Tuesday, August 24

A Look At the Kim Situation from Inside the Rink

While we are probably going to get back-and-forth news articles all day between Brian Orser and Yu-Na Kim's camp, I thought it would be interesting to talk to a few people that have spent some time inside the rink and on the same ice that this drama has unfolded. Beware that it isn't much, and it's certainly not earth-shattering, but it's more than what Kim's agent has offered up.

One source told me "it was obvious [a few months ago] that there were problems. Yu-Na would land a jump, and [Brian] would clap to acknowledge it, and she would just turn away and skate off." The source continues, "there were definitely no lessons taking place. Yu-Na would work with David [Wilson] on choreography a little bit, and sometimes on her own, but there was no communication with Brian. None."

The two did have to be cordial towards one another during a press interview/photo shoot in one of the restaurants at the Cricket Club. Did either go out of their ways to communicate then? "Just the necessity, nothing more. We have to remember that people will act a certain way around others that might not be the most honest, but you can only hide your true feelings to an extent."

Another source tells me that because Yu-Na was not being coached by anyone, "When I arrived, she seemed out of shape. She would attempt triple/triple combinations, but always pop the first jump. She was also struggling, even falling, on a triple Salchow in early run-throughs of her exhibition program. She only started to get into better shape a few days before she left for Korea, luckily."

I asked about whether Min-Jung Kwak, who also left Orser, was still receiving lessons at that point. All of the sources say that he was still spending plenty of time with her, but one adds that "we have to remember she is also managed by Yu-Na Kim's agency, so maybe she didn't have a choice."

Another question being raised is whether rumors of Mao Asada being trained by Orser had anything to do with the beginning of the falling out. I asked all of the sources whether her name was ever circulated around the rink during their stays, and while all of them arrived after the original rumor surfaced, none of them heard a single mentioning of Mao. "I only heard about Brian [Joubert] coming all the time," says one.

Also of interest, and something I had not heard about until speaking with these sources, is the possibility of Yu-Na or her camp writing a letter to Orser in May or early June which stated that she "felt no reason to return to train with [Brian]." When she did return to the Cricket Club, she certainly stood by her words (if this is true) and only worked with David Wilson. Had she contemplated retiring from amateur competition in the early summer months? That would be a logical explanation for not needing to return to a coach, but this is where the big question mark occurs within the whole story.

I don't have allegiances to either side, but I hope the drama is settled sometime soon. And if Yu-Na Kim is truly serious about continuing to compete next season, I hope, for her sake, that she finds a full-time coach soon. She might be the Olympic Champion and she might have a mom who seems to know all, but it doesn't mean she knows what is best for Yu-Na.

Oh, and as I was typing this up, Yu-Na graced her Twitter account with the following message:
Would you please stop to tell a lie, B? I know exactly what's going on now and this is what I've DECIDED.
Seems the real drama has just started. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Thanks-makes sense!

Anonymous said...

Not to say your source is incorrect, but Orser said "firing" was unexpected. How can it be unexpected if their relationship had already been going down the drain for months?

Anonymous said...

Because Orser got her to an OGM a few months ago while he was getting paid dirt?

AR said...

Thank you for the posting, as a big fan of Yuna and her (now previous)technical coach Mr.Orser.

Facts are Yuna felt remote from Orser since some unknown time, not because of her retiring plan but because of other reasons, if there are. She wants to compete in World, not Granprix.

What made Yuna not to trust her all-time-trustworthy couch any more?

Did Orser really have to make it a 'press-release' through IMG NY office? And interviews afterward?

What's happening around him?

It's normal and rather difficult to decide for Yuna who shall be the full time couch for her next competitions and career.

Orser can teach others, of course, or return back to his quiet show-biz manager.

Did he really have to use the media at this time? Without anything clear about the whole situation surrounding the contract extention but with his own feelings?

Is Yuna a child or a witch?

She's not a native English speaker, who can tell the media so freely. Or tricky.

True that she's young. So belongs to different generation than just those who believe such play always would work.

Cheers, Yuna, never surrender but do your best as yourself. Give other skaters and people a hope to be selves.

Anonymous said...

What is her Twitter username? I can't find it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for mentioning about Mao Asada in your article.
I live in Japan so I know what's been reported here regarding Mao. After the Olympic games and Trino World, Mao and her coach Tarasova decided not to renew their contract as her main coach for the new season because Tarasova has some health problems and also she has a lot of work to do in Russia. While Tarasova can't devote her 100% to Mao, Mao wants to practice in Japan so she has been looking for a JAPANESE COACH who can spend time with her at Chukyo University ice rink, her home rink.
Although Tarasova is not her main coach anymore but Mao admires Tarasova so much, (very different fact from what was written in Korean newspaper. According to them, Mao and Tarasova did't get along well and the FP "The Bells of Moscow " was harshly criticized world-wide as "the worst program ever!" )
Mao's admiration for Tarasova is seen by the fact that she asked Tarasova to invent two programs for the new season, SP and ExP.
Anyway, there's no way Mao asks Mr. Orser, who seems to have quite different philosophy for figure skating from Tarasova,to be her new coach. Mao and her agent officialy denied the rumor in April. Despite their denial, this story has come up again!
She is still looking for a new coach, but, again she has been saying that it should be a Japanse coach who can be at Nagoya all the time. This is what has been reported here in Japan for months. I (and probably many other people here) have no idea why Mr. Orser said such thing.

Don't you think the following scenario is much more likely to be what's going on?

