Article in June 16, 1998 issue of USA Today

Kwan studies, skates, debuts in TV special

By Debbie Becker

Four months after just missing an Olympic gold medal, Michelle Kwan is discovering life is just as sweet wearing silver.

Kwan, 17, is learning new jumps from Philippe Candeloro while on a summer skating tour, she has gone whitewater rafting with China's Lu Chen and tonight she appears in the Disney special, Mulan (ABC, 8 ET).

This is the first part of her four-special deal with Disney and ABC. Mulan is based on one of China's most popular legends: A young woman poses as a man to go to war and save her father's life.

"I remember my dad telling me the story when I was a little girl," Kwan said.

Also appearing are Olympians Michael Weiss, Elizabeth Punsalan, Jerod Swallow and Candeloro. For Kwan, the hardest part was trying not to laugh while filming a love scene with Candeloro, France's sexy skating star.

The two even did a little pairs routine, a first for Kwan who had never been lifted before.

"Who knows, in 20 years maybe I'll be skating pairs," she said.

Because she's younger than 18, Disney insisted that a tutor work with Kwan between takes. She took advantage of the offer by studying for the Scholastic Assessment Test.

"And no, I won't tell you what my score is, unless it's perfect," said Kwan, who is trying to decide when and where to go to college.

She is certain about remaining an eligible (amateur) skater so she can compete in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and try to win the gold medal she lost to Tara Lipinski.

"We went to Salt Lake City on tour a week ago, and it was amazing," said Kwan, whose next big competition is the Goodwill Games next month."I thought: `How can I miss this? I'll be back in four years.'

"When I look back at the Winter Olympics, everything was perfect except one thing. There are so many great memories. I skated my best and that wasn't good enough, but that's what competition is all about."

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