--The following is
from the opening of the show--
was supposed to be her year. In her first time in prime time interview
since the Olympics, Michelle Kwan talks about that night in Salt
(With tears on her face) At one point, I remember the fans
just clapping and cheering me on. And, (Wipes away tears) I’m
still very emotional. (Smiles)
will she try again?
MK: Who knows
what will happen in Italy in 2006?
Jane Pauley: Yea,
you know. (Michelle laughs)
--The following is
from just before the commercial break prior to her interview--
JP: When you skated
off the ice and met your father, you said “Daddy, I didn't quit.”
What did you mean by that when you said that?
the first time in prime time, Michelle Kwan on the gold that got
away. When “After the Goldrush” continues after this message from
your local stations.
Dateline special "After the Goldrush” continues. Here again is Jane
in front of Rockefeller skating rink.) Before an athlete become
an international celebrity, she has to be a champion. Before that,
thousands of lonely hours training. And, for a skater, thousands
of falls, too. It would be hard to find an athlete more dedicated,
harder working, than Michelle Kwan -- a champion many times over.
She arrived in Salt Lake City arguably the best female skater in
history. But when she left, her medal was bronze, not gold. Tonight,
Michelle Kwan in her first prime time interview since the games.
--Cut to the interview--
is wearing a green/blue-ish shirt, with a frilly neckline. Her
hair is down.) A lot of people the last few days have come up
to me because they know how much I wanted to win. And they don't
know what to say to me, you know. Whether to congratulate me for
winning the bronze or...
JP: What's the
right thing to say to you, then?
"You made us proud," and that they know that...I skated my heart
out. And that's all that matters.
Announcer from COI
announces “Michelle Kwan!” A clip of her skating to This Time Around
on tour last year is shown.
JP: Michelle Kwan
skates with her heart. It's her passion and artistry above all that
has made her the most decorated figure skater America has ever produced.
In her 10 year career, the only prize that has alluded her was the
one she’s wanted most, ever since she was the 7 year old girl, watching
the 1988 winter games.
MK: When I watched
Brian Boitano win the gold, I’m like, “I want to be there.” He had
a sense of freedom, a sense of joy and passion for the sport. (A
closeup during her end pose of Lyra Angelica at ‘98 Nationals is
shown) And that’s what I feel. I feel that there's so much love,
so much enjoyment.
JP: (A clip
of a young Michelle practicing at Lake Arrowhead is shown) Michelle
made her Olympic debut at 13 as an alternate in 1994, when the Tonya
Harding/Nancy Kerrigan soap opera dominated the games. (A clip
from Rachmaninoff at the 1998 Olympics is shown) Four years
later, a 17 year old Michelle arrived at Nagano, Japan. Then as
now, Michelle Kwan was the favorite to win. She skated a clean program,
only to see a 15 year old Tara Lipinski snatch the gold medal. Kwan
settled for silver.
MK: My dad always
reminds me, "The ice is very slippery, be careful" (Laughs)
JP: (A clip
of Michelle doing a layback during an Olympic practice is shown)
Everybody slips sometimes, but Michelle Kwan slips less often than
most. She has posted more perfect sixes in competition than anyone
in history. (During the next sentence, they show a picture of
Michelle with her gold medal at ‘96 Nationals, ‘99
Worlds, and ‘00
Nationals) She's won six National and four World championships.
(More clips from Olympics practices) Arriving in Salt Lake,
she was the strong favorite to win. And the crowds let her know
it. (They show Michelle getting on the ice, and the audience
cheering, before Rachmaninoff at this year’s Olympics)
MK: I got on the
ice, and I looked up, and they were standing on their feet. It's
like, "OK, concentrate, Michelle." (Laughs) I see the American
flags waving, and it's just (shakes her head) incredible.
her triple flip and her smiling at the end of Rachmaninoff is shown)
Kwan skated flawlessly and was in first place going into the long
program. (A clip of Sarah skating onto the ice for the long program
is shown.) Then history began to repeat itself when another
American teenager stepped onto the ice.
MK: I remember
the first time I met Sarah. It was at a restaurant. My family and
I were having dinner. And this little girl comes up...and she came
up and she’s like, “Can I have your autograph?”
JP: Does Sarah
skate with that same kind of thing that Brian Boitano had? That
MK: Sarah has
a fire in her, and she skated the most amazing program.
JP: The judges,
and the crowd, agreed. Sarah Hughes performance was spectacular.
The drama builds.
They show the doors
Michelle was waiting behind, before skating her long program at
the Olympics, with the announcer saying “Michelle...behind those
JP: They cut to
those silver doors, closed. Michelle is behind there. What were
you doing behind those closed doors?
MK: I had a lot
time after the 6 minute warmup. And, I mean, it is difficult, because
you hear the marks of the other skater’s. You hear the audience
JP: (The beginning
of Scheherazade at the Olympics is shown.) Now, skating under
the pressure of the worlds expectations, not to mention her own.
MK: I dedicated
15 years to my skating. (Pictures from Scheherazade, or a pose
at the Olympics are shown) And I couldn’t have worked harder.
