Kihira Rika to add Hanyu's mentor Brian Orser as second coach 

Japanese figure skater Kihira Rika will train with superstar coach Brian Orser two years out from Beijing 2022 Olympics

By Ken Browne

Kihira Rika announced today that Brian Orser will join her figure skating coaching team.

Kihira has golden Olympic ambitions for Beijing 2022 and feels that Orser can help her get to that goal.

"I decided this because I was certain I can absolutely grow (by working with Orser) ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics (in 2022)," Kihira told Kyodo News in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

Orser, who coached Yuna Kim to Olympic gold at Vancouver 2010 and Hanyu Yuzuru to consecutive gold medals at Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018, will bring a big boost as Kihira looks to take her skating to the next level.

The 17-year-old Japanese star is not breaking with current coach Hamada Mie, Orser will come in as her second coach.

Kihira will train at the famed Toronto Cricket Club in Canada, where Hanyu, Evgenia Medvedeva, Jason Brown and Cha Jun-hwan all perfect their art.

Kihira hopes to start training in Toronto as early as July, when travel restrictions due to the new coronavirus pandemic are lifted.

Kihira: Training with Hanyu Yuzuru

Kihira is looking to add to her repertoire, and says that training alongside the likes of Olympic champion Hanyu will help her move forward.

"I want to learn how to do new spins, and how to combine my steps and jumps. I also want to absorb a lot from watching top figure skaters," she said.

Kihira caused a sensation when she became the first Japanese skater since Mao Asada in 2005 to win the Grand Prix Final on her debut in the 2018/19 season.

But things have been challenging since the rise of Russia and coach Eteri Tutberidze's 'Triple A' of Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova, and Alena Kostornaia, who have dominated podiums in the 2019/2020 season

Russian skaters made a clean sweep this 2019/20 season, topping the podium in all six Grand Prix events.

Kihira came fourth in the Grand Prix final won by Alena Kostornaia.

Rika Kihira: Quads and besting the Russians

With her focus set on the Winter Games in Beijing 2022 two years from now, Kihira has a new plan.

Her hope is that working on landing quadruple salchows and toeloops in the upcoming season will help her compete with the Russian quad squad.

"I will keep telling myself that I need to do better than the (Russian skaters) to win the Beijing Olympics, and train hard so I can go into competition confident that I will not lose this time," she said.