Figure skating: Fernandez targets Orser's golden hat-trick
Send a link to a friend
[March 25, 2017]
By Pritha Sarkar
LONDON (Reuters) - As far as Spain's
Javier Fernandez is concerned, his coach Brian Orser is more than
just a mentor with the Midas touch.
Since Orser jumped for joy when his baby-faced Japanese charge
Yuzuru Hanyu struck gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the Canadian
has turned into a figure skating juggernaut.
Thanks to Hanyu and Fernandez, Orser's coaching credentials are
soaring higher than any quadruple jump either of his star pupils can
pull off. And the 55-year-old will be out to preserve the 100
percent success rate he has enjoyed at the world championships in
the current Olympic cycle in Helsinki next week.
"To me he's the best coach in the world. He's proved himself with
all the skaters he has taken to the top," double world champion
Fernandez told Reuters in a telephone interview from Toronto.
"The best thing about him is the energy he brings to the people
around him. Even when we are tired, he always manages to lift us. He
creates a really good environment around us every day."
That source of boundless energy has served Orser, and his pupils,
well over the years.
He missed out on the ultimate Olympic prize himself, coming off
second best to Scott Hamilton at the 1984 Sarajevo Games and again
when losing the 'Battle of the Brians' in 1988 when he was pipped by
another American, Brian Boitano, in Calgary.
As a coach, however, the 1987 world champion has enjoyed rip-roaring
success with South Korea's Kim Yuna at the 2010 Olympics followed by
Hanyu four years later.
Hanyu's unexpected triumph in Sochi saw Orser embark on a golden
trail with his celebrated students having also won every men's world
title since. Hanyu's skate to the top of the podium in 2014 was
followed by Fernandez in 2015 and 2016.
In fact Orser's two proteges have been untouchable at the world
championships for the last two years, when the rest of the men's
field were left chasing the bronze.
With the 2018 Winter Games less than 11 months away, Fernandez would
like nothing better than to make it a golden hat-trick for Orser in
"It will be amazing if I can give him the hat-trick and I am going
to try my hardest and my best to give him that," said the
25-year-old Fernandez, who also owns five European championship
"I hope I can get it. It will be amazing for Brian to have three
skaters to have won the Olympics."
For Fernandez, however, glory for Orser is not the only milestone at
[to top of second column]
Javier Fernandez of Spain performs at men's singles short program
during China ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Beijing, China,
November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
Hailing from a country bursting with sporting
success, Fernandez would likely run out of puff if he was asked to
reel off the number of soccer, tennis, motor racing and cycling
titles Spanish athletes have won over the years.
But if he was asked how many medals Spain have won at the Winter
Olympics, he would only need to hold up two fingers.
One gold for Francisco Fernandez Ochoa in 1972 and a bronze for his
sister and fellow Alpine skier Blanca Fernandez Ochoa in 1992 is the
sum total of Spain's success in 19 Games dating back to 1936.
To make matters worse, the country's German-born cross-country skier
Johann Muehlegg won three gold medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City
Games only to be disqualified for doping.
Against such a backdrop of failure, and with Fernandez's homeland
blessed with Mediterranean sunshine all year, it is little wonder
there are few takers for winter sports in Spain.
But the Real Madrid soccer fan wants to change all that by becoming
the first Spaniard to win an Olympic medal on blades.
"I am the first figure skater from Spain to have won world and
European titles and thatís really important to me," he said.
"But, obviously, the Olympics is in my mind and (I want the) chance
to win the medal I havenít won yet.
"But once I am done with skating, I want to be a good coach like
Brian and teach some other skaters what I have been taught and try
to help them in their careers. I want to grow figure skating in my
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Ken Ferris)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten