Figure skating champion Kim Yu-na abruptly ended her relationship with her coach Brian Orser on Aug. 2 in a move that has baffled pundits. Orser's agent on Tuesday issued a press release saying Kim's mother Park Mi-hee surprised Orser and Tracy Wilson by telling them she was terminating the partnership. No reasons were given.
"I am honored to have worked with such a talented and gifted skater," Orser said in the statement. "I wish her all the best as she moves forward in her skating career." The decision ends a four-year relationship that took Kim to Olympic gold this year.
Later that day, Kim and the agency owned by her mother, AT Sports, in their own press release denied they ended the relationship but heard the news from Orser the day before.
According to AT Sports, the relationship began to sour in May, when Orser was indirectly approached by Kim's rival Mao Asada to sound out whether he would be available to coach her. That meant Kim virtually trained on her own from June, the statement said, and AT Sports suggested Orser take a break in August, to which both sides agreed.
Kim is working on a new program at the Toronto Cricket Club with choreographer David Wilson.
In 2006, Kim moved to Canada specifically to ask Orser, a 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medalist, to coach her. Kim was virtually his first student as he began his full-time coaching career. He was thought to understand Park's demands very well and to bring out the full potential of his students.
However, the partnership was expected to end after the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2010 World Championship in Turin. Moreover, Kim now seems to be keener on a commercial career, taking part in two ice shows in Korea since the Olympics, with another one in Los Angeles in October lined up. Her profits from ice shows and commercials amount to W10 billion. She is to skip the Grand Prix Series that kicks off this fall and will only compete in the World Championship in Tokyo in March.