Battle of the Brians

Battle Of The Brians

Battle of the Brians

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The Battle of the Brians was an informal name given to the figure skating rivalry between Canadian Brian Orser and American Brian Boitano at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. It is considered one of the most memorable competitions in figure skating history.


Brian Orser won the silver medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics. Brian Boitano placed fifth. Orser placed second at the 1985 World Figure Skating Championships, with Boitano one step below him. Boitano won the next year. When Orser won the 1987 Worlds, held in Cincinnati, Boitano knew he would have to make a change in his skating if he were to beat Orser at the Calgary Olympics on Orser's home turf. He turned to choreographer Sandra Bezic, who helped effect a major change in his skating style. Orser and Boitano were well-matched in many ways. Both were excellent skaters who had a jump as their signature move; Orser was well-known for his triple axel and Boitano had invented the 'Tano triple lutz, a triple lutz with one arm raised above the head. Going into the Olympics, both were their country's nationals champions and favorites for the gold.

The competition

There were three phases of competition: the compulsory figures, the short program, and the long program. Boitano was ahead after the compulsory figures, but Orser won the short program. At that time, figures counted for 30% of the score and the short program counted for 20%. The difference between Orser and Boitano was so small that the skater who won...
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