7/7

Happy 26th Birthday Michelle!! Check out my special Michelle Birthday page, if you haven't already!

First, I apologize for being SO behind in updates. I have been working on some Michelle related stuff in the meantime, at least! Grace, my co-admin at the MK Forum, and I have been working on the Michelle Kwan Photo Gallery. Our goal is to have pretty much every picture taken of Michelle in the gallery. Right now, we are unveiling just a few albums at a time, otherwise it would be pretty overwhelming! A few new albums are unveiled every week. Check out the MK Photo Gallery, a work in progress! You can also get updates on what has been added to the gallery in this thread on the MK Forum. If you have any photos that you'd like posted in the gallery, please contact us. I'll post about it again when the gallery is completed, or if there are any major updates.

Also photo related, I've made 19 avatar/icons with Michelle that you can use on forums, livejournal, etc. You can see them in my livejournal here and here.

Another endorsement deal for Michelle! Michelle has signed with Kraft, and is appearing in TV commercials in the "Kraft Your Salad" campaign! You may have seen it on TV already, as it started airing on June 12. It has been seen on stations such as NBC, Lifetime, Food Network, and TV Land.

There are 3 tv commercials in the campaign. The first debuted on May 15 and did not feature a celebrity. The second debuted on May 29, and stars dancer & choreographer Savion Glover. The third and final commercial is Michelle's ad. Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing inspires Michelle, as she "skates" through the kitchen making a one-of-a-kind summer salad using a medley of ingredients she finds in her refrigerator.

(I've seen the other Kraft ads on TV, but not the Michelle one, of course.)

Michelle said in a statement, "I love salads, so I am thrilled to work with Kraft to encourage others to use their imagination and creativity in the kitchen. Like so many others, I don't always have time to create elaborate meals. So I just open my refrigerator, grab a few items, and just like that, I've created my own, personalized salad."

Peter Nowlan, the Vice President, Marketing of Kraft said, "Michelle and Savion are known for their creativity and are ideal partners to motivate consumers to create simple yet personalized meals."

You can watch the commercial on YouTube or download the commercial (in wmv format, 4 MB, made by skatefan20 and uploaded here to my site.) Also, check out some screencaps from the commercial from the MK Photo Gallery. Finally, check out some articles about the deal:

Michelle and other skaters from the tour appeared on the field before the Kansas City Royals / Minnesota Twins game in KC on July 3. They also signed autographs on the concourse. Check out a press release about the event, as well as reports on the MK Forum from SamChez and muroyals, who attended. If you attended, feel free to email me (I'm a major baseball fan, and it makes me so sad I couldn't be there, so I wouldn't mind reading 100 reports from this event, haha!) If you have any pics, again, please email me!

Speaking of being sad for missing a Michelle related event, Michelle appeared at a special event in my own state, and I didn't know about it until after the fact! Michelle appeared at ShopRite in Flemington, NJ, on June 12, where she spent two hours signing autographs and posing for pictures. She appeared as a reward to the store, which for the second year in a row had collected the most donations for and raised the most awareness about hunger as part of ShopRite's Partners in Caring campaign. Check out many pictures from the appearance, from the MK Photo Gallery. Also, check out the following articles about the appearance:

Check out this great article about Michelle from the Tulsa paper, promoting Michelle's appearance on tour: Ice Queen!

Michelle is once again one of the top 10 favorite female athletes, according to the latest Harris Poll! Michelle finished 6th among all female athletes. Venus Williams is #1, Serena Williams #2, followed by Mia Hamm, Michelle Wie, Danica Patrick, Michelle, Annika Sorenstam, Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, and Sasha Cohen at #10.

The Harris Poll is conducted online by Harris Interactive among a nationwide sample of 2,085 U.S. adults between May 9 and 16, 2006. For more information, check out the following articles:

5/20

Maxxis has put out a third poster of Michelle, check it out: "A Champion Forever" Poster (you can select a download size at the bottom of the page.)