I couldn’t have been any more prepared. And felt like, “OK, go out
there, and just skate Michelle, and skate. Skate for everybody.
Skate for yourself.”
from Scheherazade at the Olympics is shown.) And she skated
with fire and intensity. And for a few moments, her dream of a gold
medal was so close, she could almost touch it. And then... (they
show her falling) Do you know what went wrong? Do you know why
you didn’t hit it?
MK: Well, there
was a lot of things that went wrong. I think I was rushing it a
little too much in the set up. I could see it, it’s... I was on
the ice yesterday. Just, I did it and didn’t miss one. (They
show her skating off the ice, and then hugging her dad after Scheherazade.)
JP: When you skated
off the ice and met your father, who was waiting there for you.
You said “Daddy I didn't quit.” (Michelle is tearing up, and
pushes her hair behind her ear) I think those three words were
loaded with meaning.
MK: Well, (wiping
tears away) the four minutes are pretty intense when you are
out on the ice. And you have a lot of time to think. And, um, you
know, when I made a mistake early on in the program, I could have
easily have jumped out of the performance, and uh, could have made
a lot more mistakes.
JP: (They have
the camera on Jane, but you can still see Michelle wiping away her
tears) But at the moment, you demonstrated for everyone your
character. The rest of your skate was about character, wasn’t it?
MK: In the middle
of my performance, I knew I had to be perfect, and, uh, I knew it
was, like slipping out of my hands. And I knew it wasn’t going to
be the dream performance that I’ve always...visualized. And it was
hard. When I got off the ice, I said, I’m proud of myself, because
I didn’t quit in the performance.
JP: (They show
of Michelle and her dad in the kiss and cry at Nationals.)
Do you have any regrets?
MK: My dad said,
“Never have any regrets.” And, for me right now, I have no regrets.
JP: (They show
Michelle being announced as during the medal ceremony, with the
commentator saying “This can’t be easy for Michelle.”) But afterwards,
the second guessing. Was she right to fire her coach only a few
months before the games. (A clip of the podium is shown)
Was the pressure to be perfect too much to bear? (The show a
of Michelle on the podium.)
MK: I think I
slept about 30 minutes after the long program. Just, because, it...you
can replay the performance in your head over and over. And, it’s
hard, because you say, “what if, what if, what if?” (Rests
her head in her hand)
JP: (They show
cover of Michelle’s book, The Winning Attitude) Michelle
might take a page from her own book, The Winning Attitude. Michelle
Kwan said in her book, (Michelle laughs) remember your successes.
Can you read it to me please? (She and Jane laugh, and Michelle
squeezes the pillow she’s holding) It’s, it’s true. And my dad,
this past week, has been telling me, you know, skating has been
good to you. And I know that, deep inside I know that. (They
show a picture of a young Michelle, sitting her in room) But,
it’s just disappointing sometimes when you have this one dream,
to win the Olympic gold, (They show a picture of Michelle on
the 2000 Nationals podium) to stand on top of the podium, and
uh, (starting to get choked up while talking) you’re so close
to it, and it doesn’t come true. (They show a clip of Michelle
bowing after Scheherazade at the Olympics, with Scott Hamilton saying
“It wasn’t perfect, but it was courageous”)
JP: She’s only
21. Her dream might yet come true. Though, Michelle Kwan has been
a competitor so long, some think she must be too old to
MK: “How old are
you? You’re still amateur, you’re still competing, you’re going
to the Olympics? I thought you were like 33 or something?” (Michelle
and Jane laugh) And I’m thinking to myself, you know, if I stay
in for another 4 years, then they’ll think I’m, like, 40 or something.
JP: (A clip
of Michelle warming up backstage is shown) What everybody wants
to know, will Michelle Kwan compete at the Olympics again in 2006?
MK: It’s hard
to commit yourself to 4 years, but, I’m taking gradual steps. Just
take my time, and, uh, see where it leads me, because...
JP: OK, I’m not
going to ask you for a commitment, but...you leaning more for, or,
MK: Right in the
JP: (A clip
from Fields of Gold at the Olympics is shown for the rest of the
interview) She intends to keep her eligibility. But, it’s possible
that the exhibition skate at Salt Lake was Michelle Kwan’s last
appearance on Olympics ice.
MK: The crowd
was so supportive, so loving, and it was amazing. And, in the middle
of my performance, I started crying, because I can...there was so
many emotions, you know? I love skating because it’s such a beautiful
sport, so soothing, so comforting. That night I felt like, this
is why I love it, this is why I’m here. (They end showing Michelle’s
tear stained face in the end pose, and then smiling)
--Back to Jane, standing
in front of the ice rink--
JP: After her
disappointment 4 years ago in Nagano, Michelle skated to a World
Championship one week later. Two weeks from now, she returns to
Nagano, to defend her fourth world championship.
shots courtesy of Grace.
A few others: pic
#2, and pic
a real video clip of the interview,
courtesy of Moyesii!
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Photo © Jay Adeff