SKorean figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, Canadian coach Brian Orser part ways

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SKorea’s Kim Yu-na, coach Brian Orser part ways

SEOUL, South Korea — Olympic champion Kim Yu-na has parted ways with coach Brian Orser.

Orser’s management agency IMG said in a statement Tuesday that Kim’s mother Park Mi-hee informed the coach on Aug. 2 that “he would no longer be retained” to coach the 19-year-old skater. IMG said “no reason was given for the sudden and unexpected decision.”

Kim’s management company AT Sports later released a statement saying relations between the skater and coach have been “uncomfortable” since May.

“I am honored to have worked with such a talented and gifted skater,” Orser said in his statement. “I wish her all the best as she moves forward in her skating career.”

Kim announced last month that she would skip the Grand Prix series this season and focus instead on the world championships. She continues to train at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.

Kim began working with Orser in 2006, when she came to Toronto to work with noted choreographer David Wilson. Orser, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, became her full-time coach in 2007, and Kim flourished under his guidance. She overwhelmed the field in Vancouver, shattering her own world record by 18 points, as she won South Korea’s first Olympic gold in a sport other than speedskating.

She also won the 2009 world championships in record fashion, and three Grand Prix final titles.

Her success on the ice has made her wildly popular in South Korea, where she is called “Queen Yu-na.” She does commercials for everything from mobile phones to bread. She is also a key part of Pyeongchang’s bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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