The 19-year-old Kihira aims to improve her chances of a gold medal at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games by training under Orser, who guided Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu to back-to-back Olympic titles in the men's individual competition.
"I am very happy to work under Brian Orser and his team, who have produced many top skaters, as I aim for the Beijing Olympics," world No. 3 Kihira said in a statement from her management company.
Rika Kihira takes a step back and returns to her original plan. The Japanese, star of figure skating, will in fact move in a few hours to Toronto, Canada, to the court of Brian Orser . The news was released on Wednesday 8 September by local media through the skater's management company.
The native of Nishinomiya had already announced the passage from the coach of Yuzuru Hanyu even in June 2020 , only to then stabilize in Switzerland, in Champery, by Stèphane Lambiel, however, leading a season below expectations, culminating in seventh place at the World Championships of Stockholm (Sweden) but also complicated by some not indifferent physical problems .
Certainly an important choice is that of the athlete who, for the second consecutive year, will have to get used to another continent after Europe very quickly, precisely in a delicate sporting year like the Olympic one.
The competition that Rika Kihira will play during the pre-season will also be announced in the coming weeks. At the moment, in fact, his presence is certain only at the two stages of the ISU Grand Prix circuit, Skate Canada (19-31 October) and the NHK Trophy (12-14 November).
The Japanese skater went to the Canadian specialist Brian Orser from the second time. The best Japanese figure skater and almost the only person in the world who can prevent Russian girls from winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Rika Kihira announced a change in coach. Last season she was trained by the Swiss specialist Stephane Lambiel, in this she plans to train in Canada with Brian Orser. It is curiously true that this is already Kihira's second attempt to go to Orser. She took the first one a year ago, but for various reasons she never made it to North America. What has changed over the past time and what are the prospects for Kihira in the new team?
The Russians occupied the entire podium of the World Cup, but the Japanese woman is in the lead in the ranking. How did it happen?
Kihira announced the transition to Orser in June 2020, but the transition fell through Japanese figure skater Rika Kihira has announced her move to Toronto to work with Canadian specialist Brian Orser. “Since my goal is the Beijing Olympics, I am very pleased to be working under the leadership of Orser and his team, they have trained many top skaters,” Kihira told Kyodo. Kihira worked with Mie Hamada and Stéphane Lambiel last season. The collaboration ended in complete failure at the 2021 World Cup in Stockholm, Sweden, so the decision to try something new in the Olympic year is understandable.
In addition, the choice of Lambiel last autumn was rather forced on her. From the very beginning, she wanted to go overseas to Orser and even agreed on the transition, but in reality Ricky did not succeed in carrying it out. The official reason is the coronavirus pandemic. Information about Kihira's transfer to the Cricket Club appeared in June 2020. A month and a half later, information appears in the media that the transfer will not take place, since the skater cannot fly to Toronto. True, as the Japanese journalists clarify, even after the possible resumption of flights, Rika will not train under the leadership of Orser.
Difficulties with crossing the Canadian border do exist. Another famous Japanese, two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, apparently did not make it to the Orser rink last year, where he has been training since 2012. The Russian woman Evgenia Medvedeva also failed to get to the Cricket Club . Brian worked with his athletes remotely, which did not sit well with the leaders. Therefore, the same Medvedeva decided to return to her previous specialist Eteri Tutberidze.
The version with quarantine restrictions is logical and understandable. On the other hand, a different version is extremely popular in the figure skating environment. Ostensibly against the possible transfer of Kihira to Orser last summer, she was against Medvedev. She understood that in this case, the strongest athlete in the group would already be a Japanese woman, and she moved to Canada just for the sake of the status of a leader and a special attitude towards herself, which she lacked in Khrustalny. There is no proof of the theory's validity, but it was not for nothing that the nuance was separately spoken out that if the restrictions on flights were lifted, there would be no move to Toronto? And in Japan, Rika in any case did not stay, having gone to the Lambiel base in Lausanne.