This past weekend in Nice, France, 19 year old Michelle Kwan, now
a freshman at UCLA, won her third World Figure Skating Championship.
She is the first American woman to win three world titles since
Peggy Fleming did it back in the 1960s. In third place going into
the finals, Michelle hit 7 triples jumps and out skated her two
Russian rivals to bring home the gold for the USA.
The following clips
of her skating during her long program at Worlds is shown: Triple
salchow, layback, spiral, triple toe/triple toe combo, her end pose,
and pumping her fists when she was done.
KC: And she looks
pretty darn happy. Michelle Kwan, good morning. Congratulations!
Michelle Kwan: Good
morning. (Michelle's wearing a black top with black pants, and
black sandals with gems on them. Her hair looks nice, having more
volume than how it looked at Worlds. The front of her hair is parted
to one side, while the back is straight, but more volumized. Her
ends are curled out a bit. You can see her lucky necklace through
the neckline of her shirt.)
KC: How are you
MK: I'm doing
really well, except for a little cold. (laughs)
KC: Oh yeah,
I bet. Well, tell me how it felt to win the World Championship for
the third time, thanks very much.
MK: You it's funny
because at this Worlds, I wasn't as nervous. Usually at a competition
I知 thinking "Okay this is what I have to do, this is what..." And
when I got on the ice I felt really calm, really at ease and really
KC: Why do you
think that was the case? Because you've done it twice before, was
it not that important for you to win this one or...
MK: You know,
usually you think about "Oh I wanna win, I wanna win," but this
time it was different. It was more like "I wanna skate like I usually
can...like I知 able to." So when I stepped on the ice I was like
"okay here I go, ready or not" and I went on the ice with authority,
and that felt really good.
KC: Well a lot
of sports writers the next day said that your free skate was the
best you had ever done. We've got some video from your free skate.
Tell me about it and, and why you think it was so on target.
The same clips from
her long program they showed earlier is shown again while Michelle
MK: Well, after
Nationals, a lot of people were saying "Oh, Michelle is deteriorating,
she's not doing her triple/triples, she's not doing a lot of elements
that other skaters are doing," and, so the 6 weeks in between
Nationals and Worlds, I worked really hard with my coach Frank,
and we worked on the triple/triple and we worked on making my program
more difficult. So at the Worlds I was ready and I just felt really
good about myself. So I went out there and went "OK, here I come."
KC: You said
you skated with authority. I mean, as you mentioned, some people
were saying "um...she's a great girl, beautiful skater, but kinda
washed up. Her best skating days are behind her." In a way did that
motivate you even more to say "hold on folks (Michelle laughs)
I still have it in me"?
MK: Yeah, that
did motivate me. After Nationals people were saying "oh she's just
a pretty skater and that's it. She's going to school now, she has
other things to worry about, and she's not training as hard." But
I was like "OK, I know I can do it." I believed in myself, and people
around me like my mom, my dad, um, my family, and my coach believed
in me also which helped me a little.
They show the following
still pictures while Michelle spoke above, and while Katie talks
KC: As we've
mentioned, this is the third time, it was a charm. You won the Worlds
in '96, '98. You're good in even years. (Michelle laughs) You
were only 15 when you won your first world championship. How have
you changed as a skater, and how you approach your sport.
MK: There's a
lot of things that I think have changed in my life. I've certainly
learned a lot of lessons, and I've gone through ups and downs. Some
good years on the ice, some bad years. And just knowing that in
life it doesn't...it's not always smooth. And just enjoy every day,
every moment, every second.
KC: How's college?
MK: Oh it's great.
It is really great
KC: Do people
sort of go (making whispering noises) when you walk around?
MK: No, not really.
KC: Do they treat
you differently or do you feel like just another student?
MK: At UCLA it's
like I just put a baseball cap on and I知 just one of 200 people
in a lecture. So I知 having a great time. People are really nice,
KC: What are
you studying? What do you hope to major in? Do you know yet?
MK: I would hate
to say or declare anything right now because I知 still a freshman,
and they say that you, um, change 3 times so...I'm thinking of psychology
but who knows.
MK: I might end
up with something else.
KC: I know you're
taking the next semester off to skate with the John Hancock Championship
on Ice. Why is that so important for you to do, and do you feel
bad for missing school for that?
MK: I do feel
bad missing school for that but, um, John Hancock Champions on Ice
is a great tour. It痴 fun, I get to be with my buddies like Brian
Boitano and Dorothy Hamill, and, we just have a good time. And it's
really easy, it's laid back. It's also fun to perform in front of
an audience all the time, every evening....
KC: Nice to get
MK: Yea, it is.
what about the Olympics? Salt lake city is what, less than 2 years
away. Are you excited about that?
MK: A lot of people
have come up to me and said "Michelle, you go for it! I mean, you
get that gold medal!" and that痴 not my mentality at all. The reason
why I've chosen to stay to 2002, amateur in competing, is because
I love competition. I love that feeling you get right before you
skate. And, I don't think I would change that for the world.
KC: So wouldn't
it be nice to have a gold medal to add to your collection.
MK: It would...I
KC: You don't
even want to think about it. Too nerve racking?
MK: It is a little
nerve racking to think about the Olympic moment. When I was younger,
I thought winning the gold medal would be everything, and if I didn't
win it my life would in be a wreck. But after '98, winning the silver,
it's not...everything is not about the gold medal. And I understand
that and I can appreciate everything I have right now.
KC: Well, you're
a very wise young woman at a very young age. Michelle Kwan, it's
always great to see you in person and always wonderful to see your
beautiful skating as well.
MK: Thank you.
KC: And your powerful
and authoritative skating.
KC: Thank you
Michelle, nice to see you.
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Photo ｩ Jay Adeff