Friday, August 27, 2010

This and That

Aliya Mustafina retained her Russian Cup crown and Ksenia Afanasyeva finished second for the second year in a row. The Russian Cup used a scoring system with bonus points added for innovation, so the scoring is not relevant to what they will be scoring at worlds. Ksenia Semenova was third. Tatiana Nabieva dropped in the standings due to a disastrous beam routine.

Teng Haibin won the qualifying round in Zhouzhou at Chinese Nationals. Zou Kai was the top qualified on floor (15.850) and high bar (15.900/ 7.5 D score). Chen Yibing was third AA after being plagued by a foot injury for the last several years. He revealed that the injury is still bothering him, but he remains king of the still rings.

Tim McNeill is taking over as the Head Coach of Cal's Men's Gymnastics Team. This is a huge opportunity for McNeill and Cal, which has been plagued by serious fundraising issues. McNeill has a large task ahead of him with regards to fundraising and recruiting for a team that is in jeopardy of not being around in a year. What hasn't been discussed is Tim McNeill's elite plans. While no word on them (he was out this summer due to a grave family situation), he spent the time working as the interim coach at Cal and will likely plan on continuing; however, given the gravity of the situation at Cal and the time and energy required to be a head coach, it is unlikely that McNeill will be able to train at the level necessary to make an Olympic Team. There are only so many hours in the day, and it is almost unthinkable that he'd be able to train enough and devote enough time to a head coach's responsibilities in and out of the gym. This is especially significant given his strength on Pommel Horse, the weakness of the American men on horse, and his overall strength in the all-around.

David Wilson said that he was unaware that Orser would reveal Kim's music during his interviews. While AT Sports is using terms like "outraged and flabbergasted," his statement appears to be rather matter of fact, with slight annoyance. Wilson works with a myriad of skaters, most of whom have revealed their music for the upcoming season. While it was certainly an error on Orser's part, it was unlikely intended to"hurt the skater" as AT Sports claims. Yu-Na's long program to "Arirang" is now the most highly anticipated program of the season, easily eclipsing anything Marlie or Voir will do. There is increasing speculation that Orser's decision to work with Japanese junior skaters this summer contributed to his fraying relationship with Team Kim.

Denney and Barrett are at champs camp this week but will be visited by choreographer David Wilson when they return. Being coached by Zimmerman and Fontana could certainly help their styling and packaging, but medal hopes likely remain just that.

Stephen Carriere will not be skating at Champs Camp this week due to having a cyst removed. He is currently in a boot but will be back on the ice in about a week. Mirai Nagasu will also not be skating. We knew that she was injured when she had to pull out of The Ice, but her injury was not disclosed. Mirai has been off the ice for six weeks due to a stress fracture in her foot and appears quite impressed with her tan. She is eager to return to the ice on September 1st and knows that Frank Carroll will be kicking her ass into gear.

Felicia Zhang officially passed her senior test at Champs Camp. Felicia and Taylor spent last week working with Elena Valova, who is one of Taylor's first coaches. They are actively seeking to add some Russian influence to their skating in order to become a top pair.

Wu Jiani spoke to Gymnastike about Anna Li's elite aspirations. Her blunt demeanor and sense of humor is refreshing. She may just be the Chinese Caroline Manzo. Kelli Hill, who is blunt in a more intimidating way, spoke to Gymnastike about Kytra's bubble position for the World Team selection. Her fear of overrotating easier tumbling passes could be interesting when it comes to designing her collegiate routines.

Adopted Daughter Nina Jiang is in third after the short at the JCP in Courchevel. Yasmin Siraj is in sixth. Polina Shelepen is second behind Yretha Silete of France. Jiang actually had the highest PCS scores...which is a definitely bitchslap to the Russians who assume vast superiority in that area. Max Aaron and Jason Brown are second and third behind Canadian Andrei Rogozine in the men's event.


  1. On the Yuna topic, a poster at this link here:
    has AT Sports calling Brian's recent actions "slanderous". We might get the answer to all of our questions about this "he said, she said" in a court case. I'm going to pop a mega batch of popcorn if that happens!

  2. This Yunadrama has me wondering about Mao. She's been plugging away with new programs and (hopefully) fixing technique... will we see a rejuvenated, light, effervescent Mao in 2010?

    Hopefully Mirai recovers and gets back on form... A Mao-Mirai GPF and a Mao-Yuna-Mirai worlds is gonna be something to see!

  3. Even though Mao didn't get to be coached by Orser, the JSF must be LOVING the turmoil in Yu-Na's life right now.

  4. It's going to be 'uncomfortable' if Queen Yuna is not in first place at Worlds

  5. So much hate over someone coaching another culture/ethnicity. It should be more disappointing to people that this is the reason. Look how destructive things are...because it's not right to hate others like this.