And, as in the past, Maxxis will be sending out this 24"x36" poster free to all Michelle fans who would like one! Just go to the contact page on their site. On that site, be sure to select Web Site as your "Topic of Interest" so the request is forwarded to the correct department. I've been told it may take some time (they compile a list and generally mail them out once a week), but they will be delivered! Thanks Maxxis, for being so great to Michelle's fans!!

If you missed the past posters, you can check them out on the official Maxxis site: "Control in Motion" Poster and "Outlasting, Outshining" Poster.

5/14

Michelle is in the top ten of "likable" athletes, according to E-Poll Market Research, which tracks the ups and downs of thousands of celebrities. From the article The Game: Kobe's Allure Is Rebounding:

Bryant is still down the list of athletes on E-Poll surveys over the past year. The top 10 (with likability marks of at least 59%): Brett Favre, Steve Young, Kristi Yamaguchi, Mia Hamm, Michelle Kwan, Arnold Palmer, Jerome Bettis, Peggy Fleming, Lance Armstrong and (tied) Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning and Wayne Gretzky.

There are a few good Q&A type articles written about Michelle during some recent COI stops. Check them out:

Not Michelle related, but I've posted my pictures of all skaters from the NJ & Philly COI stops (previously I had only posted the Michelle & backstage pictures.) If you are interested, be sure to check them out!

5/1

I attended the New Jersey COI stop on Saturday, April 29. Check out my partial report of Michelle backstage. I've also posted my pictures of Michelle in the show, less than the Philadelphia show, but still good I think (and better ones of Michelle backstage this time), as well as all my pictures from backstage after the show. Check them out!

A few magazine mentions. First, Michelle is in the May 8 issue of People magazine, which is the 100 most beautiful People issue! sw3 posted the following on the MK Forum: (Thanks sw3 !)

This time People did the 100 Most Beautiful (rather than 50) w/Angelina Jolie on the cover. There are the normal pics, then pics of stars w/pets, beautiful mothers and daughters, athletes, then, finally, the last section is called "Beauty at Every Age." In the 20's section, there is a pic of our girl for age 25. It's a small headshot, but still it's good.

Also, a picture of Michelle and President Bush, from the White House luncheon I mentioned earlier, is in the May 1 issue of Newsweek magazine. The caption under the picture reads "Look who came to lunch: Fan-in-Chief Bush with skater Michelle Kwan." (Thanks nautiboy14 !)

Finally, Michelle is mentioned in the April issue of InStyle magazine. probativev posted the following on the MK Forum:

In one of the letters to the editor, someone said they thought the green dress that Michelle wore was gorgeous and wanted to know where to buy it. There is also a funny photo the a model in that green dress but they cut and pasted Michelle's head shot in there. It looks really funny.Apparently it costs over $5,000 by some designer, and is no longer available in greem but is available in other colors.

ros01 later posted that the picture of Michelle is actually the one that was in the February issue. MKSmiral then posted the following in the same thread: (Thanks probativev, ros01, and MKSmiral!)

In addition to the letter & picture mentioned above (which is in the "Mail/Where Can I Find It?" section on page 100), Michelle also appears on page 88 in the Letters to the Editor. There's a picture from the beginning of the "Holiday on Ice" article and a second letter entitled "Michelle, My Belle" thanking In-Style for their article (it's short but sweet).
4/21

Michelle was a guest at the White House's luncheon honoring the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao on April 20, 2006. The lunch took place in the East Room of the White House. Michelle was seated right next to President Bush. She was among the 200 guests at the lunch, which included celebrity chef Ming Tsai. During news clips of the event on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News, the toasts from the presidents were shown from the luncheon, and Michelle was shown quite frequently in these clips. CSPAN also showed coverage of both toasts, and Michelle could also be seen in the footage. heartMK posted on the MK Forum that when CCTV News and Hong Kong TV showed the White House welcome ceremony, they both mentioned Michelle being invited to the luncheon. The Hong Kong reporter said, "Michelle Kwan, the queen of figure skating, is also invited," and the commentator of CCTV News talked about Michelle's international reputation and how famous she is in both US and China. You can also read an article about the luncheon, as well as the list of everyone who attended the luncheon. Also, check out the following pictures of Michelle at the White House Lunch:

