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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Orser says he was asked to coach Mao


Staff writer

There seems to be no end to the ongoing drama that envelops the rivalry between Mao Asada and Kim Yu Na.

The stakes rose considerably over the weekend after reports surfaced out of Seoul that Yu Na's coach Brian Orser had been approached by Mao's camp about possibly instructing her.

The prospect would seem to be a non-starter unless Yu Na decides to retire from competition, but that would not prevent an inquiry from being made.

Whether it was seems to be the question here.

The thought of Orser leaving Yu Na to coach Mao is incomprehensible in light of the incredibly successful partnership the pair has forged.

However, with rumors swirling that Yu Na may retire from competition, one could not blame Orser for looking ahead.

If Yu Na decides to only skate professionally, Orser would be left without his top student. Not that he would be lacking for candidates, but when it comes to the elite, Mao would clearly be the cream of the crop if Yu Na bows out.

With the tale beginning to gain momentum, Orser moved to quell the storm by speaking to the South Korean wire service Yonhap on Monday.

The Canadian said in the story that he was approached by Mao's agent following the world championships in Turin, Italy, last month and offered the chance to coach Mao. He went on to say that he is devoted to coaching Yu Na and is not entertaining the prospect of working with Mao.

This is where the plot began to thicken.

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."

Orser did not respond to an e-mail requesting further elaboration.

With Mao looking for a new coach after parting with Tatiana Tarasova, one possible theory is that Mao's people could be indirectly pressuring Yu Na to make up her mind about her future.

If Yu Na does hang it up, the prospect of Orser coaching Mao may not be so far-fetched.



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