Orser 'shocked' by split with skating champ
Published Wednesday, August 25, 2010 10:13AM EDT
Brian Orser says he still doesn't understand why he is no longer coaching figure skating champion Kim Yu-na. But the skater herself insists Orser knows exactly why.
Orser, the former Canadian figure skating champ and a now in-demand coach, says he and fellow coach Tracy Wilson were informed of the decision earlier this month at a meeting that Yu-no did not attend. It was Kim's mother, Park Mi-hee, who gave him the news, through an interpreter.
"She just said, ‘We're leaving the coaching seat empty.' And so, I just wanted some clarity at the end of this little meeting. I looked at everybody and I said, ‘Just to make this clear: we are not – Tracy and I -- are not teaching Yu-Na anymore?' And she said, ‘That is correct'," Orser told CTV's Canada AM Wednesday morning.
"Tracy and I left that meeting and we were just shaking our heads. We were like ‘We just got canned!'," Orser recalled, saying he's "just kind of shocked by the whole thing."
Orser, who had been coaching the skating phenom since 2006, says Kim took a break after the Whistler Olympics and some shows in Korea.
"A lot happens when someone wins an Olympic gold medal. You need to give that person some space. You need to give them some time to digest everything. It's a life-altering event," Orser said.
But by April, things were different. Orser says Kim's mother told him to go ahead and work with other athletes over the summer off-season. As the summer rolled on, tension mounted, Orser says.
"Everybody knew that there was something up and everybody was on eggshells," Orser said.
Then on Aug. 2 came the fateful meeting. Orser says he waited three weeks "for things to possibly turn around," but when they didn't, he went public with the split.
But Kim herself says Orser is misconstruing events. In postings on Cyworld, a South Korean social networking site similar to Facebook, Kim wrote: "…everyone involved in this, including coach Brian Orser" knows the reasons behind the split.
"If you knew about the process that we went through, you will understand how shocked and flabbergasted we felt when we saw Orser's interviews," Kim wrote in Korean.
"... But I don't want to talk about the process we went through, and there's no need to do so. This is strictly our issue."
And early Wednesday, Kim posted a message on her Twitter account, in broken English, that read: "Would you please stop to tell a lie, B? I know exactly what's going on now and this is what I've DECIDED."
The message was later deleted.
Orser says he doesn't know why he was cut off. He concedes there were rumours swirling in April that suggested he was trying to woo Mao Asada -- Kim's main skating rival for the last five years. He insists he received no offers from Asada and tried to let Kim know.
"I contacted her by email… and said ‘I'm sure you've heard about these rumours; however, I'm loyal to you. You're my main priority – my only priority, and your skating comes first'," Orser recalled.
He says he now realizes that Kim made the decision along with her mother, but says "it really doesn't matter who ended what."
"She's a fantastic skater, and I love Yu-na. We've had a great relationship," Orser said.
"It was a great ride and I'm grateful and I learned a lot and I wish her the best."