Gabrielle Daleman fights through pneumonia to take lead at skating nationals

A day after she was diagnosed with pneumonia, Gabrielle Daleman won the short program at the Canadian figure skating championships on Friday in Vancouver.

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.

CBC Sports’ Scott Russell joined Heather Hiscox to preview the field at Canada’s National Skating Championships, as the event gets underway Friday in Vancouver 5:59

Three-time world ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir take a huge lead into Saturday’s free dance event.

Virtue and Moir scored a near-perfect 85.12 points to win the short dance. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are second with 78.37, while perennial runners-up Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje are fourth after Poje fell during the twizzles — side by side travelling spins.

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 emojis, 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.”

The 22-year-old Osmond, from Marystown, N.L., had an uncharacteristic fall on her opening element — a triple flip — but finished her program to Edith Piaf’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” cleanly and scored 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….

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