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Brian Orser

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Brian Orser in 2014
Brian Ernest Orser

(1961-12-18) 18 December 1961 (age 62)
Years active 1977-present
Height 5 ft 6.5 in (169 cm)
Spouse(s) Rajesh Tiwari
Personal information
Residence Toronto
Former coach Doug Leigh
Former skating club Mariposa Winter Club
Midland FSC
Retired 1988
Medal record
Representing  Canada
Men's figure skating
Olympic Games
Olympic rings.svg
Silver 1984 Sarajevo Men's singles
Silver 1988 Calgary Men's singles
World Championships
Gold 1987 Cincinnati Men's singles
Silver 1984 Ottawa Men's singles
Silver 1985 Tokyo Men's singles
Silver 1986 Geneva Men's singles
Silver 1988 Budapest Men's singles
Bronze 1983 Helsinki Men's singles

Brian Ernest Orser OC (born 18 December 1961) is a Canadian former competitive and professional figure skater and coach to Olympic champions. He is the 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medallist, 1987 World champion and eight-time (1981–88) Canadian national champion. At the 1988 Winter Olympics, the rivalry between Orser and American figure skater Brian Boitano, who were the two favorites to win the gold medal, captured media attention and was described as the "Battle of the Brians".

Orser turned professional in 1988 and skated with Stars on Ice for almost 20 years. As a coach, he has led both Yuna Kim (2010) and Yuzuru Hanyu (2014, 2018) to Olympic titles. He also coached Javier Fernández to Olympic bronze (2018) and the 2015 and 2016 World titles. He is a Skating Consultant at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club.

Early life

Brian Orser was born in Belleville, Ontario. He grew up in Penetanguishene. He is the youngest of five children.

Skating career

Orser won his first national title on the novice level in 1977. The following season, he went to Junior Worlds and placed 4th, behind eventual rival Brian Boitano. He added a second national title, this time at the junior level, to his resume in 1979.

In 1980, he moved up to the senior level. He won the bronze medal at his first senior international, the Vienna Cup, and then placed 4th at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. That was the last time he would place off the podium at the national level.

In the 1980–1981 post-Olympic season, Orser began making his mark on the skating world. He won the silver at the Nebelhorn Trophy, placed 6th at Skate Canada, and then won his first of eight National titles. In his debut at Worlds, he placed 6th. The next season, he won his first medal at Skate Canada and moved up to 4th at Worlds. He won his first World medal in 1983, a bronze, positioning him well for the 1983–1984 Olympic season.

Orser became the second man to land the triple Axel when he performed it in winning his Canadian junior title in 1979, at a time when few senior skaters were even attempting it. Over the next few years, Orser performed the jump more frequently and more consistently than any other skater of the time. Orser became the first man to land the triple Axel at the Olympics when he landed it in his free skate at the 1984 Winter Olympics. He won the silver medal behind Scott Hamilton, and then won the silver at 1984 Worlds, again behind Hamilton. Only Orser's low placements in the compulsory figures prevented him from winning both titles.

In the 1984–1985 season, after Hamilton's retirement, Orser was seemingly poised to become the dominant champion. However, he had an imperfect worlds, and placed second to Alexander Fadeev, who also had the triple Axel in his repertoire. Orser resolved to begin including two Axels, not just one, in his free skate, in order to give himself an advantage over Fadeev. He finally won Worlds in 1987. At that competition he became the first skater at the World Championships to land two triple Axels in the free skate and three in the same competition.

Going into the 1988 Olympics, Orser worked with a sports psychologist on visual imagery. He and Brian Boitano were thrust into the Battle of the Brians, each being the other's main rival. Orser was undefeated in the 1986–1987 season and had not lost a competition since losing to Boitano at the 1986 Worlds. At the Olympics, Orser served as the flag-bearer for Canada during the opening ceremonies. He placed 3rd in compulsory figures segment of the competition, 1st in the short program, and second in the free skating, winning the silver medal overall. Brian Boitano won the gold medal, defeating Orser by 0.10 points.

He won the silver again at Worlds in 1988, after winning the free skate. Orser turned professional following that season. He had not placed off a podium at any competition since 1982. During his competitive career, he trained at the Mariposa School of Skating, originally located in Orillia, Ontario and was moved to Barrie, Ontario in 1988. An arena in Orillia was renamed for Orser in 1984.

Professional skating career

Orser began touring with Stars on Ice in 1988, soon after ending his competitive career. He would go on to appear with them on and off for nearly 20 years, skating his last with the show in 2007.

Orser starred in the 1990 German skating dance film Carmen on Ice, alongside his archrival Brian Boitano and Katarina Witt. The film told the story of Carmen wordlessly through ice skating; Orser played the part of Escamillo.

Orser performed in many ice shows and was known in the show business as one of the few people who could perform a backflip. Unfortunately, in 2007, he suffered from a broken wrist which occurred while stepping backward off the ice. Since then he has decided not to continue doing backflips and has greatly decreased his participation in ice shows.

