and thanks for joining us, Michelle Kwan.
Thank you for having me this evening. I welcome all questions you
may have. I will try to answer as many as possible.
it is, our first audience question:
age did you start skating?
I started skating when I was 5 years old. My sister and I watched
my brother play hockey at a mall that had a rink in it. And one
day we decided to skate.
Ms. Kwan! What did you do the night that you won the 2nd place?
After the medal ceremony, I went to the hotel and stayed in my room
and talked to my parents for a while. I had to get myself together.
I was disappointed and I just needed time alone. Time to reflect
do you plan to stay eligible after 2002? Where do you see yourself
in 10 years?
I haven't decided, I haven't looked past 2002. I'm staying eligible
as long as I'm competing, and have no idea what I will be doing
in 10 years. Hopefully I will be commentating. Maybe I'll be married?
do you have such a positive attitude? I usually don't have one.
I think it all goes back to my parents and my upbringing. It's hard
sometimes. I'm not always happy. I do have tough times. You sort
of have to look at everything in a positive way. That, I find, helps
me get through those tough times.
do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
The 1998 National Championship, my biggest accomplishment. Before
the Nationals I had an injury and was afraid I wouldn't have myself
ready by then. I was able to get myself together mentally and physically.
I feel I skated the best program of my life.
your book about?
My book is about setting and reaching goals, not just in skating,
but anything you do in your life.
inspired you to write this book?
You see so many books out there, but none for young girls. When
they approached me to write a book, I wanted to help younger kids.
I wanted to help them reach their dreams and make them reality through
hard work. In the book I tell them the steps they need to take to
make them happen.
do keep yourself so concentrated and do so good when you skate?
I really commend you!
Thanks! I am so used to focusing on the task at hand, not letting
the distractions around me bother me. They always talk about the
zone and now that I'm an athlete, I feel that there is a zone that
you have to enter...
Michelle! How do you enjoy college life, and how do you think you
can manage to balance practice and competitions with schoolwork?
Finishing up the last question... a zone you must enter before you
Good question! My school starts Thursday. My coach and I are trying
to figure out a good schedule that will allow me to juggle practice
and homework. Right now the plan is to skate in the early morning
and take classes late in the afternoon.
Michelle, Adam here... figure skating clearly demands many years
of intense training, but how important is a skater's mental attitude
in determining success, ultimately?
I think at this point of competing for so many years, I believe
it's more of a mental game than it is physical. The key I think
is to stay positive, and I think to anybody is to believe in yourself.
did you decide to write a book?
I really felt there were no motivational books for young girls.
There definitely needs to be one or more of them. Lots of young
girls have many role models. Role models don't explain the steps
which they took to reach their success....
Michelle! What is the most memorable thing that has been sent to
you? (Fan book, Christmas ornament, etc.) From: Jamie.
Finishing the last one... this book takes the readers through those
steps. I did once receive a memory scrapbook that had the music
I skated to, pictures of all my costumes and kind of like a history
of all my skating competitions. The memorable thing that has been
sent to me was a scrapbook of all my programs.
Michelle, Adam here... is it possible for a figure skater to have
fun while performing at the Olympics, or is the stress of competition
too overwhelming to enjoy yourself until it's over?
I think, during my performance, there is a lot of pressure and a
lot of things to do at the moment, but still it's fun. I might not
be smiling, but focusing. I don't think it's getting on top of the
podium that's so important, it's the process of getting there. It
wouldn't be worth it if it was only 4 minutes of happiness.
Michelle! You are a wonderful skater, and you always amaze me by
continuously [striving] to improve yourself. Is there anything new
we can expect to see this coming season? -- Heather. :-)
I will be skating pairs... just kidding! There are a lot of things
I need to improve, I think. Challenging myself with triple-triple
and to continue to push the envelope. Someday I will have a triple
axel. I hope!
Michelle, Adam here... although you obviously are thrilled when
you win a competition, how do you handle those times when you don't
finish as high as you might have hoped?
Just knowing how much more I can achieve, and improve as well. It
keeps me pretty well balanced when I don't win. No one can win all
there have been rumors that you will turn pro after Worlds. Is this
Absolutely not true!
Michelle, I'm a webmaster of a site about you, "Jamie's Michelle
Kwan Page," and I was wondering if it is scary to go online and
see everyone praising you like a "god.” :o)
First of all, I don't think of myself as a god, so it's not scary.
Second, I really enjoy interacting with my fans and skating fans
in general. I find the comments interesting... usually.
Question: Do you
think the media portrayed the "rivalry" between you and Tara incorrectly?
Are you friends with her?
It seems like the media portrays that you are enemies hating each
other, but that's not true at all. We respect each other. We are
both very competitive. And it was fun for me to compete [against]
such a great skater. I know that she helped me bring out the best
in me as a skater, and I hope I did the same thing for her.
you always appear so poised and peaceful when you skate. What are
the qualities which you attribute to your own "winning attitude"?
I guess surrounding myself with friends and family and knowing that
people support me through good times and bad. I always have to remind
myself that I am skating for the fun of it and because I love it.
how does it feel to be so loved by so many fans and knowing that
a lot of young girls/boys have been inspired by you?
I'm honored. I only hope that I can be a good role model and make
a difference in their lives.
is time for one more question.
Question: I think
you're a great role model, and I'm 24. Do you think it's odd that
some people who look up to you are older than you are?
Good question! If you find good in people, it doesn't matter what
age they are. I admire a lot of younger skaters myself, those who
can step on the ice with a big smile. Gosh, the half-hour has really
gone by quickly.
you so much for joining us, Michelle.
I really enjoyed this time with you this evening. Thanks for coming
online to talk to me. I hope we can do it again. Keep your fingers
crossed for me this year.
thanks to Kimberly
for this transcript!
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Photo © Jay Adeff