The war of words is intensifying after the abrupt breakup of figure skating star Kim Yu-na and her coach Brian Orser. When the two met in 2006, Orser was more focused on ice shows but began full-time coaching at Kim's request, though he says they never signed a contract.
◆ Orser's Claims
In interviews, Orser has said the responsibility for the breakup lies on Kim's side and that he was treated with disrespect. Orser told the Toronto Star that Kim did not discuss anything with him about the upcoming season, and he did not even know that Kim was pulling out of the 2010-2011 Grand Prix Series and would only compete in the World Championship. "I thought it was a little unfair that I had to read it on the Internet, that they never consulted with me at all," he said. "I kind of figured there was something up there."
Orser added, "I sent numerous emails to both her agents and to Yu-na when they were in Korea in July and I didn't get one single response back from them. I was asking them what's going on and saying I'm getting some media interest so I need to know what to say... I even emailed at the end of it: 'When are you coming back to Toronto?' There was not even a response there. It was really kind of pathetic."
Orser believes that this is the fault of Kim's mother Park Mi-hee, who owns Kim's management agency AT Sports. "I spoke with her [Kim] the other day... She seems confused about what's going on. Because of all this turmoil with her mother, she doesn't know what's going on. Nor do I," he said.
But Orser denied speculations that this dismissal might have come from financial issues. "None of this was over any kind of finances at all. No contract issues. I never had a contract with them from the beginning. I don't now. There was no issue about bonuses or anything like that. This had nothing to do with money at all." Orser said he was paid 110 Canadian dollars per 50-minute lesson.
In interviews with the Korean media, he reiterated that his relationship with Kim was possible because of trust, not because of money. He said although he had been offered to coach Mao Asada, he declined and has no intention to coach her.
◆ Kim's Response
Kim has now jumped into the row. In her blog on Wednesday, Kim wrote, "Everyone, not only me but also Orser, knows the truth. I made the final decision to part ways with him after discussing it with my mother. I don't want to make the parting process public, and there is no need to do so. How many people would discuss the decision with the coach when they are leaving the coach?"
Kim earlier wrote on Twitter, "Would you please stop to tell a lie, B? I know exactly what's going on now and this is what I've DECIDED." B refers to Orser's first name, Brian.
Helen Choi at AT Sports said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, "This is just a matter of changing coach as other skaters normally do."