After the Trino World, Mr. Orser didn't get what he wanted as a successful coach who guided a skater to the gold medal.
He fabricates a story that he is being offered from Mao Asada to call a bluff.
Yet, he doesn't get what he wants. Kim's side might have believed Orser's fabricated story.
They decide to part with him.
Now, Orser can't withdraw his fabrication so he puts a part of blame on Mao Asada. Kim's side also takes advantage of the fabrication so the they can use this as a reason to fire Mr. Orser. Well, this is just my imagination.

Poor Mao, she has nothing to do with Kim-Orser story.
I hope she can concentrate on her practice and preparation for new programs.

Sorry for the long note.
Tony, would you please keep on checking if the rumor regarding Mao Asada is true or not. Once the rumor spreads, it doesn't matter if it's true or not. The person named will be hurt even if she/he has nothing to feel bad. I don't want to see her in a big trouble again like we did a few years ago.

Thank you and I appreciate your great job which mentioned Mao thing that has somehow being made into a true story and an assumption for this interesting drama, again, THIS IS NOT TRUE.

I hope both Kim and Orser finds bright future, so does Mao.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's quite a simple matter.
Kim have found Orser useless any more for thier business, then fired him, blaming everything on the ex-coach, abusing a silly rumour regarding "the other skater". "The other skater", what a crafty saying.

>How can it be unexpected if their relationship had already been going down the drain for months?

Kim had just kept quiet until the time came. The time for what? It should be an another dirty story.

Anonymous said...

>It's quite a simple matter.
Kim have found Orser useless any more for thier business, then fired him, blaming everything on the ex-coach, abusing a silly rumour regarding "the other skater". "The other skater", what a crafty saying.

First of all, it has been Orser who started this whole media thing, not Yuna. On the contrary, Yuna's side wanted to part ways amicably w/ ex coach. About the "other skater," Yuna's side made no mention about who it was, and Yuna personally made it clear that it was not the main reason of parting w/ her ex coach.

Secondly, there was no "firing" of one side because there was no contract b/w Yuna and Orser after the WC. Yuna's side simply decided not to renew their (already) contract (which Orser claims was a mere oral contract). Since they no longer had a contractual relationship after the WC, it is really difficult for me to understand what this fuss about the "firing Orser in a disrespectful manner blahblah" mess.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the information from inside the rink.
I only hope it will be settled and dine ASAP, and both YuNa and Oser will not be hurt badly..

민정 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I heard a news that Orser is planning on being on TV. OMG. What more does he need to tell now that he's done all those interviews? Why didn't he just hold a big official press conference? I just don't get it...have you ever seen anyone do so many interviews on the occasion of a skater leaving a coach? I don't know...I feel bad for Yu-na. She's just a 19 year-old-girl, you know?

Anonymous said...

>>it is really difficult for me to understand what this fuss about the "firing Orser in a disrespectful manner blahblah" mess.

That would mainly be the fact that Yu-Na is saying that it's Brian's fault she's dumping him, mainly by stirring up those Mao rumors, even though Brian completely turned down that offer months ago. Also, instead of 'parting amicably' with Brian, she ignored the coach who took her to Olympic gold for months while he had to find out about her plans from the Internet, and then sent her agent and mom to tell him that she was breaking it off because he wasn't paying enough attention to her. All this despite the fact that her mom earlier told Brian to not schedule time for Yu-na because she'd be busy. Disrespectful, much? He dedicated four years of his life to her and isn't even getting a "I want to start my singing career so goodbye and thank you" from her.

AR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AR said...

Get the big picture, readers and fans!

Do not turn around, fellow skaters, from this 'familiar' or 'unfamiliar' scene of power play upon fragile individual sports players.

You are not a piece of cake!

Stop, please, as she wrote.

What we want to see is figure skating and the victory on the ice. Not a crying man's fuss over nothing, nor a blackmailing from the covered back power.

Grow up!

Anonymous said...


The Japan Times contacted Mao's agent, Mariko Wada of IMG, on Sunday and asked her
to provide some clarity on the issue.

"Very surprising," she wrote in an e-mail of the initial reports.
"We never contacted him and never thought about it."

Anonymous said...

>mainly by stirring up those Mao rumors, even though Brian completely turned down that offer months ago.

Mao's never given him an offer.
Mao's agent clearly announced so.

Please stop bringing Mao into the fight between Yuna and Orser.
Why does Mao have to go to Orser just because he was a good partner for Yuna, when there are plenty of other good coaches in the world. It's not a village of only 3 people.


Anonymous said...

According to The Japan Times(http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sp20100428f1.html), Mao's agent, Mariko Wada of IMG, said that they didn't contacted Orser and never thought about it.

But based on the Orser's email sent to Kim in April, Orser wrote he was approached by Mao's agent.

It is evident IMG and Orser is hiding something.

Anonymous said...


Kim said she knew that the rumor was false in her interview with Reuters. (check above)

Asada has been saying that she is looking for a Japanese coach. This is also a strong suggestion by former coach Tarasova, to learn from a Japanese coach in Japan.
If you doubt this, please check articles about Asada in Japan.

So, isn't it natural and resonalble to conclude that Orser fabricated the story in order to gain an edge on the talk with Kim side regarding his new contract?
He denied the rumor on Canadian TV show but other source showed his E-mail to Kim in which he used very ambiguous expression about the rumor. Hey, Mr. Orser, confess the truth! Please. You are a great skating hero in Canada but any hero can make mistake. If you admit your lie and apologize to Asada for getting involve her into this matter, I will respect you as a true hero, and a brave man. Plese don't bother Asada anymore.
Atomospher between Japan and Korea is much more tense than you think, Korean people would attack Asada as a cause of this big scandal of their skating queen. Probably you western people wouldn't understand this. Plese tell the truth! Mr. Orser. It is only your honesty that can save Asada from harsh and groundless criticism.