Class of 1997: Athlete
A truly dominant force in Canadian and World figure skating since 1980, nicknamed “Mr. Triple Axel”, Brian Orser is the only man in Canadian singles skating to have won all three major Canadian titles: Novice, 1977, Junior, 1979 and, from 1981 – 1988, Senior. He also captured the Skate Canada International titles in 1983, 1984 and 1987. In addition to winning two Olympic silver medals, 1984 in Sarajevo and 1988 in Calgary, four silver (1984, 1985, 1986 and 1988) and one bronze (1983) in World’s, Brian was the third Canadian to capture the men’s gold medal at the world championships. He followed in the footsteps of Donald Jackson and Donald MacPherson. Brian was known for his triple Axels and extraordinarily fluid footwork. His talent, discipline, perseverance and perfectionism drove him in his quest for excellence.
When he won the 1987 World’s in Cincinnati, his coach Doug Leigh said, “None of this happened by accident. We worked to get this far”. To celebrate his victories, his hometown of Orillia honored him with “Brian Orser Day”, where Brian presented 14 replicas of his gold medal to 14 significant friends and relatives who helped him achieve Champion of the World. Brian received the Order of Canada in 1986 and in 1988 was promoted within the Order. Among his other honors, he was selected to be the flag bearer for the Canadian Olympic team at the 1988 Games in Calgary. He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1995.