Brian Orser

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Brian Orser
Yuzuru Hanyu Brian Orser (cropped) - Brian Orser.jpg
Brian Orser in 2014
Personal information
Full nameBrian Ernest Orser
Country represented Canada
Born (1961-12-18) 18 December 1961 (age 61)
Belleville, Ontario
Height5 ft 6.5 in (169 cm)
Former coachDoug Leigh
Former skating clubMariposa Winter Club
Midland FSC
Medal record
Representing  Canada
Men's figure skating
Olympic Games
Olympic rings without rims.svg
Silver medal – second place 1984 Sarajevo Men's singles
Silver medal – second place 1988 Calgary Men's singles
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1987 Cincinnati Men's singles
Silver medal – second place 1984 Ottawa Men's singles
Silver medal – second place 1985 Tokyo Men's singles
Silver medal – second place 1986 Geneva Men's singles
Silver medal – second place 1988 Budapest Men's singles
Bronze medal – third place 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[edit]

Brian Orser was born in Belleville, Ontario. He grew up in Penetanguishene.[1] He is the youngest of five children.

Skating career[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Going into the 1988 Olympics, Orser worked with a sports psychologist on visual imagery.[1] 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.[4]

Professional skating career[edit]

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.[5]

Coaching career[edit]

Orser with Yuzuru Hanyu in 2014.
Orser with Yuna Kim in 2007.
Orser with Christina Gao in 2010.

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

His current students include:

His former students include:

Awards and honours[edit]

Orser was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1985 and promoted to Officer 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.[38]

Orser has been elected to the following halls of fame:

Personal life[edit]

Orser is openly gay. He was forced to reveal his sexuality in November 1998, when he lost a legal battle to prevent public disclosure when his former partner sued him for palimony.[41] Orser initially feared the revelation of being gay would ruin his career,[42] 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.[43] 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

Competitive highlights[edit]

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


  • Beisteiner, Johanna, Art music in figure skating, synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics / Kunstmusik in Eiskunstlauf, Synchronschwimmen und rhythmischer Gymnastik. PhD dissertation, Vienna 2005 (German), Austrian Library Network Catalogue. The dissertation contains an extensive description and analysis of Carmen on Ice (Chapter II/2, pages 105–162).


  1. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael (15 February 1988). "Orser, Boitano on Two Paths To Same Goal". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Smith, Beverley (1994). Figure Skating: A Celebration. p. 149. ISBN 0-7710-2819-9.
  3. ^ Orser, Brian (1988). A Skater's Life. pp. 135, 162. ISBN 1-55013-126-5.
  4. ^ "Brian Orser Arena". City of Orillia. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Orser skates into town". Metroland Media Group. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  6. ^ "Jason Brown Announces Coaching Change". 29 May 2018.
  7. ^ Browne, Ken (13 June 2020). "Kihira Rika to add Hanyu's mentor Brian Orser as second coach". Olympic Channel.
  8. ^ International Figure Skating [@ifsmagazine] (7 September 2021). "Big change for Rika Kihira. As of Sep. 8, she will be based in Toronto, Canada where she will train with Brian Orser and his team at the Toronto Cricket Club" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  9. ^ "Boyang JIN: 2022/2023". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 13 December 2022.
  10. ^ Rutherford, Lynn (19 October 2012). "Orser amazed by pupil Hanyu's skill, politeness". IceNetwork.
  11. ^ a b Pyette, Ryan (11 March 2013). "Brian Orser's skaters set to challenge Patrick Chan". Vancouver 24 hrs. The London Free Press. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  12. ^ "World bronze medalist Hanyu switches to Orser". IceNetwork. 25 April 2012.
  13. ^ Hersh, Philip [@olyphil] (29 April 2015). "Gabrielle Daleman- Coaching Change" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  14. ^ Yaneva, Veneta (15 May 2014). "Brian Orser: "Yuzuru and Javi are different, but help each other"". Absolute Skating.
  15. ^ "Michaela DU TOIT". International Skating Union. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Fedor ANDREEV". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  17. ^ "Sean CARLOW". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  18. ^ Slater, Paula (23 August 2014). "Chartrand readies for Grand Prix debut". Golden Skate.
  19. ^ "Phoebe DI TOMASSO". International Skating Union. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Christina GAO". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  21. ^ "Javier FERNANDEZ". International Skating Union. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  22. ^ a b Golinsky, Reut; Geikhman, Tatiana (29 October 2011). "Brian Orser: "I'm a little bit tougher"". Absolute Skating. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  23. ^ Rutherford, Lynn (22 July 2013). "'Gladiator' Manella ousts 'Zorro' Messing in Aston". IceNetwork.
  24. ^ Brodie, Robert (6 August 2018). "STEPHEN GOGOLEV: CANADA'S NEXTGEN STAR". International Figure Skating.
  25. ^ Hellman, Linus (20 July 2016). "Joshi Helgesson flyttar till Kanada".
  26. ^ "Yu-Na KIM". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  27. ^ "Orser no longer coaching Olympic Champion Kim". Figure skaters online. 23 August 2010.
  28. ^ "Rachel KIRKLAND & Eric RADFORD". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  29. ^ "Min-Jung KWAK". International Skating Union. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  30. ^ "Kim Yu-na's Breakup with Orser Ends Training for Kwak Min-jung". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 August 2010.
  31. ^ "Sonia Lafuente abandona España para trabajar con el entrenador de Javier Fernández" [Sonia Lafuente leaves Spain to train with Javier Fernandez' coach]. EFE (in Spanish). 9 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013.
  32. ^ "Sonia Lafuente entrenará con Brian Orser" [Sonia Lafuente will train with Brian Orser]. Hielo Español (in Spanish). 9 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 December 2013.
  33. ^ "Sonia LAFUENTE". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014.
  34. ^ "Rylie MCCULLOCH-CASARSA". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  35. ^ "Adam RIPPON". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  36. ^ "Two-time World Junior Champion Adam Rippon announces coaching change". U.S. Figure Skating. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  37. ^ "Yun YEA-JI". International Skating Union. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  38. ^ "Carmen on Ice (Awards & Nominations)". Emmy Awards. 1990. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  39. ^ Elliott, Helene (13 March 2009). "Brian Orser heads list of World Figure Skating Hall of Fame inductees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  40. ^ "Brian Orser". Ontario Sports Hall of Fame. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.[dead link]
  41. ^ "Ready, set, come out". The Advocate. Here. 2 February 1999.
  42. ^ Crary, David (20 November 1998). "Skater Brian Orser loses fight to suppress ex-boyfriend's suit". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
  43. ^ Flett, Ted (18 January 2012). "Being Brian Orser". Daily Xtra.

External links[edit]