Yuna Kim and Brian Orser part ways
Okay, I’m not much of a figure skating fan. The only time I ever got into it was whenever there was a controversy (such as the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding event in which Tonya hired someone to beat Nancy’s legs to solidify her place on the US figure skating team, even though both skaters ultimately made it) or when I discovered Kim Yuna.
Okay, well discover is the wrong word for it. Korea is in love with its sports heroes, and often digs deep to find heroes with even partial Korean ancestry who haven’t lived for a significant amount of time in Korea. Around late 2009 I was bombarded on all ends by everyone telling me about how awesome Yuna Kim is. I didn’t really pay much attention to it at first because I really don’t care about figure skating, but one day I happened to be flipping through the channels and I saw her on TV. WOW. She was amazing. Everything she did looked flawless.
In the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, there was so much hype about Kim vs. Asada Mao, Japan’s best figure skater. It was pretty much a given that one would get gold, and one would get silver. So here we have quite possibly the greatest figure skater in the last 20 years (if not ever) and some good old fashioned Korea-Japan rivalry. Needless to say I was eagerly watching. Kim eventually won the gold and Koreans everywhere puffed their chests and smiled.
One thing that was also interesting was that her coach, Brian Orser, had also been a figure skater, and was also in a heated Canada/US rivalry with American Brian Boitano. Many to this day say Orser was the better skater, but at the olympics in which they competed with each other, Boitano was better. Koreans all seemed to really like Orser for all he had done with Yuna to help her get the gold. He and Yuna came to Korea right after Vancouver to heroes’ welcomes. Not since Guus Hiddink had a person of foreign origin involved in Korea’s sports been so highly regarded.
Fast forward to today. After reading a few things in the Korea Herald. It appears that the two are destined to part ways, as Kim’s agency informed Mr. Orser that he will no longer coach Kim.
Orser claimed that it was an unexpected decision and that he doesn’t know the reason why. Kim’s camp however claim that he knows exactly why. Kim herself tweetedthat Orser should know the reason. The tweet was quickly removed.
There is speculation that Orser was looking at training other figure skaters, possibly even Asada Mao, but nobody has come public with the reason for the split.
And so the Yuna spectacle continues, although honestly, I don’t know who to side with.
What’s in store for the future?
How much of Yuna’s skill is in fact Orser’s teaching? Will she be able to perform at a high level under another coach? How will Orser now be viewed in Korea? Before he was so revered that he even appeared in some of Yuna’s commercials! The two were seen as a package. I guess now Yuna will have to prove herself alone.