Article in June 4, 1998 issue of USA Today

Kwan glides into 'Mulan' role on ice

By Susan Wloszczyna

"I felt like I was Mulan.''

Skating star Michelle Kwan found a soulmate when she saw Disney's upcoming animated feature, Mulan, while preparing for ABC's Mulan on Ice special airing June 16 -- part of her new four-year deal with the House of Mouse.

While growing up in Torrance, Calif., the Olympic silver medalist and world champ loved being told the legend of a Chinese girl who poses as a male warrior and battles the Huns by her parents, both natives of China. When she saw her childhood hero come to life onscreen, "I was moved to tears.'' So was her dad, Danny. " And that's something for a man like my dad to cry.''

Kwan relates to Mulan's adventures more than ever. " We're both 17. We both have to have courage and discipline. She fought for her country, her parents and herself. At the Olympics, I felt like I was skating for my country, my parents and myself.'' Mulan has a dragon protector, Mushu. Kwan wears a dragon necklace, a gift from her grandmother.

Not only is Kwan going to play Mulan on TV alongside fellow Olympians Philippe Candeloro (as her love interest) and Michael Weiss (as the bad guy). She has added a routine done to the song Reflection from the Mulan soundtrack for the " Champions on Ice'' tour that continues through July.

Even before she was part of the Disney team, Kwan was keen on cartoons. She has skated in the guise of Peter Pan and Pocahontas and, like many girls her age,'' I can sing all the songs to The Little Mermaid.' '

The avid movie watcher (she brought along videos of Air Force One and Titanic to the Olympics in Japan) says acting jobs have been among the thousands of offers she has received since her medal win.

But school comes first. Harvard tops the high school senior's list of colleges, but, with all her ice princess duties, " I may have to graduate in summer.'' And, unlike Mulan, she has to worry about her SATs. " I've still haven't taken them.''

Back Home