  6. Denney and Barrett adding that yuck catch-foot position to their lift does not make it any less yuck.

  7. I still don't understand why Yu-Na would be upset with Orser working with Junior skaters. They are no threat to her whatsoever.

    And Brian shouldn't have revealed her music, even if he was trying to be complimentary towards her (which he was).

    Both sides need to realize that a lack of communication is a bad thing.

  8. It may not be about the the idea of the junior skaters being Japanese in and of themselves. But rather the idea of if she's staying in, Japanese Federation officials having access to her training sites, where they can find out information about her jump layouts etc. And that means her rival would also have access to that kind of information.

  9. When someone does the same program all year, their layout isn't going to change much. It always could in theory, but there is really not much one can do.

  10. It's probably about not wanting to expose any weakness of whichever sort rather than program itself.

  11. But a poster at FSU said that JSF have been sending their skaters to train at Orser's skating center since the late 90s. That's long before Yuna came onto the scene.

  12. Yes but there's the layouts Olympic Effect before the season starts. And also weaknesses too. For example supposedly (who knows the Japanese Federation even knew about a secret injury she had going into the Olympics.

  13. Ok so now the story changes to the JSF as the "evil force" who send spies in the form of junior skaters to Orser's rink. And by allowing them in, Orser is seen as the traitor. Boy, the imagination of some people here! The previous soap opera has now turned into a political thriller.

  14. There have been Japanese skaters going to spend summers in Ontario skating clubs for AGES. Why is this suddenly a problem now, when Kim has been with Orser for four years? It makes absolutely no sense. And if Japanese juniors are so threatening to Kim & co, they need to get a grip.

  15. Team Yuna make millions, they donate much of it, they are incredibly generous people, yet they never even gave Orser a bonus after the OGM? This was probably never a decision Yuna herself was involved in, but what a shitty call from her management/mother. I mean really, they have insulted the guy repeatedly, I'm just surprised he didn't lose it in a worse way publicly.

    How do you go back to Canada after raking in millions off the back of your success, and look him in the face having made no real gesture of gratitude from a management perspective at all?
    All this time they let him believe this was a partnership, made money off the back of marketing them as a partnership and shared story - and really all he ever was to her management was an expendable employee.

  16. I wish Tracy stepped up and verified what Orser said, because his claims have just so many inconsistencies, and he has been way too emotional. I wouldn't take anything he says at face value and will assume there are plenty of facts he leaves out because as a fired coach he has every incentive in the world to do so. I think his revelation of Yuna's music might have been an accident but I am sure he himself knows what he did is inappropriate.

  17. Orser owed Yuna as much as Yuna owed him career-wise. What Orser has been doing to her and her mom for the last three days is just a total disgrace. He is a one of the most sought after coaches today only after 4 years of experience solely because Yuna shared her spotlight and media exposure with him right from the beginning of their partnership. She was never off the podium before Orser, and had been winning all the major events prior to that.

  18. I highly doubt the Japanese skaters training at Cricket club affected the break up. That's just silly speculation.

  19. I don't think Brian or Yuna actually know what caused the breakup. That's what's sad. There are just accusations and misunderstandings galore here.


    This is really all there is left to say on the matter at this point!

  21. It's not nice of Orser to reveal Kim's LP music even though it's not against a written rule. In addition, I've heard Arirang is a very special song for Koreans, both North and South. He will never set foot in South Korea again.
    On the other hand, few people would think Kim actually will compete at the Worlds in Tokyo next year whatever her LP music is. She hasn't gotten her motivation back, and looked terribly out of shape at ATSS. This on-going soap opera will suck up lots of her energy both physical and mental.
    Mao Asada and JSF have nothing to do with this mess because she's been looking for a coach who can train her in Japan. Japanese skating fans are really annoyed by the Korean and North American media repeatedly bringing her names in. Now JSF is made a villain here? How nice.

  22. Arirang is not Carmen. When she selected this music, she decided to sing a serenade for her Korean fans. It is clear that the music has been her strong motivation of this season, because just attending the Worlds is meaningless to her. I don't think that Orser spoiled her surpring event intentionally. But, he has no right to talk about the 'repectless' of ATS and YuNa.

  23. RE: mikeko

    Brain Orser brought 'Mao Asada' name to Korean Media on April at first, saying she has interest to him. At that time, he also revealed his e-mail to media to prove he didn't care about her. But, it proved the rumore was true, too.
    So it is inevitable to talk about Mao and JSF.

  24. How does Brian's e-mail confirm the rumor is true? It comes from the same source (Brian Orser) only in different forms. Just because one was in writing doesn't mean it should be taken as truth.

  25. For those who believe Orser did not get paid well, here are some facts.

    1. Korean Government paid Orser 45,000,000 won as a bonus for Yuna's Olympic Gold. So Orser's statement that he didn't get any bonus is not true. Why doesn't he bring this up?

