Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Orser glides into coaching, finding the perfect prodigy

Together, Brian Orser and Kim Yu-Na are the stuff of Olympic fable.

He is a Canadian figure-skating legend, a two-time Olympic silver medalist and an emerging coach at the age of 47. She is a legend in the making, a hit with Vancouver's South Korean community and a Toronto resident.

With an Olympic medal hanging in the balance, they would cut quite the delicious photo next February in the kiss-and-cry area. Already, at the Four Continents championships this week, her short-program routine - and his mannerisms while watching it - have been must-see TV.

On Wednesday, as Kim skated to the lead in the short program of this Olympic test event and world championship tune-up, cameras caught Orser mimicking her every glide, step and jump on the coach's side of the boards.

"I skate it with her during the training process," Orser said. "I know all the steps, so now when I'm standing on the side without any skates on, I kind of do the best I can.

"It's instinct. And I feel like there's a sense of energy I can help send out. Or maybe it just helps me. But it just feels good to do that. I just can't help it."

And Orser just couldn't help coaching this 18-year-old darling, something of a skating prodigy and already a superstar in her homeland. When Kim's camp first asked Orser, who won the silver medals at the Sarajevo Games in 1984 and again in Calgary four years later, he declined because he was still touring and skating exhibitions.

But one year later, in 2006, she asked again, and it changed Orser's life. Now, he tutors five skaters at the Cricket Skating & Curling Club in Toronto, including U.S. world junior champion Adam Rippon, who united with him in December, and he helps many other skaters at the club.

Full article.

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