--The following is from the opening of the show--

Announcer: It was supposed to be her year. In her first time in prime time interview since the Olympics, Michelle Kwan talks about that night in Salt Lake City

Michelle Kwan: (With tears on her face) At one point, I remember the fans just clapping and cheering me on. And, (Wipes away tears) I’m still very emotional. (Smiles)

Announcer: So, will she try again?

MK: Who knows what will happen in Italy in 2006?

Jane Pauley: Yea, you know. (Michelle laughs)

--The following is from just before the commercial break prior to her interview--

JP: When you skated off the ice and met your father, you said “Daddy, I didn't quit.” What did you mean by that when you said that?

Announcer: For the first time in prime time, Michelle Kwan on the gold that got away. When “After the Goldrush” continues after this message from your local stations.


Announcer: Our Dateline special "After the Goldrush” continues. Here again is Jane Pauley.

JP: (Standing in front of Rockefeller skating rink.) Before an athlete become an international celebrity, she has to be a champion. Before that, thousands of lonely hours training. And, for a skater, thousands of falls, too. It would be hard to find an athlete more dedicated, harder working, than Michelle Kwan -- a champion many times over. She arrived in Salt Lake City arguably the best female skater in history. But when she left, her medal was bronze, not gold. Tonight, Michelle Kwan in her first prime time interview since the games.

--Cut to the interview--

MK: (Michelle is wearing a green/blue-ish shirt, with a frilly neckline. Her hair is down.) A lot of people the last few days have come up to me because they know how much I wanted to win. And they don't know what to say to me, you know. Whether to congratulate me for winning the bronze or...

JP: What's the right thing to say to you, then?

MK:Just...that "You made us proud," and that they know that...I skated my heart out. And that's all that matters.

Announcer from COI announces “Michelle Kwan!” A clip of her skating to This Time Around on tour last year is shown.

JP: Michelle Kwan skates with her heart. It's her passion and artistry above all that has made her the most decorated figure skater America has ever produced. In her 10 year career, the only prize that has alluded her was the one she’s wanted most, ever since she was the 7 year old girl, watching the 1988 winter games.

MK: When I watched Brian Boitano win the gold, I’m like, “I want to be there.” He had a sense of freedom, a sense of joy and passion for the sport. (A closeup during her end pose of Lyra Angelica at ‘98 Nationals is shown) And that’s what I feel. I feel that there's so much love, so much enjoyment.

JP: (A clip of a young Michelle practicing at Lake Arrowhead is shown) Michelle made her Olympic debut at 13 as an alternate in 1994, when the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan soap opera dominated the games. (A clip from Rachmaninoff at the 1998 Olympics is shown) Four years later, a 17 year old Michelle arrived at Nagano, Japan. Then as now, Michelle Kwan was the favorite to win. She skated a clean program, only to see a 15 year old Tara Lipinski snatch the gold medal. Kwan settled for silver.

MK: My dad always reminds me, "The ice is very slippery, be careful" (Laughs)

JP: (A clip of Michelle doing a layback during an Olympic practice is shown) Everybody slips sometimes, but Michelle Kwan slips less often than most. She has posted more perfect sixes in competition than anyone in history. (During the next sentence, they show a picture of Michelle with her gold medal at ‘96 Nationals, ‘99 Nationals, ‘01 Worlds, and ‘00 Nationals) She's won six National and four World championships. (More clips from Olympics practices) Arriving in Salt Lake, she was the strong favorite to win. And the crowds let her know it. (They show Michelle getting on the ice, and the audience cheering, before Rachmaninoff at this year’s Olympics)

MK: I got on the ice, and I looked up, and they were standing on their feet. It's like, "OK, concentrate, Michelle." (Laughs) I see the American flags waving, and it's just (shakes her head) incredible.

JP: (Landing her triple flip and her smiling at the end of Rachmaninoff is shown) Kwan skated flawlessly and was in first place going into the long program. (A clip of Sarah skating onto the ice for the long program is shown.) Then history began to repeat itself when another American teenager stepped onto the ice.

MK: I remember the first time I met Sarah. It was at a restaurant. My family and I were having dinner. And this little girl comes up...and she came up and she’s like, “Can I have your autograph?”

JP: Does Sarah skate with that same kind of thing that Brian Boitano had? That you have?

MK: Sarah has a fire in her, and she skated the most amazing program.

JP: The judges, and the crowd, agreed. Sarah Hughes performance was spectacular. The drama builds.

They show the doors Michelle was waiting behind, before skating her long program at the Olympics, with the announcer saying “Michelle...behind those doors.”

JP: They cut to those silver doors, closed. Michelle is behind there. What were you doing behind those closed doors?

MK: I had a lot time after the 6 minute warmup. And, I mean, it is difficult, because you hear the marks of the other skater’s. You hear the audience applauding.

JP: (The beginning of Scheherazade at the Olympics is shown.) Now, skating under the pressure of the worlds expectations, not to mention her own.

