Absence makes the art grow stronger for skater Yuzuru Hanyu, coach Brian Orser

Brian Orser and Yuzuru Hanyu after the skater's record-breaking performance at the NHK Trophy last fall.  (Getty Images)

Brian Orser and Yuzuru Hanyu after the skater's record-breaking performance at the NHK Trophy last fall.  (Getty Images)

TORONTO - It was the final week of February, and the fan mail for Yuzuru Hanyu sat in a pile on the floor of Brian Orser's office at the Toronto Cricket Club.

The stack was nearly 2 feet high, testimony to how long it had been since Hanyu last was around to collect it.

It also was evidence of the unusual training arrangement between the leading men's figure skater in the world and the man who has coached him to an Olympic gold medal, world title and three straight wins at the Grand Prix Final -- the most recent with one of the most remarkable performances in the sport's history.

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