With my grumblings (earlier this year) about figure skating, not much has happened to change my opinion. I’m still frustrated with the confusing judging system and the lack of interesting choreography, but a good scandal certainly can add a much-needed spice to the world of figure skating! By spice I’m not referring to Brian Boitano’s cooking show. No, I’m talking about that other Brian, Brian Orser, and his ex–pupil, Kim Yu-Na.
It was the split heard around the (figure skating) world last week when Orser released a statement announcing the split. Since then, there has been little more information provided as to the reasons behind the split. All that it is known is that it was Kim’s decision, and that the relationship was strained by Kim’s noncommittal to the upcoming season, but there have been several swipes taken from both sides. Whatever fragile ice Orser and Kim were skating on harmoniously has crumbled, replaced by a thickening wall of ice that might never warm over again.
What’s interesting is the drama that Orser has himself created. Along with his announcement of the split before Kim and her entourage did so, Orser committed an egregious no-no by releasing details of Kim’s programs for this Fall. Such a move was not only tasteless since he’s no longer her coach, but even more inappropriate because he did so without Kim’s permission. Skaters like to keep the details of their programs under wrap until closer to the first competition, a strategic move. Even Orser’s longtime friend and colleague, David Wilson, was quoted as being “embarrassed” over Orser’s gaff.
Without knowing all the details, we fans can’t make a fair decision on with whom to side, yet with the vibes that I have picked up from years of watching Brian Orser, I know one thing: Don’t ever make him mad. Orser, whom I respect greatly as a skater, always had a certain frosty exterior as a competitor. This is probably why judges seemed to favor the warmer and fuzzier Hamilton and Boitano, both of whom edged Orser out for Olympic Gold.
I agree with others that Kim’s indecision on this year’s plans left Orser and Wilson hanging, leaving Orser hanging in the shadows, unsure of how to plan for their professional futures, and was discourteous. Yet so were the actions and comments by Orser which started this soap opera. Orser has sunk to a low- level, and I’m disappointed that he would take such measures. After having been outed in 1998, I would think that of all people, Orser would respect the privacy that athletes wish to maintain–and not just in their personal lives - but including information about upcoming competitive programs. Should coach (and ex-coaches) not lead by example? For now, no matter the cause of the split, it is Camp Kim that is handling this split with dignity and maturity, while Orser is handling himself with the class of Lohan or Hilton.
Swifter, Higher, Stronger.