Brian Orser

Brian Orser
Brian Orser

Orser leading the Canadian team at the opening ceremony of the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games.
Personal information
Full name Brian Ernest Orser
Country represented  Canada
Born December 18, 1961 (1961-12-18) (age 49)
Belleville, Ontario
Residence Toronto
Height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Former coach Doug Leigh
Skating club Mariposa Winter Club
Midland FSC
Retired 1988

Brian Ernest Orser, OC (born December 18, 1961) is a Canadian retired competitive and professional figure skater. He is the 1984 and 1988 Olympic silver medalist, 1987 World champion and the 1981-1988 Canadian national champion.

He is one of the most accomplished skaters in Canada's history, with eight national titles, two Olympic medals, and a world title to his credit. He is the skating director at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.


Personal life

Brian Orser was born in Belleville, Ontario.

In 1985 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Officer in 1988.

In November 1998, Orser lost a legal battle to prevent public disclosure when ex-boyfriend Craig Leask sued him for palimony.[1] Orser initially feared the revelation of his homosexuality would ruin his career,[2] but he has since embraced support from other skaters and the public.

Skating career

Orser won his first national title on the novice level in 1977. The following season, he went to Junior Worlds and placed 4th, behind eventual rival Brian Boitano. He added a second national title, this time at the junior level, to his resume in 1979.

In 1980, he moved up to the senior level. He won the bronze medal at his first senior international, the Vienna Cup, and then placed 4th at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships. That was the last time he would place off the podium at the national level.

In the 1980-1981 post-Olympic season, Orser began making his mark on the skating world. He won the silver at the Nebelhorn Trophy, placed 6th at Skate Canada, and then won his first of eight National titles. In his debut at Worlds, he placed 6th. The next season, he won his first medal at Skate Canada and moved up to 4th at Worlds. He won his first World medal in 1983, a bronze, positioning him well for the 1983-1984 Olympic season.

Orser was known as "Mr. Triple Axel" during his skating career. He became the second man to land the jump when he performed it in winning his Canadian junior title in 1979, at a time when few senior skaters were even attempting it.[3] Over the next few years, Orser performed the jump more frequently and more consistently than any other skater of the time. Orser became the first man to land the triple axel at the Olympics when he landed it in his free skate at the 1984 Winter Olympics. He won the silver medal behind Scott Hamilton, and then won the silver at 1984 Worlds, again behind Hamilton. Only Orser's low placements in the compulsory figures prevented him from winning both titles.

In the 1984-1985 season, after Hamilton's retirement, Orser was seemingly poised to become the dominant champion. However, he had an imperfect Worlds, and placed second to Alexander Fadeev, who also had the triple axel in his repertoire. Orser resolved to begin putting two axels, not just one, in his free skate, in order to give himself an advantage over Fadeev. He finally won Worlds in 1987. At that competition he became the first skater at the World Championships to land two triple axels in the free skate and three in the same competition.[4]

Going into the 1988 Olympics, Orser and Brian Boitano were thrust into the Battle of the Brians, each being the other's main rival. Orser was undefeated in the 1986-1987 season and had not lost a competition since losing to Boitano at the 1986 Worlds. At the Olympics, Orser served as the flag-bearer for Canada during the opening ceremonies. He placed 3rd in compulsory figures segment of the competition, 1st in the short program, and second in the free skating, winning the silver medal overall. Brian Boitano won the gold medal,defeating Orser by .10 of a point.

He won the silver again at Worlds, after winning the free skate. Orser turned professional following that season. He had not placed off a podium at any competition since 1982. During his competitive career, he trained at the Mariposa School of Skating.

Orser toured for many years with Stars on Ice. He skated his last with the show in 2007. He won an Emmy Award for his performance in Carmen on Ice. He was elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995. In 1998, the Midland (Ontario) Sports Hall of Fame inducted him into its Athlete category.

In March 2009, he was inducted into World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.[5]

Coaching career

Orser with Christina Gao in 2010.

He is the head instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club. His current and former students include:


Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
1987-1988 Sing Sing Sing
by Benny Goodman
Ballet Suite No.5 from The Bolt
by Shostakovich
Story Of My Life / Hungarian Rhapsody #2

Competitive highlights

Event 1976-77 1977-78 1978-79 1979-80 1980-81 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88
Winter Olympic Games 2nd 2nd
World Championships 6th 4th 3rd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd
World Junior Championships 4th
Canadian Championships 1st N. 3rd J. 1st J. 4th 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Skate Canada International 6th 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
NHK Trophy 2nd 2nd
Nebelhorn Trophy 2nd
Vienna Cup 3rd
Grand Prix Coupe des Alpes 1st
Novarat Trophy 1st
  • N = Novice level; J = Junior level


  • Beisteiner, Johanna: Art music in figure skating, synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics / Kunstmusik in Eiskunstlauf, Synchronschwimmen und rhythmischer Gymnastik. PhD thesis by Johanna Beisteiner, Vienna 2005, (German). The PhD thesis contains an extensive description and analysis of Carmen on Ice (Chapter II/2, pages 105-162). Article about the PhD thesis of Johanna Beisteiner in the catalogue of the Austrian Library Network. 2005. (German and English)


  1. ^ Publishing, Here (February 2, 1999). "Ready, set, come out". The Advocate (Here Publishing). 
  2. ^ Crary, David (November 20, 1998). "Skater Brian Orser loses fight to suppress ex-boyfriend's suit". Associated Press ( Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ Beverley Smith, Figure Skating: A Celebration, ISBN 0-7710-2819-9, p. 149
  4. ^ Brian Orser, A Skater's Life, ISBN 1-55013-125-5, p. 135, p. 162
  5. ^ Elliott, Helene (March 13, 2009). "Brian Orser heads list of World Figure Skating Hall of Fame inductees". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Fedor ANDREEV". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "Sean CARLOW". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "Phoebe DI TOMASSO". International Skating Union. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Javier Fernández". International Skating Union. 
  10. ^ a b Golinsky, Reut; Geikhman, Tatiana (October 29, 2011). "Brian Orser: "I'm a little bit tougher"". Absolute Skating. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Christina GAO". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Yu-Na KIM". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  13. ^ "Orser no longer coaching Olympic Champion Kim". Figure skaters online. 2010-08-23. 
  14. ^ "Rachel KIRKLAND & Eric RADFORD". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  15. ^ "Min-Jung KWAK". International Skating Union. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  16. ^ "Kim Yu-na's Breakup with Orser Ends Training for Kwak Min-jung". The Chosun Ilbo. 2010-08-25. 
  17. ^ "Rylie MCCULLOCH-CASARSA". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  18. ^ "Adam RIPPON". International Skating Union. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  19. ^ "Two-time World Junior Champion Adam Rippon announces coaching change". U.S. Figure Skating. April 1, 2011. Retrieved November 8, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Yun YEA-JI". International Skating Union. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 

External links

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