NEWS
01/12/2018 11:21 EST | Updated 01/12/2018 11:45 EST

Daleman leads after short program a day after learning she has pneumonia

VANCOUVER — A day after she was diagnosed with pneumonia, Gabrielle Daleman won the women's short program Friday at the Canadian figure skating championships.

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 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, laughing. "My friends were saying 'How are you going to deal with this?' and I was sending them laughing emogis, 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."

Daleman, a 19-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., won bronze at last year's world championships, while Osmond claimed silver.

The 22-year-old Osmond, from Marystown, N.L., 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.

"I can't remember the last time I missed a flip-toe in competition, and even since the Grand Prix final, I haven't missed a jump once in my program," said Osmond, a three-time Canadian champion. "So it is really frustrating not doing my first element, but overall I'm so happy I was able to come back after a fall, a very uncharacteristic fall for me, and be able to keep my focus and do everything else the best I could."

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.