    2. Orser published his essay in Korea, and many Yuna's fan bought it. So he earned money from it.

    3. Orser was invited to IB Sports Ice Show(Festa on Ice, Ice All Stars) with Yuna, as a headliner. Both of them were paid by IB Sports. Yuna didn't get paid much by them either. If he says he was at Yuna's show for free, which I believe is not true, it's his choice and decision with IB sports. Yuna just started to have her own show by her management company(AT Sports) just recently. (Only once last month, and planning one in Oct)

    4. Orser did a couple of commercials with Yuna in Korea. It was Samsung Electronics, so I'm sure he was paid quite good. These commercials with Yuna for him were only possible because Yuna is a mega star here. So he earned money from it.

    5. The Cricket Club became so busy after Yuna's fame. In some interviews, Orser and other coaches there said many juniors came to the club to see Yuna in person, and they thanked Yuna for that. Adam and Gao came to Orser, only after Yuna. The first one ever approaced to Orser was Yuna, and many juniors like to work with Orser after they saw Yuna's huge success now.

    So Orser's salary must have soared anyway.

    Japanese were really interested in Cricket Club because they think Yuna's success was thanks to Orser's team. It's what they analyzed on TV.
    No wonder Japanese Juniors and memembers with the Japanese Federation came to the club, too to analyze Yuna. (They always wants to analyze things under microscope scientifically and technically not only with figureskating but also with other things, too)

    This is what Yuna's been so uncomfortable with.

    There are facts here to be considered.

    1. Orser is with IMG. (Orser had extended the contract in May with IMG)

    Adam and Gao had a contract with IMG in May, too. Adam's been invited to Mao's show and Japan Open.

    2. Mao Asada is with IMG Japan. Orser said Mao's agency approached him to be her coach.

    Strangely enough, Mao's agency strongly denies that they never ever approaced Orser and never were going to.

    Who's lying here? Maybe Orser lies to urge Yuna's decision on whether or not to compete next season and work with Orser , or Mao lies to protect her reputation?

    3. Orsers started to teach Japanese Juniors.

  26. 45,000,000 won is worth about 40,000 dollars.

    Olympic Bonus paid by Goverment, Publishing books in the student's country, Directing and Performing on Ice shows, Shooting TV commercial, Increasing coach offer from other skaters...

    Lot's of fame and fortune came along with Yuna.
    I haven't seen many coachs who were treated well like this. Let's not forget Yuna was his first student. He was a newbie in the coach world.

  27. Yuna must have been the ONE RING (like the lord of the rings)

    No one can't have that ring!! YUNA IS ONLY MINE!!

  28. I'm always amazed at the conspiracy theories Yunabots can come up with. FYI, Japanese skaters have been going to train during the summer at the Cricket club over a decade ago when Mao and Yuna weren't even on the scene. Unless, JSF have psychic abilities and can predict the future, the facts don't hold up.

  29. Well... one month before the olympics, Japanese reporters knew about Yuna's ankle injury while Koreans didn't. what does that mean?? Yuna's team wanted to keep the secret but somehow Japanese media already knew about her injury. Keeping the information is crucial in this world if you simply think about it, especially to their rivals

  30. If the number of Japanese skaters at the club increased than the past, Orser paid more attention to them, and Yuna felt uncomfortable with it, and felt Orser cared about them more than Yuna, she could've felt betrayed and seriously would've considered changing a coach. Don't forget even after the Olympics and WC she still wanted to work further with Orser and even introduced Kwak Min Jung to Orser, and he agreed to be her coach, too. Something bad happened in May ~ July that made her change her mind.

    For those who don't know, IMG and Yuna have a long history back. it's a fact.

    Yuna was once with IMG, but many bad things happened with them, even a lawsuit. (FYI, Yuna's side won by the way)

    IMG did not help YUNA get supporters (KOOKMIN BANK wanted to support her, but IMG put off this offer and did not let Yuna knowing about it, so KOOKMIN BANK had to contact her mother in a very difficult way.

    When there was a fire at Hyundai card Iceshow link with IMG in 2006, they made Yuna apologize, and pretend as if it was soley Yuna's Ice show, where in fact Yuna was just a guest. These above are all facts. You can search for news about it in the past.

    IMG was the first one who ever brought up this break up news. IMG Korea distributed this news(only with Orser's statement) to korean journalists, and those journalists reported this news and criticized harshly on Yuna's mom. (Now that Orser gave out some confidential information about LP, the training schedule for SP as if letting everyone come and see Yuna's choreography, those journalists turn their back on Orser anyway)

  31. I've read at 2CH (Japanese internet site), and they say Brian Orser was appointed as a chief technical consultant at IMG Japan.

