Lam jumps to the top

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Six weeks ago, Ronald Lam wondered when he'd be able to jump properly again. He got a rather definitive answer yesterday at the Steve Yzerman Arena.

At the end of the night, he stood on the top of the podium to accept the juvenile men's gold medal at the BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals.

"I'm happy ... and surprised," said Lam, a soft-spoken 12-year-old from Coquitlam, B.C.

It was no small climb.

Lam contracted Osgood-Schlatter disease in October.

It's an inflammation of the patella tendon where it attaches to the tibia -- an ailment common among young athletes involved in jumping sports (novice ladies' competitor Mandy Valentine of the Nepean Skating Club also has OSD).

SIDELINED

The ailment knocked Lam off the ice for three weeks, but he managed to win the B.C. provincials. Then came another period of rest where he and coach Bruno Delmaestro focused on mental and off-ice training.

Jumping was pushed aside.

"Six weeks ago, we didn't think we were going to be here," said Delmaestro, who works out of the Coquitlam Figure Skating Club. "We had no jumps."

But his pupil skated smoothly yesterday and was the class of the field.

Lam performed his free skate to Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story -- music Elvis Stojko made familiar at a pair of Winter Olympics.

"When I chose the music, he didn't know Elvis had skated to it," said Delmaestro. "The program worked for him."

Said Lam: "I just liked the music."

He also showed the determination Delmaestro saw in him when they teamed up three years ago.

"He had no fear," he said. "That's what I liked about him."

Charles Dion of Candiac, Que., took the silver medal, while the bronze went to Jeffrey Skinner of Markham.

Paul Parkinson of the Nepean Skating Club wound up eighth.

"I thought I'd do a lot better," said Parkinson, 12, of Ottawa, who wasn't happy about missing on a double flip and his second double Lutz. "I was hoping for the top five."

Meanwhile, Karel DiBartolo of St-Hubert, Que., stuck gold in the juvenile ladies' event.

Olivia Pitre of Alliston collected the silver medal, while Marie-Pier Janelle of Chicoutimi, Que., took home the bronze.

Carly Orser of Oshawa, the third cousin of former world champion and two-time Olympic silver medallist Brian Orser, finished 10th in her first junior nationals.

"It was even better than I thought it would be," said Orser, 10, of the experience.

Kim Poudrier and Philippe Gaudreault of Gatineau finished fifth in the juvenile dance event, while Nepean's Lisa Casselman and Ryan Behnia were eighth.

TODAY'S SCHEDULE

At Nepean Sportsplex

Pre-novice men's free skate, 10 a.m., Yzerman; Novice men's short program, 10 a.m., Rink 3; Novice pairs short program, Noon, Rink 3; Pre-novice free dance, 12:15 p.m., Yzerman; Novice ladies' short program, 4:45 p.m., Rink 3; Pre-novice pairs free skate, 5:30 p.m., Yzerman; Novice dance compulsory, 7 p.m., Rink 3; Pre-novice ladies' free skate, 7:50 p.m., Yzerman.


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