I made videos available for download of the news stations showing Michelle at the event. Both are large wmv files, and are uploaded to SendSpace:

4/18

I attended the Philadelphia COI stop on Sunday, April 16. Check out my partial report of the show and backstage, well, basically just about Michelle in the show and backstage. :) I will be adding to the report about the rest of the show and all of backstage in the next day or so. I've also posted my pictures of Michelle in the show (about 130 of them!), as well as all my pictures from backstage after the show. Check them out! I got a lot of good pictures this year, I'm so happy about that! Hopefully I'll upload some pics of the rest of the skaters, though I'm still working on finishing my Nationals pics, so, I can't promise how long that will take, haha.

4/12

At the 2006 Marshalls US Figure Skating International Showcase on Tuesday, Michelle skated two exhibition programs. The first was Fallin', the second was A Song For You. Don't forget to watch Marshalls when it airs on ABC on Saturday! For more information, check out my TV Schedule.

Check out some pictures from the show:

The Inside Edition piece that I wrote about yesterday didn't air on Tuesday. Hopefully they will air it soon!

4/11

LEO59 posted the following on the MK Forum:

COI Skaters on "Inside Edition" 4/11/06

I just wanted to give you the head up on Michelle and the rest of the COI skaters on Inside Edition [on April 11]..The Preview showed them working out and Michelle giving a tour backstage...

Inside Edition is a syndicated show. You can see when and on what station it airs in your area from the show's website. Also, if you go to the show's front page, you'll see the promo for Tuesday's show, which shows Michelle! (Thanks LEO59!)

4/8

Michelle is officially back on the ice! The first stop of the Champions on Ice Tour took place Friday, April 7 in Fort Myers, Florida. As stated earlier, Michelle skated to A Song For You. jesskate posted on the MK Forum with live reports from the arena! Here's what she wrote about Michelle:

Intro:
Michelle was beautiful in the opening. wearing blue and her hair is way long! her intro was to alicia keys i think! it was a blur...i was so excited. she didnt come back out in the group part. i was afraid she was skating first!. she did a beautiful charlotte and y spin. i got all teary eyed!

Program:
she skated beautifully--even w/o the jumps. arena was so quiet! no standing o's tonight. she wore a midnight blue--purplish dress. lyrics very appropriate. i cried...still crying... beautifully choregraphed.

she was announced 5 time world champion. 9 time national champ. americas own Michelle Kwan!

Finale:
finale --she's in white! did a few spirals including her back spiral.. heres the order so far: johnny came out, then gwendal & marina, mk, then b & A. then totm. & marinin. sasha. now music is faster. everyone else out--mk disappeared ! maybe she'll be back.

she came back out to lead the we are the champions part! you know when they go around waving! she looked beautiful ! so happy she closed the show

Check out some pictures from the first show, taken by Tinkerbellskate and suulinglee:

Throughout the tour, you will be able to find pictures and reports on the MKF Central COI reports and photos thread. (Thanks jesskate, Tinkerbellskate, and suulinglee!)
4/7

MichelynB posted on the MK Forum that she was looking at The View's website, and saw that Michelle is going to be on the show on Thursday, April 13! You can check out their site to see see when The View airs in your area. (Thanks MichelynB!)

Another picture of Michelle practicing for COI can be found on the News-press.com gallery that I posted earlier.

4/6

Michelle will be skating to A Song For You, by Natalie Cole, on the Champions on Ice tour this year. Read more about it in Drew Sterwald's News-press.com COI Rehearsals behind the scenes blog. Be sure to scroll down once clicking on the link, since many of the entries mention Michelle!

Be sure to read this great article in the Washington Post, Kwan Is Coming Back Around. It states that, at the moment, Michelle doesn't have any jumps planned for the program, on her doctor's orders. She may add one or two later in the tour, though.

A few more articles, from a Tuesday telephone interview with the AP articles, in which she stated that she hasn't counted out competing in the future, including another Olympics:

Also, check out the following pictures of Michelle at the COI Rehearsal:

4/4

Michelle attended the Lakers game in LA vs San Antonio Spurs on March 30. On Friday, March 31, Access Hollywood showed Michelle at the game! It was a really short clip (less than 1MB), I've uploaded to my site. Check it out! I also made a few screencaps from the clip as well.

