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Osmond's gold medal drawing attention from sponsors

With so many retirements taking place on Canada's figure skating team, new world women's champion Kaetlyn Osmond will be counted on for a leadership role next season. Associated Press photo/Luca Bruno
With so many retirements taking place on Canada's figure skating team, new world women's champion Kaetlyn Osmond will be counted on for a leadership role next season. Associated Press photo/Luca Bruno - Associated Press

As many as 20 offers are on the table as world champion signs on with U.S. sports marketing agency

Kaetlyn Osmond’s win last month in Milan, Italy didn’t just deliver her a world figure skating championship gold medal, but also an opportunity to earn some serious cash in a sport that doesn’t traditionally pay that well.

Osmond, originally from Marystown but now a resident of Sherwood Park, Alta., has signed on with American sports marketing giant IMG, and already the firm has received close to 20 potential sponsorship opportunities.

Osmond has been sponsored by a Toronto law firm for years, and last summer hooked up with Nulo pet food, a company that also has Michael Phelps working as a pitchman.

She just recently signed with local fast food company Mary Browns.

But that’s just scratching the surface compared to what could be out there. As a personable world figure skating champion and Olympic medallist (bronze), Osmond is a PR dream.

“A lot of different corporations are contacting her agent,” said her father, Jeff, who is taking an active role overseeing all things Kaetlyn from a business standpoint.

“She’s a skater, and we had this discussion with her. We’ll be leaving her alone to do what she does. When something comes by that is worthwhile, he’ll (agent David Baden out of New York) do initial negotiations. I’ll chat back and forth with him a bit to make sure it’s a good deal for Kaetlyn.

“As you know, some corporations will want a lot in return, but with her training schedule, it’s very difficult. The one thing we made sure of is we’re not going to pull her away from her training to keep a sponsor happy.

“She’s only 22, and she spends a lot of time at what she does. I’ll probably involve her a bit more now than a few years ago, because she knows bit more of what’s happening behind the scenes. She’s more knowledgeable, but she’s not ready to take that step and look after her training and the business side of things.

“We’ll try to do all the initial stuff and towards the end, we’ll say, ‘Kaetlyn, this is who approached us, this is what they’re offering you, this is what they want in return. Do you want to do it?’”

Osmond is currently an A carded athlete under Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program, getting about $1,800 per month as a living and training allowance.

Both father and daughter admit that doesn’t cut it.

Added sponsorship will change things.

Speaking of money, Jeff and Jackie Osmond certainly sacrificed to have Kaetlyn and their other daughter, Natasha, who was fine skater, involved in the sport.

Hockey parents complain about the cost of their game, but skating parents would trade with the hockey people any day of the week.

“Figure skating at the elite level — this is ball park — you’re looking at $50,000 to $60,000, to $80,000 to $90,000 a year,” Jeff Osmond said.

Skates and costumes aren’t cheap, but the big expenses are coaching fees and ice time.

“Kaetlyn does well. Her coach (Ravi Walia) is not one of the high-priced ones. He keeps it reasonable because he looks at doing more volume.

“Yes, it was a sacrifice,” Osmond says, “but we didn’t go beyond our means. When we started something, we always had a meeting with the coach and said, ‘This is what we can do. If we can’t do it for that amount, well, that’s it.’

“We actually ran into a coach one time who charged us a lot for one month of training, and we went back to him and said, ‘No, that’s enough. This is our limit.’ We always stayed within our means.”

robin.short@thetelegram.com

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