Canadian coach Ghislain Briand is one of the most prestigious and well-known jumping coaches in the world of figure skating. He worked with two-time Olympic silver medalist Elvis Stojko until 2001, and later began working at the Toronto Cricket and Curling Club as a jump specialist alongside Brian Orser for many years. With Orser, he coached Japanese superstar Yuzuru Hanyu to two Olympic titles.
Briand and Orser recently parted ways as Briand decided it was time for a new chapter, and the 60-year-old is now working as a self-employed coach. His current arrangement is a collaboration with Stéphane Lambiel at the Skating School of Switzerland.
We caught up with Briand in Champéry this summer where he was coaching at Lambiel’s summer camp. After watching some of his training sessions, we discussed his three main principles of each figure skating jump: rhythm, direction and body alignment. Listen in while he explains why he feels these three aspects are essential.
Briand also took us for a quick trip down memory lane of his coaching career while reflecting most precious memories of his forty years of coaching. We also cover his special relationship with Hanyu and their work on the quadruple Axel.
In this interview, the coach also pointed out that the health of young athletes is very valuable and injury prevention should be the number one priority for all coaches. We touch on the recent development of quadruple jumps in the junior category, and Briand explains why he agrees on the recent age limit rise.
Briand, who usually brings a good amount of humor and fun into his training sessions and competitions, explains why this is important for the competitive atmosphere.
Lastly, we learn what Briand is looking forward to the most concerning the upcoming 2023-24 season.