Don't forget, Champions on Ice starts on April 7 in Fort Myers, FL! Hopefully we'll get lots of reports and pictures to add from that first show! The show I'm attending is in two weeks, I can't wait!

3/26

Michelle was interviewed during ESPN's Worlds coverage the last two days. The interview was taped about a week ago in LA. On Friday night, during the ladies short program coverage, Michelle briefly talked about young skaters. On Saturday night, during the ladies long program coverage, she talked about the Olympics, that she didn't stick around just for that "one gold medal", that it was tough to be off the ice for 6 weeks during the injury, and that she's not sure what she's going to do about competing in the future. It was short, but it was great to see her again! I made a small video clip of the interview from the Saturday night broadcast, check it out! I also made a few screencaptures from the interview, check them out as well!

A few more pictures of Michelle attending ESPN the weekend in Disney World on March 4, which I posted about earlier:

3/9

Michelle is going to be on Oprah! The NY Post reported the following in the March 8 edition of the paper:

THAT Olympic ice princess Michelle Kwan, who was besieged with interview requests from Larry King to David Letterman after she pulled out of the Winter Games due to an injury, will break her silence to Oprah Winfrey.

When I find the date for the show, I will definitely post it!

Do you want a 2006 Michelle Kwan Calendar from East West Bank (mkjsdp scaned in the calendar here)? The bank generously sent 1000 calendars to distribute to Michelle fans! Originally this was just opened to MK Forum members, but we've now opened it up to all Michelle fans. If you would like to order a calendar, please go to the calendar thread at the MK Forum for more information. The information will be sent to my co-admin at the MK Forum, Grace, who is distributing the calendars.

3/5

A few Michelle sightings! Michelle was at the Lakers Game on February 28 against the Orlando Magic. She was even shown during the Lakers broadcast, and on several south California news stations later that night. Check out a Getty Images picture of her at the game! Here are a few screencaps I made of Michelle on the Lakers broadcast:

Also, on Saturday, March 4, Michelle was at Disney World, for ESPN the Weekend. Disney released this picture of Michelle riding the newest Walt Disney World attraction, Expedition Everest.

I'm so glad Michelle is out there having fun!!

Patty J posted on the MK Forum that East West Bank put out a full page ad in support of Michelle in the Thursday, March 2, Valley edition of the LA Times! The ad contains a picture of Michelle doing a spiral, and it reads, "She'll always be our champion, on the ice and off. Michelle Kwan is not only the most decorated skater in U.S. history, she will forever be known for her courage, integrity and grace. She is a true champion in every sense of the word. At East West Bank we are honored to have her as our spokesperson." It is a beautiful ad, babyoscar took a picture of it, check it out! (Thanks PattyJ and babyoscar!)

Also, East West Bank has an essay contest for students in grades 2-12, where all entrants get a copy of Michelle's autobiography, and the winner gets to meet Michelle! The full page newspaper ad for the contest contains a picture of Michelle. babyoscar took pictures of the ad. One is in Chinese, and the other is in English. For more information, check out Newspapers slate essay-art contest. (Thanks babyoscar!)

People have been asking me if Michelle will be on the Champions on Ice tour this year, which starts April 7. The COI press release about this year's tour says that Michelle will be there. However, remember that the show always says that cast can change due to injury or other circumstances. I figure as long as she's healthy, Michelle will be on tour. If she is healthy, Michelle is also scheduled to skate in the 2006 Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating International Showcase. This event features 2 exhibition programs by each skater, and takes place on April 11 in Greenville, South Carolina. For more information, check out the USFSA press release.

2/26

A few more magazine mentions. In the February 27 issue of Sports Illustrated, Michelle is featured in the "Pop Culture" grid. Check it out. In the actual magazine, there is also a small picture of Michelle holding a flag during the Opening Ceremonies.

Also, in the March 3 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on the Hit List, #2 reads "Michelle Kwan becomes Disney spokeswoman. Disney -- where all your dreams come true! Unlike the Olympics."

