Michelle Wingshan Kwan

Michelle Wingshan Kwan

American figure skater.
Michelle Wing Kwan was born in Torrance, California on July 7, 1980. She was born into a modest, middle-class Chinese family as the youngest of three children. After watching her older brother Ron play ice hockey at age five, Michelle decided she wanted to skate too. Because of the enormous expenses, her family was forced to sell their restaurant and moved in with Danny Kwan's (Michelle's father's) parents to allow Michelle, Karen, and Ron to continue skating. These sacrifices would eventually pay off because Michelle won her first competition at age seven!Michelle made her break-through at the 1994 U.S. National Championships after winning the silver medal. She was the alternate for the 1994 U.S. Olympic Team at age thirteen that same year. Imagine that! And that's not all. Michelle carried a huge responsibility at the 1994 World Championships. Representing the United States on her own, she skated to an impressive eighth place finish at her first World Championships to guarantee the U.S. two spots for the ladies next year.The 1994-1995 season was when Michelle learned it was time to "grow-up." After skating two flawless programs at the World Championships, the only lady to do so, she placed fourth overall. A lack of artistry and presentation held her back from competing with the elite of the sport.1996 was Michelle's "dream season." She finished first in every event except for Centennial on Ice where she placed third early in the season. With new costumes, make-up, and choreography, she transformed into the new queen of the ice. Michelle had the total package, artistry and the jumps.The 1997 season was a big test for Michelle. Physical and mental changes had thrown her off and caused her to be distracted. The unraveling of things began at the 1997 U.S. National Championships. After skating a clean short program, Michelle totally fell apart in the long program. Fall after fall, the world couldn't believe it. Was this the same Michelle Kwan they had grown to know? After it was all over, Tara Lipinski took advantage of the moment and became the new U.S. National Champion. Lipinski also won her World Championship the same season after Michelle made a costly mistake in the short program. (Michelle won the free skate, but had finished fourth in the short to end up second).The 1998 skating season was Michelle's "comeback season." She beat Lipinski at Skate America, but at Skate Canada, she injured her toe in a butterfly. Going into U.S. Nationals, she was unsure of how she would be able to skate. But oh, would it be a week to remember. Michelle skated flawlessly to a total of fifteen perfect scores of 6.0 and her second U.S. National Championship. Going into the Olympics, she was the overwhelming favorite. Skating a clean performance to arguably the best short program ever,"Rachmaninoff," Michelle stood in first place. But a "tentative" free skate to"Lyra Angelica" cost her the gold to Lipinski who skated the skate of her life in the free skate. Sure, it was something to be bummed out about, but Michelle took that silver medal and wore it proudly. She later won the World Championships and the Goodwill Games that year.The 1998 skating season was Michelle's "comeback season." She beat Lipinski at Skate America, but at Skate Canada, she injured her toe in a butterfly. Going into U.S. Nationals, she was unsure of how she would be able to skate. But oh, would it be a week to remember. Michelle skated flawlessly to a total of fifteen perfect scores of 6.0 and her second U.S. National Championship. Going into the Olympics, she was the overwhelming favorite. Skating a clean performance to arguably the best short program ever,"Rachmaninoff," Michelle stood in first place. But a "tentative" free skate to"Lyra Angelica" cost her the gold to Lipinski who skated the skate of her life in the free skate. Sure, it was something to be bummed out about, but Michelle took that silver medal and wore it proudly. She later won the World Championships and the Goodwill Games that year.After the 1999 World Championships and her 2nd place finish, critics started writing offKwan, saying that she wasn't pushing herself technically. She was becoming a veteran of the sport. Most of the attention was geared towards the younger U.S. skaters and the Russian ladies. But would Michelle ever show the world what she was made of. Standing in third overall after the qualifying round and short program at the 2000 World Championships, Michelle delivered one of her most amazing performances. Skating to selections from the "The Red Violin," Michelle executed all seven of her triple jumps and was the only women to land a triple/triple combination. Michelle skated with speed, intensity, and passion on her way to a third World Championship.Michelle entered the 2000-2001 skating