Figure skating star Kim Yu-na has ended her four-year relationship with coach Brian Orser, Kim’s agency AT sports confirmed Tuesday.
The news first came out after Orser’s agency, IMG, reported that Kim’s mother Park Mee-hee, who is CEO of AT Sports, “informed” the Canadian coach to quit his job without giving him a clear reason following their meeting earlier this month.
However, AT Sports said in its press release that Kim, in fact, had not been in training with the 48-year-old former Olympic skater since June.
In May, Orser was linked to rumors that he was considering coaching Kim’s archrival Mao Asada of Japan. Although Orser denied the rumors saying he would teach Kim if she continues to skate, the relationship between the two started to become shaky, the agency said.
“I thank him. He helped me to win the Olympic gold medal. I hope he will endeavor to continue teaching athletes. I wish good luck to him,” Kim said in the press release.
|Olympic champ Kim Yu-na and former coach Brian Orser File photo|
“I am honored to have worked with such a talented and gifted skater,” Orser was quoted as saying by IMG.
|Kim Yu-na and Brian Orser talk strategy during the Vancouver Winter Games. Yonhap News|
“I wish her all the best as she moves forward in her skating career,” he added.
But in a telephone interview with Yonhap News Agency, Orser refuted AT Sports' claim and said he was "surprised" when the South Korean agency told him three weeks ago that he would no longer be Kim's coach. He also denied that coaching another skater has to do with him leaving.
In another telephone interview with Daily Sports, Orser claimed that it was Kim's mother who made such decision.
"I didn't stop teaching her. Her mother stopped," Orser was quoted as saying.
Kim teamed up with Orser and also choreographer David Wilson in 2006. The 20-year-old star won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics with a world record, becoming the first Korean to accomplish the feat. She also won a world championship and two Grand Prix finals under the guidance of Orser.
Despite the break-up with the Canadian coach, the world reigning figure skating champion will continue training in Toronto, working with David Wilson, AT Sports said.
Meanwhile, Kwak Min-jung, the 2009 junior national champion, also ended her contract with Orser, the agency said. Kwak joined Kim early this year to train with Orser in Canada after the 2010 Winter Olympics.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org)