2/21

A few magazine mentions. Michelle is on the cover of the February 27 issue of US Weekly. There is an article about her withdrawing from the Olympics on pages 70-71. There is a 2 page spread of this picture from her only practice at the Olympics. There is also a picture from her press conference when she announced she was withdrawing, and a picture of the podium from the 2002 Olympics.

Also, the February 20-26 issue of TV Guide has an article about ladies figure skating. This was written before Michelle withdrew, obviously. There is a nice picture of Spartacus from Worlds, and later on in the magazine, a small picture of Bolero from the 2005 Marshalls competition.

Michelle's agent said the following in the Washington Post:

But this ice queen isn't ready to hang up her skates -- at least, not right now. "What's she's going to be doing hasn't been decided," said Kwan's agent, Shep Goldberg . "Usually in the summer she makes a decision about competing for the next year. She's been doing that since 2002. I suspect this year will be the same."

Not that it's anything new, but I thought I'd post it.

2/17

I wrote earlier about messages that will be sent to Michelle. The deadline is Sunday night. So if you want to send a message to Michelle, get your messages in, either on this MK Forum thread, or if you are not a member, go to the MK Forum's main page, and leave a comment in the first message in the blog.

Hopefully I'll be completely caught up with updating the site in a day or so. I'm getting there!

Some good news! Michelle has signed a multi-year endorsement contract once again with The Walt Disney Company! She will serve as a celebrity representative and spokesperson for businesses across the entire range of The Walt Disney Company. From the press release:

As part of the multiyear agreement, Kwan may participate in advertising, promotions or public service announcements involving all of Disney's businesses, make guest appearances on original programming and personal appearances at live Disney events, and take part in Disney's company-wide initiatives.

"Professionally and personally, Michelle is a true champion. While her magnificent artistry on the ice has been applauded the world over, she also sets the standard for grace and dignity, which truly accounts for her universal appeal," said Matt Ryan, senior vice president, Brand Management, The Walt Disney Company. "We at Disney are honored to be associated with Michelle and know that her unique style and commitment to quality will be enjoyed and appreciated by our audiences everywhere."

Yea! Michelle had two other contracts with Disney in the past. The first contract was from March 1998 to March 2002, and was for a series of TV skating specials. The second contract was from March 2002 to March 2005, and was also for Michelle to serve as spokeswoman and celebrity representative for the company. Some more articles about the deal:

After Michelle withdrew from the Olympics, there was some speculation about the status of her endorsement deals with Coca Cola and Visa, who are both airing commercials featuring Michelle during the games.

Visa said it still planned to air their two commercials with Michelle. One is the 15 second Poetry ad (with Michelle doing a spin during Scheherazade at the 2002 Olympics.) The other includes Michelle in a montage of athletes. Visa's marketing chief, Susanne Lyons, said after a brief discussion following Michelle's withdrawal, Visa executives opted not to substitute other ads. Lyons says. "She embodies the Olympic spirit, even off the ice...Maybe people will look at it with a little bittersweet emotion, but they will enjoy it because it’s a tribute to a beautiful skater."

Coca-Cola has also announced that they still are working with Michelle. They pulled one of their commercials that featured Michelle, which shows Olympic fanatics cheering for Michelle, since she is no longer competing. Susan McDermott, a spokeswoman for company, said, "Given that it’s cheering her on to win, hopefully, and she is not competing, we didn’t think the ad was still relevant." However, they are still airing the "Without Ice" commercial. Michelle is still also featured in store advertising and other materials. A representative from the company responded to a member of the MK Forum, and said, "We feel terrible that Michelle had to withdraw from the Olympics, but in doing so, she has truly demonstrated what it means to live Olympic, which reinforces why we chose Michelle to represent Coca-Cola. It takes a champion to win, but it also takes a champion to know when to step down, and we respect her for her decision."

In the article Kwan still could take gold with sponsors, Michelle's agent, Shep Goldberg, says a gold medal "would have made minimal difference" when it comes to endorsement deals. He also said none of her sponsors had contingencies on winning gold, "She's transcended the sport." He also noted that, a "major" marketer inquired on Monday about a future deal, which could be the Disney deal announced today.

