John’s.
Premier Dwight Ball issued a statement in April praising the young athletes as inspiring role models and a source of pride for Newfoundland and Labrador.
"This province is incredibly proud of Kaetlyn and Liam’s accomplishments and I know they have inspired countless young people throughout our province, our country and the world," Ball wrote.
Osmond and her older sister Natasha began skating at the Marystown arena as young kids, spending long hours on the ice. Lundrigan remembered Osmond as an enthusiastic young athlete who always pushed herself to skate faster and jump higher.
He said the sisters’ dedication to the sport made them a "pleasure to watch" when he supervised their early-morning and late-night practices, and even as a young kid Kaetlyn’s passion for skating was evident.
"It was the excitement in her face, it was the way she moved, the way she jumped," Lundrigan said. "When you see her, she put her heart and soul in it."
After a wildly successful year, becoming the first Canadian woman in 45 years to win the world championship, Osmond announced in August that she would be taking the next competition season off.
"I have had some time to reflect this summer on my future and believe taking this year off to evaluate my next steps is important in making the best personal decision," she said.
Osmond has been touring the country this fall, skating alongside teammates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford for "The Thank You Canada Tour."