Coaching career

Kim and Orser 2007-2008 GPF practice
Orser with Yuna Kim in 2007.
Christina Gao Brian Orser
Orser with Christina Gao in 2010.
Yuzuru Hanyu Brian Orser
Orser with Yuzuru Hanyu in 2014.
Boyang Brian Tracy 4CC23
Orser with Jin Boyang and Tracy Wilson at the 2023 Four Continents Championships.

He is the head instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club along with Tracy Wilson.

His current students include:

  • United States Jason Brown – began coaching in summer of 2018, coached him to win silver at the 2020 Four Continents Championships.
  • Japan Rika Kihira – initially intended to begin training in July 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they could not coach in-person until September 2021.
  • China Jin Boyang – began coaching in 2022–23 season.
  • Canada Corey Circelli- began coaching in 2013.
  • Mexico Natalia Acosta Moisés
  • Canada Grayson Long
  • Poland Ekaterina Kurakova – began coaching in December 2018. Coached her until September 2021. He began working with her again in July 2023.

His former students include:

  • South Korea Cha Jun-hwan – coached from March 2015 to June 2023, coached him to win the 2022 Four Continents title, silver at the 2023 World Championships, and bronze at the 2018 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final
  • Japan Yuzuru Hanyu – April 2012 to 2022 when Hanyu retired, coached him to win the 2014 and 2018 Olympic titles, the 2014 and 2017 World Championships titles, the 2020 Four Continents Championships title and 4 golds at Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final from 2013 to 2016.
  • China Zhu Yi – coached from early 2020 to late 2021.
  • Canada Conrad Orzel – coached from the summer of 2019 to August 2022.
  • Russia Evgenia Medvedeva – began coaching in June 2018, coached her to win bronze at the 2019 World Championships. Coached her until September 2020.
  • Canada Gabrielle Daleman – began coaching her in the spring of 2015, coached her to win bronze at the 2017 World Championships.
  • South Africa Michaela Du Toit – began coaching her in 2012
  • Kazakhstan Elizabet Tursynbayeva – began in 2013 to June 2018.
  • Canada Fedor Andreev – began coaching him in the fall of 2007 (Andreev had since switched to ice dancing).
  • Australia Sean Carlow – in 2007 and 2008.
  • Canada Alaine Chartrand – part-time, began coaching her in August 2014.
  • Australia Phoebe Di Tommaso in 2007 and 2008.
  • United States Christina Gao – from 2009 to 2012, coached her to win bronze at the 2009 Junior Grand Prix Final.
  • Spain Javier Fernández – began coaching in mid-2011, coached him to win the bronze medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2015 and 2016 World Championships titles and to become the 7-time European Champion (2013–2019).
  • Georgia (country) Elene Gedevanishvili – began in mid-2011 to summer of 2013, coached her to win the 2012 European bronze medal.
  • Canada Stephen Gogolev – coached him to win the JGP Final at just 13 years old
  • Sweden Joshi Helgesson – began coaching her in 2016.
  • South Korea Yuna Kim – March 2007 to August 2010, coached her to win the 2009 World Championships and 2010 Olympic gold.
  • Canada Rachel Kirkland / Eric Radford – 2005 to 2009.
  • South Korea Kwak Min-jeong – February to August 2010.
  • Spain Sonia Lafuente – began in October 2013 to 2014.
  • Canada Rylie McCulloch-Casarsa – coached her from 2006 to 2011.
  • Canada Nam Nguyen – began coaching him in the summer of 2012 to the spring of 2016, coached him to win the 2014 World Junior Championships.
  • United States Adam Rippon – December 2008 to March 2010.
  • South Korea Yun Yea-ji – worked with her in the summer of 2008 and summer of 2009 through September 2010.

Awards and honours

Orser was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (CM) in 1985 and promoted to Officer of the same order in 1988.

Orser, along with his two co-stars, won an Emmy Award for his performance in Carmen on Ice after it appeared on HBO.

Orser has been elected to the following halls of fame:

Personal life

Orser is openly gay. ..... Orser initially feared the revelation of being gay would ruin his career, but he has since embraced support from other skaters and the public. Since 2008, he has been in a relationship with Rajesh Tiwari, a director of The Brian Orser Foundation. Harvey Brownstone, Canada's first openly gay judge, officiated at their wedding ceremony.


Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
  • Sing Sing Sing
    by Benny Goodman
  • Story of my Life
  • Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
    Franz Liszt

Competitive highlights

Event 76–77 77–78 78–79 79–80 80–81 81–82 82–83 83–84 84–85 85–86 86–87 87–88
Olympics 2nd 2nd
Worlds 6th 4th 3rd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd
Skate Canada 6th 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
NHK Trophy 2nd 2nd
St. Ivel 1st 1st 1st
Nebelhorn 2nd
Vienna Cup 3rd
St. Gervais 1st
Novarat 1st
International: Junior
Junior Worlds 4th
Canada 1st N 3rd J 1st J 4th 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Levels: N = Novice; J = Junior

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Brian Orser para niños

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