In another article about endorsements, Shep said, "They want Michelle to represent them because of who she is, not because of what color medals she’s won. Michelle’s character, class and integrity is what makes her what she is. There’s no reason why that won’t continue."

There are some very nice articles written about Michelle after the withdrawl in the 2006 Olympics Articles section, so be sure to check them out.

2/15

I know I'm behind in updating, I still have quite a few articles, pics, video, and such to add. I appologize, I'm still in a funk. I'll get with it on the site soon!

I just wanted to post that I will be sending messages to Michelle in a few days. If you are a member at the MK Forum, you can post your message in this thread. If you are not a member, you can go to the MK Forum's main page, and leave a comment in the first message in the blog. That will be printed along with the messages in the thread, and sent to Michelle. I will be doing this within the next few days, so post your message soon!

2/12

I have news that I wish I never had to post here, but Michelle has withdrawn from the Olympics. She strained her groin during her first practice on Saturday. From the press release:

Pain from the injury grew significantly worse Saturday evening. At 2:15 a.m. Sunday, Kwan was evaluated by a U.S. team physician in the Athletes’ Village. Dr. Jim Moeller, M.D., of Detroit, Mich., evaluated Kwan and diagnosed her with a severe groin strain. Shortly afterwards, Kwan decided to withdraw from Olympic competition.

“Taking myself off the team is the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make,” Kwan said, “but it’s the right decision. This injury prevents me from skating my best, and I’ve said all along that if I couldn’t skate to the level that I expected from myself I’d withdraw from the team. The Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world and what's most important is that the United States fields the strongest team possible. As much as I'd love to represent the United States in Torino, I would never stand in the way of that.”

Saturday’s practice took place at 11:20 a.m. At the practice, Kwan injured her right hip adductor while landing a triple flip jump. At the conclusion of her practice, she attended a press conference at 1 p.m. and was feeling discomfort at the time. The injury worsened throughout the evening, and she met with Moeller at 2:15 a.m.

Michelle will have a press conference at 5:30am EST. MSNBC will cover it live, and I'm sure others will as well.

I don't even know what to say, I feel so for Michelle. Michelle, if you ever read this, we love you no matter what.

I had a bunch of stuff to update from Saturday, mostly pictures from yesterday's press conference and practice, but I'm just sitting here in shock right now, I think that'll have to wait until later today or until tomorrow, I hope you understand.

2/11

Some more pictures of Michelle at the Opening Ceremonies:

Michelle was interviewed before the Opening Ceremonies. She was also on several other shows on Friday. I already posted the Today show interview on Friday. Here are the rest of the video clips I made of Michelle all over TV on Friday (all large wmv files and uploaded to megaupload):

There's a TV commercial for Coke with Michelle! During the Opening Ceremony, there was an ad that showed on the screen "Without ice. Apolo would be a speed swimmer. Michelle would be a water skater. And our Coke would be warm." No pictures were shown, but it was clear that you only needed to see the name "Michelle" and know who they were talking about. Hopefully it airs throughout the Olympics! I was only able to get a partial video of it, I'm hoping to catch the full commercial soon. If not, I'll upload the partial one temporarily.

2/10

Michelle is in Torino!

Check out some pictures of Michelle at the Opening Ceremonies! More to come later.

She was interviewed on the Today show on Friday, Feb 10. She looked great! It was a cute interview. I made a clip of it uploaded it to megaupload (clip is about 66MB.) Here are a few screencaps I made from the interview:

Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were on the Today show as well, and said some very nice things about Michelle. I made a clip of it uploaded it to megaupload (clip is about 4MB.)

On yesterday's Today show, they talked about Michelle arriving and Scott Hamilton talked about her in the figure skating preview. I made a clip of it and uploaded it to megaupload (clip is about 22MB.)

Make sure you watch the USA Network show Olympic Ice (check my TV schedule for more information) Tonight. It looks like Michelle will be covered on the first episode!

