Michelle had an online chat on ESPN/ABCsports.com prior to ABC's airing of Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary Special later that day. The chat was pretty short, lasting less than thirty minutes.

Moderator:
Michelle is running a couple of minutes late. She'll be joining us shortly. Thanks.

Michelle Kwan:
Hi everyone, I'm here and ready for your questions.

Question:
What sort of excercise and healthy eating routine to you stick with to stay in such fantastic shape...especially over the summer?

Michelle Kwan:
I like to run. I run about three miles three days a week. I also skate all summer. My eating habits are usually the same. I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and drinks lots of water. My weakness is candy, su everything in proportion.

Question:
Hi Michelle,
My question is, Will you train a few months prior to the Olympics at a rink at a higher altitude to adjust to the high altitude in SLC?

Michelle Kwan:
I usually train up at Lake Arrowhead on the weekends, where the altitude is about 5,500 feet. So I will be doing high-altitude training. I used to live up there, so I'm used to the altitude.

Question:
We know your father played an important role in your skating career. What role did your mother played in your success? And how much influence they had in your decision of going to college?

Michelle Kwan:
My parents have always believed in education, because skating will only take me so far in my life. Education will help me appreciate things beyond the norm.

My mom is different in helping me. She helps me a lot mentally, and has been very supportive. She actually doesn't understand the jumps in the skating, but she understands the mood of skating, and can read my body very well.

Question:
Hi Michelle-
I just wanted to know how you are enjoying UCLA and ask what you are studying there and what you would like to do when you are done figure skating? Thanks.

Michelle Kwan:
I love UCLA. It's a lot of fun. It keeps me very busy during the season, and it's also a great distraction. It's hard to think about skating 24 hours a day. I'm meeting a lot of fun and interesting people.

I haven't really decided on a major yet. I'm still undecided. There are so many opportunities that have been opened to me through skating, and I'd like to try everything out: commentating would be fun.

Question:
Much of your success has come on Wide World of Sports. How difficult is it to perform at such a high level on that grand a stage?

Michelle Kwan:
You don't think about it at the time. You realize there are thousands of people watching you in the stands, but not millions of people on TV. After performing for so many years, you get used to it.

Question:
We hear Brian Boitano is retiring from the Champions On Ice tour. Tell us about touring with Brian.

Michelle Kwan:
Touring with Brian has been a blast. Last night we had a presentation for him at the end of the San Jose show. It was sad, because I've toured with him for so many years. He's been an inspiration and a mentor, and I'm glad to say he's a close friend.
Touring brings people brings people very close together, and I've gotten to know him real well. I never dreamed I'd become friends with my role model, but here I am, sharing the same ice with him, and it's been great.

Question:
The media have placed you as one of the sport's all-time greats, and rightfully so. Do you consider yourself to be on par with people like Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill?

Michelle Kwan:
It's hard for me to compare myself with them, because they're such legends in figure skating. I hope one day that I'll be part of that elite group. Right now, it's amazing for me to do the things I've been able to do in skating. And hopefully I can continue to push the envelope further to where I've gone.

Question:
Michelle, so many of us have been watching you skate since you were 12! Now you are almost 21. What do you think is the most important thing that you have learned during all these years in the public eye of the sport?

Michelle Kwan:
There are so many things I've learned, growing up in front of an audience and in front of people. One thing I've learned from the beginning was to be myself.

I've had so many ups and downs in my career, call it growing pains. I've had a wonderful, supporting family. I've learned to keep fighting, because I realize that I'm only in a sport, and that's all it is. I'm supposed to enjoy myself, and I do.

Michelle Kwan: Hope you all keep watching my skating, and that you'll be rooting for me at the Olympics in 2002.


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Photo Jay Adeff