Rachael Tuff may be Kaetlyn Osmond’s biggest fan, but she may also just be the province’s next big skating star.
The 11-year-old figure skater from Witless Bay recently capped off a big year by skating away with an Atlantic Canadian Championship. Rachael represented Newfoundland and Labrador at the tournament, skating down 15 competitors from across Atlantic Canada in Halifax. It was the biggest competition of her burgeoning skating career.
“It was amazing,” said Rachael, when asked how she felt at the competition. “I wasn’t nervous, I was just excited because I’m used to competitions now.”
“I think Mom and Dad get more nervous than she does now,” noted Rachael’s father, Danny Tuff, laughing.
The Atlantic Canadian Championship was an enormous highlight this year for the young skater who won a number of provincial awards earlier in the season as well — four gold and two silver medals in total. The strong performances earned Rachael a small bursary from Skate Canada who recognized the potential in the young skater. Next, she will attend a seminar in Toronto in May, and will also be working on a new short program with Lance Vipond, the choreographer who has designed Osmond’s successful programs.
However, the biggest highlight of the year for Rachael may well be the opportunity to meet her hero face to face. After a successful competition year, the Witless Bay figure skater was selected by Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador to greet Osmond at the airport when the 2018 World Figure Skating Champion returned from Seoul, South Korea.
“It was really exciting,” said Rachael. “I told her I think she inspires skaters from Newfoundland.”
It was a special moment where two champions met, and perhaps, despite the 11-year age gap, they may one day meet on the ice. For now, however, the young skater is content seeing Osmond as an idol to inspire her skating goals and aspirations, not as a potential competitor.
“Kaetlyn Osmond is such an important inspiration to her skating,” said Rachael’s father. “For her to have met her at the airport that day…it was a really special moment… To have Kaetlyn Osmond from Newfoundland win a world championship, it really inspires young skaters”
As for Rachael’s father, he also was excited about the chance to meet his idols.
“I got to meet Kaetlyn’s parents,” said Tuff. “They’re my role models.”