The year is 1987 a diminutive Michelle Kwan is just 7 years old
but it is apparent in this amateur video she skates like a champion.
When I was young I always wanted to be a legend, you know leave
a little mark in skating.
VO: She surely
left a mark on Derek James he was Michelle's coach during these
Derek James: You
could see she had the opportunity and the chance to go all of the
VO: James said
that from the moment he met Michelle Kwan here at the Skater's Edge
in Torrence California, she was almost the perfect student. And
that's because, according to him, she had total concentration.
DJ: She's a little
bit like a sponge. I told her something, and she absorbed it.
VO: James convinced
Kwan's dad Danny to push Michelle to practice more as much as 6
hours a day, 6 days a week. And these are the results. A 7 year
old who landed difficult jumps with precision. A 7 year old who's
routines blended power and grace. And this photo from her new book
shows Michelle with one of her many trophies. Michelle took James'
advice, the world took notice and she eventually got sponsored,
moving into a training facility at Lake Arrowhead California. Now
this former student is tuning up for next week's Olympic competition
and he can't help but feel responsible for her success.
DJ: I hope so,
I hope she feels the same way.
VO: There is certainly
one thing Michelle feels...confident.
MK: I enjoy skating,
I enjoy competing and, I don't think anything could stop me! (laughs)
This is what I've always dreamed of and everything's coming true.
A grown up Michelle graces the cover
of next week's People Magazine. Kwan appears along with Olympic
teammates Tara Lipinski and Nicole Bobek. The cover headline reads:
'You Go Girls!'
to a real audio clip of the piece.
thanks to Grace
for this transcript and the audio clip!
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Photo © Jay Adeff