Hmmm, what do we have here? Looks like a teenage girl who is already hitting
the big time. Hey, that's great!!! She's my age and she's
already doing all this stuff. Well, I have only word word to describe
this, "Dedication!" Yes, I bet if we all have the same type of dedication
as these overachievers, the world would be a better place. Unless you're dedicated
to doing things for evil. Then we have a problem. Sure, there might be other teenagers
in the world
that are up there, but I'll get to them later. So stick to the the subject...and the
subject is still on Michelle Kwan. You go girl!!!
Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Kwan Wing Shan
July 7, 1980
Site of Training:
5 feet 2 inches
Born on July 7, 1980 the third child of Danny and Estella Kwan, Michelle's love for skating began at age 5. After watching her older brother Ron practicing hockey, Michelle along with her older sister Karen wanted to learn to skate. Within a year, both girls had started ice skating lessons.
Michelle realized her dream for an Olympic gold medal in 1988 when she saw American Brian Boitano win an Olympic gold medal. In her mind she thought, "Okay, tomorrow I'll go to the Olympics." Making the Olympics wasn't that simple, but Michelle committed herself to the training vigorously and began her quest to becoming the best in the world.
The Kwans hired top coach Frank Carroll to coach their daughters. The following year, Michelle and Karen moved to Lake Arrowhead to train at Ice Castle, where Michelle still trains.
In 1992, Michelle finished ninth at the Junior National Championships. Michelle was truly disappointed with how she skated and placed, but wanted to take the test for the senior level, but Frank thought she needed more time and experience first.
While her coach was out of own, Michelle decided that she would take the test on her own. Her parents, who thought Frank had known about it, took Michelle to take the test. Michelle performed a variety of skating moves in front of a panel of judges and passed the test with flying colors!
Frank was furious when he discovered what Michelle had done. He and Michelle trained laboriously so that Michelle would be up to the standards of the senior world. At age 12, Michelle had done better than when she was a junior, finishing sixth at the National Championships.
In 1993, Michelle gained instant attention when she became the youngest U.S. Olympic Festival champion. She landed six triple jumps in front of the largest crowd ever of 25,691 people. Michelle went on to win four other competitions that year.
After winning the junior World Championships in 1994, Michelle went on to capture the silver medal at the National Championships. She was first alternate to the Olympic and World teams. Replacing Tonya Harding at the 1994 Worlds, Michelle skated beautifully in front of the local Japanese crowd. The audience was stunned at how this "little girl" skated so well and had represented the "mighty" United States. Michelle's eighth place finish allowed the United States to send ladies to the championships the folowing year. Michelle's finish in the top ten meant that she did not have to qualify for next year's event.
The following season, Michelle went on the win her second silver medal at the National Championships. Michelle skated stunningly at the World Championships on Birmingham, England. With her free skate performance, Michelle earned the only standing oviation of the night and earning third place for the free skate. She had skated the best she could and was overwhelmed with joy. Many thought that Michelle should've medaled that night instead of finishing fourth overall. Frank Carroll, Michelle's coach, believed the judges thought Michelle wan't ready to stand on the world podium because they had wanted the Ladies World Champion, not the Girls World Champion. With or without a medal that night, Michelle had shown the world that she had arrived.
The 1995-1996 season, would prove to be golden for Michelle. Her transformation and stunned the skating world. The ponytailed little girl we had remembered was no more. Instead there was a mature and sophisticated young lady. With her new look and stunning artistry, Michelle told the judges that she was ready to stand on top of that podium. During that season, Michelle won nine out of the ten competitons she entered, including the World Championships. At Worlds, Michelle had won the World title by a slim margin over China's Chen Lu, who had skated flawlessly. Michelle had also earned two perfect marks of 6.0 in artistry.
The '96-'97 season was rough for Michelle. Winning the first four compeitions of the season,
Michelle fell to the ice at the 1997 National Championships and placed to Tara Lipinski. Michelle's
loss was completely unexpected, proving that Michelle wasn't invincible. She went on to place
second at the Champion Series. At this point many skating viewers were confused. What do you do
when you're at the top and you fall? For Michelle Kwan, she found a new perspective on the sport
and life. Michelle's new perspective brought a new quality to her skating, inspiration. She decided
that the most important thing when she skated was to have fun. At the World Championships,
Michelle had a three-turn out of her triple lutz which placed her in fourth place after the short
program. Many had thought that Michelle would crumble in her free skate, but Michelle had just
done the opposite. She skated the best she had skated for a while and received a standing oviation
before her program was over. Michelle went on to win the silver medal that night, but in her mind
Michelle had won the ultimate battle. The battle against herself. She had learned to face her fears
head on. Armed with her new perspective and attitude on life combined with her restored
confidence, Michelle will definitely have gold in her future.