Russian skating star Medvedeva joins Canadian coach Orser

Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva bursts into tears after her free skate at Pyeongchang
AFP

Moscow (AFP) – Russian figure skating star Yevgenia Medvedeva has split with her longtime coach Eteri Tutberidze to join Canadian super coach Brian Orser.

The move from Moscow to join Orser’s powerful team in Toronto comes after Medvedeva was foiled in her attempt to win Olympic gold in Pyeongchang by fellow Tutberidze pupil, Alina Zagitova.

Medvedeva will link up in Canada with an array of skating superstars coached by Orser headed by Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan’s skating idol who defended his Sochi 2014 title in Pyeongchang.

The 18-year-old Medvedeva thanked Tutberidze and all her staff “for their prolonged, fruitful and sometimes difficult work”.

“Those people gave birth to my figure skating career and led me to the high results, that I can be proud of,” she added in a statement to Russia’s figure skating federation.

The 2016 and 2017 world champion explained the thinking behind her switch of skating stables.

“I’m doing this to take the new possibilities and some different methods of training to continue representing Russia at the very highest level.”

Medvedeva was hot favourite to win 2018 Olympic gold up to late last year when injury sidelined her for two months.

During her enforced time out 15-year-old Zagitova burst onto the scene, foiling her friend’s attempt to win a third European title in Moscow in January, and also spoiling her Olympic gold medal coronation party in South Korea in February.

Aside from Hanyu, Orser is also responsible for Spain’s multiple men’s European champion and 2018 Olympic bronze medallist Javier Fernandez and Kim Yuna, South Korea’s 2010 Vancouver women’s gold medallist.

Although gold eluded her Medvedeva left Pyeongchang with both women’s and team event silver medals.

Zagitova matched Medvedeva’s free skate score of 156.65 but edged the Muscovite by 1.31 points thanks to her sublime, world-record short programme.

Orser, 56, won two Olympic silver medals and the world championship’s crown during his skating career.

He coaches at Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club.

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