In 1980, he jumped to the senior level. He placed fourth at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships, the last time he would place off the podium at that competition.
In the 1980-81 season, Orser began making his mark on the skating world, winning the silver at the Nebelhorn Trophy and capturing the first of eight Canadian titles. He won his first World medal in 1983, a bronze.
Known already as "Mr. Triple Axel" for his consistency with the jump, Orser became the first man to land that jump at the Olympics when he landed it in his free skate at the 1984 Olympic Winter Games. He won the silver medal behind Scott Hamilton, and then won the silver at Worlds, again behind Hamilton.
Orser finally won Worlds in 1987, defeating Brian Boitano on his home ice.
Going into the 1988 Olympics, Orser and Boitano were thrust into the "Battle of the Brians." Orser served as the flag-bearer for Canada during the Opening Ceremonies. He placed third in compulsory figures, second in the short program and second in the free skate, winning the silver medal overall. He won the silver again at Worlds. Orser turned professional following that season.
During his competitive career, he trained at the Mariposa School of Skating and was coached by Doug Leigh.
Orser was elected to the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and to the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995.
He is a head instructor at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club and coaches two-time World bronze medalist Yu-Na Kim.