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Calgary Olympics: Brian Boitano and Brian Orser battle for gold

"Everything is perfect!" That's how one IOC member described the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calgary Mayor Ralph Klein. Unlike the debt-drenched 1976 Montreal Olympics, Calgary was a financial success, even turning a profit. Highlights included the dramatic battle of the Brians, Elizabeth Manley's spectacular skate and ski jumper Eddie "the Eagle." The 16-day event transformed this western cow town into a city boasting top-notch sports facilities.

It is one of the most gripping moments of the Calgary Games. It ends with American figure skater Brian Boitano inching out Canada's Brian Orser for the gold in what is hyped as the "Battle of the Brians." Orser had been in first place after the short program, but a slip during his triple-flip in the long program costs him the gold. The day after the dramatic finale, the Belleville, Ont. native can't hide his disappointment from CBC's Peter Downie. 
• Brian Orser had come to the Calgary Games as the 1987 world champion, a title he had taken away from Brian Boitano in a close finish.
• Orser had come to Calgary to take home the gold medal, having lost it to another American skater, Scott Hamilton, at the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo.
• Despite the media frenzy over the perceived Battle of the Brians, the two skaters remained friendly off ice.

• The two Brians duelled again at the 1988 world championships in Budapest. Orser placed second once again behind Boitano. Shortly after the world championships, Orser retired from amateur skating and turned professional.
• At the 1984 Sarajevo Olympic Games, Orser became the first man to land the triple axel in an Olympic competition.
• Orser was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1988.
Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Feb. 22, 1988
Guest(s): Brian Orser
Host: Peter Downie
Duration: 4:08

Last updated: February 10, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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