Kwanfreak posted the following on the MK Forum:

Vote for Michelle on DHL Olympic Spirit Award

I was watching CNN this morning when they did a very short segment on the Olympics and figureskating. Scott Hamilton mentioned that DHL is having a vote for a winner of the Olympic Spirit Award. Thought you guys might be interested in knowing about this.I checked out the website. You have to register in order to vote. You also get a chance to win a sweepstakes award. It looks like you can't vote until the Olympics starts.
The link to register, and more info on the award. (Thanks Kwanfreak!)
2/8

Michelle is one of the nominees to carry the the US flag during the Opening Ceremonies! From USA Today:

Kwan nominated: Skating's nominee to carry the U.S. flag in Friday's opening ceremonies is the last but most visible athlete to make its team, third-time Olympian Michelle Kwan. [John] Baldwin confirmed the unanimous choice Tuesday. He and other U.S. captains meet today to select the flag-bearer.

In the LA Times on February 3, Michelle's agent, Shep Goldberg, said that Michelle hadn't decided whether to attend the Opening Ceremony, and that she probably wouldn't make her travel plans public for security reasons. I guess we'll see soon enough if she marches in the Opening Ceremonies, since Friday is almost here!

Update: Speedskater Chris Witty has been chosen to carry the flag in the opening ceremonies.

Michelle will appear in a new commercial for Visa during the Olympics! On February 7, Visa announced the launch of its first new campaign in 20 years, "Life Takes Visa."

From the press release:

The new campaign employs the theme of empowerment, and reflects Visa's evolution from a top credit card company to the leader in electronic payments, combining worldwide acceptance with a full suite of products that empower cardholders to do what they need to do, want to do and never thought possible.

The campaign debuts this week during NBC's broadcast of the Olympics. The initial 60-second, 30-second and 15-second brand spots will lay the foundation for the campaign, celebrating active participation in life and highlighting both expected and unexpected demonstrations of what it takes to experience life to the fullest, from confidence to determination to tradition to joy.

Beginning February 13, six Olympic-themed television ads will be introduced during broadcast coverage of the Games. Featuring actual competition and training footage of Visa Gold Medal Athletes Emily Cook, Michelle Kwan, Bode Miller and Johnny Spillane, the ads pay tribute to the courage and dedication it takes to compete on a worldwide stage. The 15-second spot "Poetry" shows Michelle Kwan, the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, completing a near-perfect program.

You can watch the commercial on Visa's site. Be sure to watch out for it during the Olympics!

According to a poll of 219 senior-level execs conducted on behalf of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily by Turnkey Sports, Michelle is the Most Marketable U.S. athlete at these Olympic games!

The poll was conducted exclusively online from January 12-20 and surveyed a panel of team owners, senior level managers and other decision-makers from professional and minor sports leagues, college sports, sponsors and broadcasters. Respondents were provided a list of 26 athletes and asked to select, in order, the three most-marketable U.S. Winter Olympians. Members of the men’s hockey team were not included because of an intention to focus on traditional Olympic athletes. Points were awarded on a sliding three-point scale. A first place vote received three points, a second-place vote earned two points, and third place received one point. With a total of 219 responses, the maximum number of points an athlete could earn was 657.

Michelle received 33.3% of the first place votes, with 73 first place votes, 326 total points, and appeared on 137 of the 219 ballots. As a comparison, #2 on the list was Bode Miller, who received 25.6% of the first place votes, with 56 first place votes, 262 total points, and appeared on 119 ballots. Sasha Cohen was #3 on the list, receiving 7.8% of the first place votes, with 17 first place votes, 147 total points, and appeared on 78 ballots.