    Many sources there turned out to be quite true. They even knew Yuna was injured befor Olympics, when even Koreans did not have a clue.

    Time will tell if this was ever true. If Orser ws getting involved with Japan and Mao Asada in any way, it's enough reason to feel uncomfortable.

  32. I'd never consider 2ch truly reliable. I'd take the information there with a grain of salt. Some of the information posted there turn out to be true, but often not. Basically posters can write whatever they want there.


    Mon May 17, 2010 10:39am BST

    Kim also denied speculation that her long-time coach Brian Orser was going to leave and work with her closest rival, Mao Asada of Japan.

    "The stories that have been going around that Brian Orser will coach another athlete, I know to be false," Kim said, praising Orser for her achievements.

    "Other athletes have many troubles with their coaches, but I think I was able to get to where I am now because Orser and I had that relationship of trust."

  34. Just one correction: He was not fired. He was just supposed to coach her until 2010 Oly from the start. Yuna team never ever promised him or told him that they would continue getting coach from him after 2010 oly. It's just contract expired!

  35. Taking sides based on what has been told by any party is speculative.

    As much as I used to think highly of Brian, I cannot help thinking that Brian, wearing a business man's hat and facing the obvious fall of his value as a coach after his star pupil's departure, has every incentive to paint Yuna as a girl who had no problem with him professionally and her mom as incompetent manager and crazy skating mom, and by doing so propagate that him being "fired" is because of misjudgment by Yuna's side and not because of his incompetence or untrustworthiness as a coach.

    Everything he said is subject to fact-checking and cross reference before taken as a fact, but no such thing was ever done and some people seem to just swallow blindly whatever he said.

    Brian had three weeks with his PR, enough time for them to sit down and carefully prepare the picture in which how they will portrait Orser, Yuna and her mother in public.

    I think the reason he chose to make the breakup announcement without the knowledge of Yuna's side is to catch them completely off guard, making them appear incompetent in public and thus bolster their propaganda that Yuna's side, not he, is at fault for the breakup because of their incompetence.

    While Yuna's side, taken by surprise, was hastily putting together their strategy, Orser sailed through his media play as he and this PR team had carefully prepared for a long time.

    He had at least three interviews with major news outlets that day while Yuna's side was yet to come up with their formal statement.

    The swift action by Orser's team was able to successfully guide the initial public opinion about the situation to their favor before Yuna's side was ready to make their first interview with the media.

    This is why I cannot take anything what Orser has said in public about the breakup at face value.

    The fact that Orser chose to broke the news by surprise is understandable in the business strategic point of view, but that does not make his action seem less pathetic because he took advantage of the last drop of trust that Yuna's side had in him that he would not do such things.

    Considering how much he owes his coaching career to Yuna and her mom, his action in this mess he deliberately created is a total disgrace and such a nasty slap on Yuna's face.

    I am certain that his public action around the breakup is also specifically designed to deprive Yuna of her future financial opportunities by damaging her image that she built throughout her career and her accomplishment at the Olympics; hitting where it hurts Yuna's side the most.

    In fact, there are already news articles that her sponsors are considering pulling their funding from her.

    No report is yet available on the estimates for her potential financial loss, but it is not difficult to imagine that it will be millions of dollars, considering how sensitive sponsors and CM owners in Korea are to their endorsers' public image.

    Furthermore, Orser even chose the news day so that it overlaps with the first ticket sale day of her US show debut. She worked for 13 years to achieve her dream and when she just about to enjoy the fruit of her lifelong hard work, he took that away from her.

    Although I understand how great the sense of loss letting go of his star pupil could be for Orser, basically this is nothing but a common affair of a skater client switching her coach. No matter what he says how he felt, it will not justify the size of reputational and financial damage he inflicted on Yuna.

    After seeing how all this event unfolded, I have no respect left for Brian.

  36. Is this really the gold medal team of dreams?

    I'm so disppointed with Yuna's reaction no matter how offended she was by what Brian did. Tweeting a swear from an angry impulse and deleting it on a second thought?? Releasing a self-pitying comment written in Korean as if to beg for sympathy of her nation?

    There was not a single word from her that might make up the misunderstanding, but the "bond girl" just shot her coach with her gun.

    Joking aside, figure skating is a sport of beauty.
    She's just delivered a dreamy performance at the Olys. That was truly beautiful. She should behave as beautifully as she skates.

    Learn from your idol Michelle Kwan who left Frank Carol without causing any obvious problem although her dad and Carol were allegedly on bad terms over their directions. She knew how to behave like a champion when there are many kids who look up to her.

    No matter what, Yuna should look before leap if she claims herself as an adult who decides her way on her own.

    Of course Orser should stop his tricky, two-faced diplomacy and behave like a Canadian skating hero, too!