MK: I dedicated 15 years to my skating. (Pictures from Scheherazade, or a pose and layback, at the Olympics are shown) And I couldn’t have worked harder. I couldn’t have been any more prepared. And felt like, “OK, go out there, and just skate Michelle, and skate. Skate for everybody. Skate for yourself.”

JP: (Clips from Scheherazade at the Olympics is shown.) And she skated with fire and intensity. And for a few moments, her dream of a gold medal was so close, she could almost touch it. And then... (they show her falling) Do you know what went wrong? Do you know why you didn’t hit it?

MK: Well, there was a lot of things that went wrong. I think I was rushing it a little too much in the set up. I could see it, it’s... I was on the ice yesterday. Just, I did it and didn’t miss one. (They show her skating off the ice, and then hugging her dad after Scheherazade.)

JP: When you skated off the ice and met your father, who was waiting there for you. You said “Daddy I didn't quit.” (Michelle is tearing up, and pushes her hair behind her ear) I think those three words were loaded with meaning.

MK: Well, (wiping tears away) the four minutes are pretty intense when you are out on the ice. And you have a lot of time to think. And, um, you know, when I made a mistake early on in the program, I could have easily have jumped out of the performance, and uh, could have made a lot more mistakes.

JP: (They have the camera on Jane, but you can still see Michelle wiping away her tears) But at the moment, you demonstrated for everyone your character. The rest of your skate was about character, wasn’t it?

MK: In the middle of my performance, I knew I had to be perfect, and, uh, I knew it was, like slipping out of my hands. And I knew it wasn’t going to be the dream performance that I’ve always...visualized. And it was hard. When I got off the ice, I said, I’m proud of myself, because I didn’t quit in the performance.

JP: (They show a picture of Michelle and her dad in the kiss and cry at Nationals.) Do you have any regrets?

MK: My dad said, “Never have any regrets.” And, for me right now, I have no regrets.

JP: (They show Michelle being announced as during the medal ceremony, with the commentator saying “This can’t be easy for Michelle.”) But afterwards, the second guessing. Was she right to fire her coach only a few months before the games. (A clip of the podium is shown) Was the pressure to be perfect too much to bear? (The show a closeup of Michelle on the podium.)

MK: I think I slept about 30 minutes after the long program. Just, because, it...you can replay the performance in your head over and over. And, it’s hard, because you say, “what if, what if, what if?” (Rests her head in her hand)

JP: (They show the cover of Michelle’s book, The Winning Attitude) Michelle might take a page from her own book, The Winning Attitude. Michelle Kwan said in her book, (Michelle laughs) remember your successes.

MK: (Smiling) Can you read it to me please? (She and Jane laugh, and Michelle squeezes the pillow she’s holding) It’s, it’s true. And my dad, this past week, has been telling me, you know, skating has been good to you. And I know that, deep inside I know that. (They show a picture of a young Michelle, sitting her in room) But, it’s just disappointing sometimes when you have this one dream, to win the Olympic gold, (They show a picture of Michelle on the 2000 Nationals podium) to stand on top of the podium, and uh, (starting to get choked up while talking) you’re so close to it, and it doesn’t come true. (They show a clip of Michelle bowing after Scheherazade at the Olympics, with Scott Hamilton saying “It wasn’t perfect, but it was courageous”)

JP: She’s only 21. Her dream might yet come true. Though, Michelle Kwan has been a competitor so long, some think she must be too old to keep skating.

MK: “How old are you? You’re still amateur, you’re still competing, you’re going to the Olympics? I thought you were like 33 or something?” (Michelle and Jane laugh) And I’m thinking to myself, you know, if I stay in for another 4 years, then they’ll think I’m, like, 40 or something. (Laughs)

JP: (A clip of Michelle warming up backstage is shown) What everybody wants to know, will Michelle Kwan compete at the Olympics again in 2006?

MK: It’s hard to commit yourself to 4 years, but, I’m taking gradual steps. Just take my time, and, uh, see where it leads me, because...

JP: OK, I’m not going to ask you for a commitment, but...you leaning more for, or, more not?

MK: Right in the middle. (Laughs)

JP: (A clip from Fields of Gold at the Olympics is shown for the rest of the interview) She intends to keep her eligibility. But, it’s possible that the exhibition skate at Salt Lake was Michelle Kwan’s last appearance on Olympics ice.

MK: The crowd was so supportive, so loving, and it was amazing. And, in the middle of my performance, I started crying, because I can...there was so many emotions, you know? I love skating because it’s such a beautiful sport, so soothing, so comforting. That night I felt like, this is why I love it, this is why I’m here. (They end showing Michelle’s tear stained face in the end pose, and then smiling)

--Back to Jane, standing in front of the ice rink--

JP: After her disappointment 4 years ago in Nagano, Michelle skated to a World Championship one week later. Two weeks from now, she returns to Nagano, to defend her fourth world championship.

Screen shots courtesy of Grace. A few others: pic #1, pic #2, and pic #3

Watch a real video clip of the interview, courtesy of Moyesii!

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