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Brian Orser gives updates on students Javier Fernandez, Yuzuru Hanyu and Yevgenia Medvedeva

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Brian Orser, two-time Olympic silver medalist, is gathering and developing some of the world’s elite talent at his Toronto base. He is in Minsk at the European Championships coaching Javier Fernandez, the first protégé of his that is still skating. He agreed to give an update on his many prominent students to NBCSports.com/figure-skating.

You elected to come to Europeans with Javier?

Yes. Tracy [Wilson, who teaches alongside Orser in Toronto] is in Detroit for the U.S. Nationals. You know, this is Javier’s last time. I wanted to be with him and see this.

What will Javier leaving competitive skating mean for you?

There is something special about Javier. When he came back to Toronto, a few weeks ago, to get ready for this event, the level of everybody’s skating went up all of a sudden, simply because he was there. Javi is loved by everybody – parents, skaters, and the whole club. He worked hard as always, with a good attitude.

We will miss his spirit. For me and Tracy, he is our “poster child,” the very example of what we do with our style of training and coaching. He came through the way we planned it. But you know, I’m sure we’ll see him again in the future. He’ll be up in Toronto again, just to visit!

What do you think his legacy to the sport will be?

No one has asked me this question yet… This is our eighth season together. Javier has done something great for men’s skating. He has embraced the rules and all the changes in the judging system – as we have as teachers.

He is a perfect model for what male skating should be: athletic and aesthetic, bringing a very personal style. His fan base has kept increasing through the years, and he’s been very good at it. He is also the young boy from Spain who made it. This is something very important and special about him. He promotes skating in his home country, through his shows all over Spain and skating camps.

MORE: Javier Fernandez third after men’s short program at Europeans

Have you taught him how to coach?

He had already an excellent coaching base. He’s done the Alexei Mishin camps. I’ve seen him teaching. He teaches technique and style the way we do. This makes me very proud. He will be an excellent coach.

Still, my advice to him was to first do the shows. He loves them, and he is excellent at them. He’ll feel it when the time comes for switching to coaching. It will come naturally to him, and the transition should be smooth.

Can you talk about your other protégés? How do you see Jason Brown improve?

The timing is perfect at the club: Jason is in, Javier is out. They are quite similar. Both are polite, respectful, and both work hard. Jason is like a breeze of fresh air at the club. Also, he brings a fantastic style. This year the change of rules suits him quite well, too.

MORE: 3 questions with Jason Brown before U.S. Championships

There was a rumor that Yevgenia Medvedeva might come to Minsk as a spectator.

(He laughs) Oh no, she had enough travel! Yevgenia is in Toronto right now, training. I’ll be jumping in both feet with her next week. She has a smaller competition planned in Russia next month, and we’re standing by for a potential spot for Worlds.

Two months ago, you had mentioned that you needed to pay attention to the body changes that she was experiencing. Where do you stand now?

The changing of her body is done now. She is 19, so it should be over. It’s a matter of getting used to it. You have a few things to relearn. Your center of gravity is higher and you need to adapt to it. She got used to do that.

The whole is a matter of pushing through and persevering. From the beginning, as she came in Toronto, we told her that she would take a few hits in the first year, but that she had to trust the program and stick to it. Trust us, trust the program, and you’ll come out of the process better. We are taking the hits this year, and it certainly hits her confidence as well. But she’s trusting the program and I feel confident for her. We have to push through, be it for boys or girls.

The same happened to us with Javier. In his first season with us, his first Europeans were not good. His first Worlds were not good – although he had already improved. Things started to happen the next year. I’m anticipating the same with her.

What about Yuzuru Hanyu?

I can’t talk much of Yuzu. His injury is feeling better. He’s back on the ice in Toronto. I’ll tell you the same as last year: he’ll be fine. His focus is Japan and Worlds. He is not a stranger to that kind of a situation anymore. It was the same last year [when Hanyu spent significant time off the ice due to injury], and he became the Olympic champion. This year he is [back] even earlier than one year ago!

MORE: Yuzuru Hanyu wishes training partner Javier Fernandez luck at European Championships

As a reminder, you can watch the U.S. and European Championships live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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David Taylor will not defend wrestling world title

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David Taylor waited five years to get his chance at the world championships. The wait will also be a little longer than expected to defend his world title.

Taylor suffered a knee injury in a May 6 match and underwent surgery, according to his social media. He was to face Pat Downey in two weeks for the U.S.’ spot at 86kg at September’s world championships, but that’s not happening now.

“The nature of competing as a professional athlete is a delicate one,” was posted on Taylor’s accounts. “One year, you find yourself winning the tilte of the 86 kg World Champion and being voted best pound for pound wrestler on earth. In the blink of an eye, you lose yourself in thought over the noisy lull of the MRI machine, hoping that the pain in your knee isn’t what you fear most.”

Taylor, 28, was one of three U.S. men to earn maiden world titles last October in Budapest, along with fellow former NCAA standouts J’den Cox and Kyle Dake.

Taylor upset Iran’s Olympic and world champion Hassan Yazdani in his first match at worlds. He suffered a knee injury in his second match and said he was kicked in the face in the semifinals. He then dumped Turkey’s top-seeded Fatih Erdin in the final, scoring a two-point takedown in the first 10 seconds and getting a 12-2 tech fall.

“To be able to earn it the way that I earned it, there’s no easy way,” Taylor said. “I wrestled every single best guy every single round.”

Taylor became the oldest first-time Olympic or world champion for USA Wrestling since 2006. He had finished second or third at trials for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 World teams and the 2016 Olympic team. He is one of four men to win the NCAA Wrestler of the Year award multiple times, doing so in 2012 and 2014 for Penn State.

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MORE: Helen Maroulis on why she missed world team trials

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire