VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Gabrielle Daleman found out Thursday she had pneumonia. A day later, she was in prime position to win a second Canadian championship — and likely punch a ticket to Pyeongchang.
Daleman won the women’s short program Friday at the Canadian figure skating championships a day after she was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Skating to a French rendition of “Carmen,” the world bronze medallist scored 77.88 points to take a six-point lead over Kaetlyn Osmond into Saturday’s free program.
“I am just most proud of how I’ve handled everything, I didn’t find out how sick I was (until Thursday), I just knew I couldn’t breathe properly,” said Daleman, who saw the Canadian team doctor after Thursday’s practice.
Daleman, a 19-year-old from Ontario, opened with a triple-triple combination on her way to a clean program, throwing two celebratory hands in the air when she finished.
“(Pneumonia) sounds bad, and it kinda is, because you can’t breathe. But I look at it as extra cardio training,” Daleman said with a laugh. “My friends were saying ‘How are you going to deal with this?’ and I was sending them laughing emojis, like ‘Pssh. Extra cardio training.’ If I can do this now not breathing, having half oxygen, imagine what I can do at full strength. This was just a great confidence booster.”
The 22-year-old Osmond had an uncharacteristic fall on her opening element — a triple flip — but skated the remainder of her program to Edith Piaf’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” cleanly to score 71.41. It’s the first time Osmond has trailed after the short program all season.
Sarah Tamura, a 16-year-old from Vancouver, is third after the short program.
The Canadian championships determine the Olympic team for Pyeongchang. Canada has three berths in women’s singles at next month’s Olympics.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the short dance with a whopping 85.12 points — Moir said if they skated their program perfectly, they’d expect an 86.
Not much room for improvement from the three-time world champions, though they plan to keep trying with their medley program set to “Sympathy For The Devil,” ”Hotel California,” and “Oye Como Va.”
“It’s a great boost and we’ll have to maintain that momentum, but we’ll watch the video, and we know we’ll still have a lot of things we want to improve,” Virtue said.
The score tops their world short dance record of 82.68, set at Skate Canada International in October, but national championship marks don’t qualify for records.
Toronto’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are second with 78.37, and Carolane Soucissse and Shane Firus are third.
Virtue and Moir won gold in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics, but had to settle for silver in 2014 at Sochi. They took a two-year hiatus, but returned to the sport by winning every event but the Grand Prix Final in December, where they finished behind France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.