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Phaneuf to begin training with Orser in Toronto

Two-time Canadian champ has finished seventh and ninth in her two Grand Prix events this fall

Cynthia Phaneuf hopes a coaching change will lead to improved results.
Cynthia Phaneuf hopes a coaching change will lead to improved results. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(11/18/2011) - Cynthia Phaneuf, a two-time Canadian champion and a 2010 Olympian, announced Thursday she has left coaches Annie Barabe and Sophie Richard in Contrecoeur, Quebec, and will begin training immediately with Brian Orser, who steered Korea's Yu-Na Kim to Olympic gold in 2010.

Orser, a two-time Olympic silver medalist, also counts Spain's Javier Fernandez, Elene Gedevanishvili of Georgia and American Christina Gao among his pupils.

"It's a good fit on a lot of different levels," Orser said. "We've got a good group of skaters at the Cricket Club now. It's a great environment that creates itself."

Orser coaches out of the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club, to which Phaneuf has made frequent offseason visits to have programs choreographed by David Wilson and to work on skating skills with Tracy Wilson.

"I always liked [working with Brian] so much, it's not much of a big change," Phaneuf said. "I know where I'm going, I know how it's going to be. I trust Brian, David and Tracy.

Phaneuf, 23, made a big splash in her first couple seasons as a senior. She won the gold at the 2004 Canadian Figure Skating Championships and finished second at the 2004 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. The following season she medaled at both of her Grand Prix events and qualified for the Grand Prix Final.

She met with mixed results from 2005-10, including a 12th-place finish at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in her home country. She experienced a resurgence of sorts last year, placing fourth at both of her Grand Prix assignments and capturing her second national title.

This season, Phaneuf has taken a step back, placing seventh at Skate Canada and ninth at the NHK Trophy.

"It hasn't been an easy way to start the season. I wasn't feeling good at home," Phaneuf said. "I needed a change to push myself, to get myself skating well. There are some big years coming up. Having something new in my life will be best for me."

Phaneuf had worked with Barabe since she was 9.

"I'm thankful to her for all that she gave me," Phaneuf said. "I needed to get something else, to find something that will make a difference and help me reach higher goals."