season as the reigning World Champion. Michelle squeaked in a victory over fellow American Sarah Hughes at Skate America. She was beaten by Russian skater Irina Slutskaya at Skate Canada, and Slutskaya beat her another two times later in the season including at the Grand Prix Final. Michelle entered the World Championships again as the underdog, but she was focused. Michelle had three tremendous skates at Worlds and won her fourth World title. It wasn't about proving anyone wrong anymore; it was about loving to skate and to compete. It was about looking ahead to the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.During the rocky Olympic season, Michelle brought many surprises to the skating world. Michelle left her choreographer, Lori Nichol, and fired her coach, Frank Carroll. Michelle wanted change and independence and responsibility for her own skating. At Skate Canada in November 2001, Michelle finished third for the first time since 1996, falling on both her attempts at triple/triple combinations. At the National Championships, Michelle rebounded with a brilliant performance to"Scheherazade" to win her sixth National title and a spot on the Olympic Team. Michelle once again entered the Olympics as the favorite for gold. She skated a gorgeous short program to"Rachmaninoff," which placed her in first after the short program (the same program, which put her in first after the short in Nagano). Then came the free skate. Then came the two-footed triple-toe. Then came the fall on the triple flip. Michelle was surpassed by another teammate of hers, this time sixteen year old Sarah Hughes, and wound up with the bronze medal. Michelle stunned herself; she stunned the World. But she made no excuses for herself; she never complained once. Michelle being Michelle handled herself with the rare grace and class that defines her so well.Michelle entered the 2002-2003 season unsure about her future. She had won a warm-up event defeating Sarah Hughes and Sasha Cohen, and she won at Skate America as a last-minute replacement for Sarah Hughes. A showdown was brewing at Nationals; one in which Michelle emerged victorious. Under the guidance of coach Scott Williams, she skated a bold short program to "The Feeling Begins" and a lighter free program to"Aranjuez" packed with six triple jumps and a renewed enthusiasm. Her momentum continued in to the World Championships in Washington, D.C. where she won her fifth World title. Once again, it looked like she was back on top.However, in a warm-up event for the 2003-2004 season, Michelle finished second behind Sasha Cohen. It became apparent that some new faces would emerge this season and that what Michelle had done last season would not be enough to win. For the first time, the ISU implemented the new scoring system, the Code of Points, in the Grand Prix, in which Michelle did not participate. Entering the National Championships, Sasha Cohen was the favorite, but Cohen unraveled in the free skate whereas Kwan shone and won her eighth National Championship. Before Nationals, Michelle had hired a new coach, RafaelArtunian, who specializes in jump technique. She understood the need to add triple/triple combinations, yet she did not plan any for the upcoming World Championships in Dortmund, Germany. So at Worlds, already lacking triple/triples, she faltered on other jumps, received a deduction for skating over the time limit in the short program, and dealt with a streaker on the ice just before her free skate, all of which contributed to her third place finish behind Japan's Shizuka Arakawa, who landed two triple/triples, and Sasha Cohen, whose presentation marks challengedKwan's.Entering the 2004-2005 season, Michelle has decided to make a run for the 2006 U.S. Olympic team. Due to the official approval of the new Code of Points judging system for major figure skating events, including the Olympic Games.Source: biggeststars.com
I was so worried about winning, it was as if I was caught up in my own web.More Michelle Wingshan Kwan quotes [08/06/2011 04:08:27]
I always thought after 2002 that I'd hang up my skates and turn professional and just go on tour and do shows. But I don't know when it is enough. I mean, I still enjoy it. I'm the luckiest girl alive that I get to perform in front of thousands of people, do what I love doing.More Michelle Wingshan Kwan quotes [08/06/2011 04:08:07]
Skating takes up 70 percent of my time, school about 25 percent. Having fun and talking to my friends, 5 percent. It's hard. I envy other kids a lot of things, but I get a guilt trip when I'm not training.More Michelle Wingshan Kwan quotes [08/06/2011 04:08:45]
I got a call this morning, and it was from Nancy Kerrigan, wishing me luck. She wished me luck and sent me all her good wishesMore Michelle Wingshan Kwan quotes [08/06/2011 04:08:13]

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