Exclusive: Jin’s move to train with Hanyu, Orser in Toronto not happening

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Two-time world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China will not be permanently relocating to Toronto to train with Yuzuru Hanyu under renowned coach Brian Orser, The Japan Times has learned.

The 20-year-old Jin, who finished fourth at the Pyeongchang Olympics, was set to leave his Chinese coaches, Xu Zhaoxiao and Fu Caishu, to work with Orser ahead of the coming season, but the plan has been altered.

“I don’t think he is going to the Cricket Club,” a veteran skating source told The Japan Times.

“Something changed. Not sure exactly what it was,” said the source, who requested anonymity.

Jin, a native of Harbin, went back to China for what was expected to be a few summer holidays before returning to Canada. But now it appears that prospect has been squelched.

“He never turned up at the Cricket Club and is not expected to,” the source stated.

Attempts to reach Orser for comment were unsuccessful.

The highly talented Jin was expected to take the place of Javier Fernandez, the Spanish two-time world titlist and Pyeongchang bronze medalist, as an elite training partner for two-time Olympic champion Hanyu after Fernandez departed. Jin finished a disappointing 19th at the world championships in Milan, Italy, in March after nearly making the podium in South Korea.

International Figure Skating magazine originally announced Jin’s move to Orser in a Facebook post on May 29, claiming Jin would arrive in mid-June and quoting Orser as saying, “It would be a permanent move.”

“Technically he is very sound, so we will be giving him the direction and the guidance that we gave to Javi. We want to go through the same kind of process with him,” Orser was quoted as saying. “I think he is mature enough to handle it. Also with the 2022 Olympics being in Beijing, it is important to get him prepared to medal at those Games.”

After several weeks in Toronto preparing his programs for the coming season with noted choreographer Lori Nichol, Jin wrote an effusive message on his Instagram account (which has since been canceled) in early June, which was translated and posted on Twitter by @magicaleggrolls.

“A month of training is drawing to a close. Thanks to the Chinese Figure Skating Association for giving me the chance to prepare for the new season in Canada,” Jin wrote. “Thank you to Lori Nichol for meticulously choreographing two new programs of differing styles. Thank you to Kurt Browning for participating with the choreography, and creating an exhibition program for me. . . .”

Orser has coached a gold medalist at the past three Winter Games (Yuna Kim — 2010; Hanyu — 2014, 2018), and is considered to be at the pinnacle of his profession, so Jin’s decision is surprising. Two-time world champion and Pyeongchang silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva left her longtime Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze after last season to move to Toronto and train with Orser.

It could be that Jin just changed his mind, or received pressure from various parties to train at home ahead of Beijing 2022.