On Friday night, three virtuoso ice skaters claimed the gold, silver, and bronze medals in the men's free skate, and two of them were coached by the same man, Canadian former Olympic figure skater Brian Orser. And when the camera cut to him after the results were final, the whole world got a glimpse of a heartwarming moment. In short, this photo of Orser after his skaters metaled went viral, looking like the perfect meme of a very proud Olympisc dad.
Orser, 56, won a pair of silver medals in figure skating himself at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. Nowadays, he's a coach and trainer for other aspiring skaters, two of whom set the sports world ablaze on Saturday night ― bronze medalist Javier Fernandez of Spain, and gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan.
After it was official that the two had claimed medals, with another Japanese skater Shoma Uno claiming the silver, Orser was spooted by NBC's cameras taking a photo of his celebrating, embracing students. Before long, the denizens of social media seized on the sentimental images, deciding that Orser looked just about as proud as could be, and wanted something to remember the moment by, too. Here's what it looked like when he took a photo of the pair.
Hanyu and Fernandez, ages 23 and 26 respectively, are more than just fellow students of Orser's. They're also both friends and rivals, and train together despite being rivals for the title of the world's greatest figure skater.
It's worth noting that the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang could easily be Fernandez's last, owing to his age ― he'll be 30 when the 2022 Games in Beijing roll around, which is typically considered past prime for a figure skater.
Orser, for his part, has been coaching Hanyu for six years, dating back to 2012. His professional relationship with Fernandez goes back even further, as they began working together in 2011.
In short, Orser has more than ten combined years worth of relationship built up between the duo, and as such it's not hard to see why he'd be feeling emotional at the sight of them mutually celebrating their Olympic glory.
Orser never managed to win a gold medal as a figure skater himself, having finished second to American figure skater Scott Hamilton in 1984, and also having finished second to American figure skater Brian Boitano in 1988.
Two near-misses like that are the sorts of things that could definitely linger in someone's memory, but having now led two other skaters to such soaring heights ― especially Hanyu, who's widely considered by many the best individual figure skater on Earth right now, and perhaps one of the best of all time ― his place in the history of the sport can't be understated.
It remains to be seen what will be next for Hanyu. Still just 23, and with two gold medals from the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games already in his possession, he would seem to be perfectly lined up to go for the three-peat once the 2022 Beijing Games roll around.
Hanyu is the first figure skater to win the gold in men's singles in two consecutive Winter Games since American skater Dick Button did it in 1948 and 1952. Only one man has ever claimed the gold in men's singles in three consecutive Winter Olympics ― Swedish skater Gillis Grafstrom, who pulled off the feat with gold medals in 1920, 1924, and 1928. It's too soon to know whether Hanyu will also accomplish that rarest of feats someday, but with an unparalleled track record of excellence on the ice, and with Orser in his corner, there's no reason to think he can't.