Biography:

Brian Orser won back-to-back Olympic silver medals in men’s figure skating at Sarajevo 1984 and Calgary 1988. He entered the latter as the reigning world champion and was given the honour of being Team Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearer at the home Olympic Games.

In Sarajevo, Orser became the first skater to land the triple axel in Olympic competition. He placed first in both the short program and free skate portions of the event, but his seventh-place finish in the compulsory figures left him unable to surpass three-time world champion Scott Hamilton of the United States for top spot overall.

In Calgary, Orser’s top rival was American Brian Boitano, leading to a media-hyped “Battle of the Brians”. Orser had stood on every world championship podium since 1983, winning bronze that year before three straight silver medals. In 1986, Boitano had been world champion, a title Orser claimed for himself in 1987. On a 5-4 judges’ split in the free skate, it was Boitano who took Olympic gold.

After winning another silver at the 1988 World Championships, Orser turned professional and toured with Stars on Ice until 2007. He transitioned into a career coaching elite figure skaters, most notably Vancouver 2010 women’s champion Yuna Kim of South Korea, Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 men’s champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, and two-time world champion Javier Fernandez of Spain.

Orser won an Emmy Award in 1990 for his performance in Carmen on Ice. He was inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995, and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2009. Made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1985, he was promoted to Officer in 1988.