Kaetlyn Osmond barely stopped smiling as she signed autographs, posed for pictures, and talked to reporters Saturday.
The Canadian teenager found herself in the spotlight after winning Skate Canada International in her first Grand Prix appearance — and she didn't mind it at all.
"Not used to it. But definitely could get used to it," she said laughing.
The 16-year-old from Marystown, Newfoundland, was virtually unknown before she won a surprise bronze at the Canadian championships last winter. Saturday, she fell once on her triple Lutz but skated an otherwise strong program to Carmen to win gold among a world-class field.
It was a good start to the day for the Canadian team. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford finished second in the pairs, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the ice dance title.
The men's free skate was Saturday evening.
Osmond, looking older than her years in red dress and dark red lipstick, scored 115.89 for her Carmen rendition, and 176.45 overall. Reigning world bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki was second with 175.16, while Japanese teammate Kanako Murakami was third with 168.04.
Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia, the leader after Friday's short program, had an error-filled long program to fall to fifth.
Osmond grew up in Marystown — population just over 5,000 — but by the age of six was already traveling to Montreal in the summers to train.
"It was definitely a town where not many people lived and there was one rink that was only open in the winter, and a pool that was only open in the summer," Osmond said.
She moved to Edmonton, Alberta, when she was 10 after she parents got jobs there.
At this time last year she was barely on Skate Canada's radar. She'd finished ninth and 10th in her first junior Grand Prix events and had been battling an injury. But she saw the possibilities and buckled down in her training, hiring a personal trainer and dietician. She began last season with just two triple jumps in her arsenal, but by the end had mastered almost all of them.
"I think most of it is my body maturing," Osmond said. "Everything has just been coming together a lot more. But I've also been putting a lot more effort into it."
After her bronze at the Canadian championships, where she won the short program and landed the only clean triple-triple combination, Osmond opened this season with a victory at the Nebelhorn Trophy last month.
Because of her world ranking from last year — in the mid-40s — Osmond isn't entered in another Grand Prix this season. She still has a good shot at making Canada's team for the world championships in London, Ontario, in March. Her recent performances also have Osmond dreaming about the Sochi Olympics.
"It definitely starts putting a whole bunch of thoughts in your head," Osmond said. "It just gains you so much more confidence, and a better knowing of what you can do on the ice, how much it can lead you to. [The thoughts] have always been there, just not as loud."
Duhamel and Radford were just walking into the WFCU Centre when Osmond's medal ceremony was beginning.
"We felt really inspired," Duhamel said. "We watched the medal ceremony, and we were so proud of her and proud of Canadian skating so I think that gave us a little boost."
Skating to music from the British movie Angel, Duhamel and Radford scored 126.00 points for their free program and 190.49 points overall.
The Canadians finished behind four-time world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, who scored 201.36 in a program that was more memorable for its costumes than the lifts and spins.
Skating to "Bolero," made famous by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, the Germans wore multicolor bodysuits — they looked as if someone had tossed cans of red, yellow and black paint at them, like something you'd find at a modern art exhibit.
"It's not my favorite style but to be honest, I know we are figure skaters so we have to wear something that is in a way comfortable and wear suits like this that I would not go out [wearing]," Szolkowy said. "If it fits the music and Aliona's costume, and everybody is talking about us, it's OK."
Italians Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek were third with 172.03.
Virtue and Scott Moir, the Olympic and world champions, scored 104.32 points for their free dance program to Carmen and finished with 169.41 points. Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were second at 160.06, followed by Russians Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko at 143.39.