GANGNEUNG — Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond is sitting in third place following the women's short program at the Winter Olympics.
The 22-year-old from Marystown, N.L., skated a clean program to "Sous le ciel de Paris" and "Milord," scoring 78.87 points, her best total this season.
Alina Zagitova of Russia was first with 82.92 points while her teammate Evgenia Medvedeva was second at 81.61.
Osmond, the reigning world silver medallist, has had a difficult journey back to Olympic ice after she broke her right fibula in two places when she swerved to avoid hitting a skater in practice in September 2014.
She finished 13th in Sochi four years ago.
Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., who stumbled on her triple toeloop combination, was seventh with 68.90. Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., just missed qualifying for the long program in 25th place.
The Russians are looking strong to capture gold and silver on Friday. Their scores Wednesday were the highest ever.
Medvedeva had not lost a competition in two years until she was beaten by Zagitova at the European Championships in Moscow. That set the stage for an Olympic showdown, and with the Russian team having no gold medal so far, the spotlight was even more glaring for them.
They responded with world records.
Medvedeva had set the previous mark for a short program in the team event, when her team won silver. Zagitova handled the free skate.
Russia had never won Olympic gold for women until Adelina Sotnikova took home the medal in Sochi. Another is looming heading to Friday's free skate to conclude Olympic figure skating. It should break the Russian gold medal drought unless one of their teammates beats them to the podium.
Medvedeva wasn't at her best, yet her mark was a record. A group of Russian fans swayed together in the stands and chanted her name when that number was posted.
"I'm satisfied with my performance today. It was not my best, but it was OK," she said. "All the battle is still ahead."
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Three skaters later came her training comrade, 15-year-old Zagitova, who put down a more difficult program, including a triple lutz-triple loop combination that outdid Medvedeva's flip-toe loop combo.
So, another world record.
And again the Russian fans rocked back and forth, this time chanting Zagitova's name.
"Well done to her," Medvedeva said. "She did everything she could."
With files from The Associated Press
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