This is what the article says about Michelle:

SKATE KEY: Kwan nearly missed the opportunity to compete in her third Olympics after she pulled out of the U.S. trials with an injury but was named to the team after convincing U.S. figure skating officials she could perform at her highest level. A high-profile athlete competing in a high-profile event, success in Turin could vault her into the upper echelon of post-Olympic success. She is one of 15 athletes featured in Visa’s Gold Medal athlete program and is the lead Olympian in Coca-Cola’s Turin campaign. Coca-Cola North America VP/Media, Sports & Entertainment Beatriz Perez cited company research that ranked Kwan as one of the top three favorite sports or sports personalities, along with the Olympics and Lance Armstrong. Perez: “She was a perfect choice to represent Coca-Cola.” Kwan also has a deal with East-West Bank, among others. In the past, she has appeared in ads for got milk?, ESPN, McDonald’s and Starbucks. Pickett Advertising Exec Creative Dir Bob Dorfman: “When you add up appearance fees, tour earnings, book deals and product endorsements, Kwan’s golden figure eights are easily worth eight figures over the course of her career.”

I wrote earlier about Michelle appearing in Flipsyde's "Someday" video and Olympic commercial on NBC. There are several versions of the video, you can see them all in the NBC page of my endorsements section. You can also watch the one minute version of the commercial in streaming video and download the full video for free on iTunes! There is even a small ad for the video, with a picture of Michelle, when you go to iTunes, check it out!

Finally, karuna_dreamer posted some screencaps from the Someday video, check them out!

I posted earlier that Michelle is in the February 13, 2006 issue of US Weekly. TwinnerA sent me a scan of the 2 page spread, and I edited the Michelle part together from the two pages and uploaded it. Check it out! (Thanks TwinnerA!)

AMAubert posted on the MK Forum that Michelle was a Jeopardy question once again! She has been a question or answer at least eight times now on the show! On February 6, the category was "US Winter Olympians." The second question showed a picture of Michelle doing a spiral in the coral Tosca costume, and asked who won the silver in 98 and bronze in 02 in ladies skating. The first contestant who buzzed in knew the correct answer, Michelle. (Thanks AMAubert!)

There is a nice slideshow on MSNBC's site called "Kwan's Gold Hope" that you can watch. Check it out!

I poster earlier about The Insider doing a piece on Michelle on January 31. They didn't show much more than they did in the promo for the show that I uploaded and posted earlier. I still made the clip of the show, and uploaded it to megaupload (it's about 7MB, wmv file.)

In other TV mentions there is a nice commercial for the USA Network show Olympic Ice, which will air starting Friday throughout the Olympics (check my TV schedule for more information.) Michelle is shown a lot in the commercial. I made a clip of it and uploaded it to megaupload. You can also check out USA Network's Olympic site, which has a nice picture of Michelle.

Finally, this past Friday's Ice Diaries episode was the leadup to Nationals. Towards the end of the episode, they talked about Michelle withdrawing from Nationals, and what it meant for how many spots were really up for grabs, etc. They show a lot of nice clips of Michelle, and Helene Elliott talks a bit about Michelle deserving to go (this was before her test skate, of course.) I made a video clip of it and uploaded it to megaupload. It's about 12MB and a large wmv file.

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Fumbilicious and TwinnerA posted on the MK Forum that Michelle is in the February 13, 2006 issue of US Weekly! In fact, her picture is on the cover. Check it out! The article is a two page spread of the 3 US ladies going to the Olympics. (Thanks Fumbilicious and TwinnerA!)

Also, the Olympic Preview issue of Sports Illustrated, dated February 6, came in the mail today. The only picture of Michelle is the one of her waving after Bolero at 2005 Nationals, which same one they used in the January 23 issue that I mentioned earlier, except the photo is much larger in this issue than last time. This is in the "5 minute guide" section, which says about Michelle "HOW WILL MICHELLE KWAN FARE? Her free pass onto the U.S. team after an injury-plagued season puts her under extreme pressure to justify her selection. Winning a medal would be a crowning feat." It seems like the magazine is pretty much counting her out. Though under their medal picks for ladies skating, it says "Japan's Mao Asada, 15, who would be favored but is too young to compete won't be there, but Michelle Kwan will -- and don't count her out."

CCheck out past news from Dec 07 to Jan 09, Sept 06 to Oct 07, Feb 06 to July 06, June 05 to Jan 06, Jan 05 to May 05, April 04 to Dec 04, Sept 03 to March 04, April 03 to Aug 03, and older

Last Updated September 8, 2006

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Photo Jay Adeff