Ernie Johnson, host
of the Goodwill Games for TNT, was joined by Skippy, a kangaroo
that's a "national hero" in Australia, and has it's own show. They
equated it with Lassie in the US.
(continually feeding kangaroo throughout interview) Welcome
back to the Goodwill Games, and I'm joined by Michelle Kwan, and
we're joined by--
EJ: --the bush
kangaroo, who's just a national hero here.
MK: No one's
EJ: Yeah, and
he just wants to eat nonstop so as we talk about the Goodwill Games,
Michelle, we'll just kind of spend some time with Skippy here too.
You just got into town yesterday, and I know from last week's experience
when you get here you try to stay up late that first night, get
yourself acclimated. How ya feeling on day two now?
MK: Oh, I'm
feeling better. I actually slept pretty good last night and yesterday
I had a practice in the afternoon. I just wanted to, you know, go
out there and skate a little bit and man, my eyes were just closing
on me, and I was thinking come on, stay up, stay up! I actually
made it to 9:00 so that was pretty decent.
EJ: You feel
good about being ready physically for the competition that begins
MK: It's early
in the season for us, and you know at this point (clip of Sunday
practice doing triple toe/double toe in black pants and red halter
begins) I'm really happy where I'm at, um, I'm debuting my new
program, my new long program for the uh..(kind of stumbles over
her words here)
EJ: Salt Lake
MK: For Salt
Lake City, so, should be good.
EJ: Tell me
about the choreographer switch though, (end clip of Michelle
practicing) and I'm not gonna pretend like I'm an insider in
the world of figure skating, but in the summer, before the Olympics,
you switch choreographers. Is that dangerous at all and uh, do you
wonder if this was the right decision at this point in your career?
MK: Well, I
worked with Frank who's my coach, um, and we've worked together
for 10 years, so it's nothing that I haven't done before, um and
also Sarah Kawahara is also helping me with my long program, and
I don't know what you can call "dangerous" because right now at
this point I feel that I'm capable of doing other things, challenging
myself, um by myself, and from Frank also, so we're working together
EJ: You know
what, you're only 21 years old, and it seems like you've been around
forever. We saw you in St. Petersburg at the age of 14 at the Goodwill
Games. How do you think, when you think back to that performance,
you're on a world stage, how have you changed, how have you grown,
uh, as a skater, and handling the uh, I guess mental demands of
the sport too?
MK: Well the
first Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, um it was my first big competition
against great skaters, and it seemed like a millions of years, millions
of years ago since then, and I've done a lot since then, and you
know, it's...I've had a wonderful skating career and you know, it's
just all about challenging myself and getting better and improving
EJ: Driven by
that desire for a gold medal, silver you had in Nagano?
MK: Oh yes
(with emphasis!) um, gold is always on my mind but, you know,
since Nagano I know that gold isn't everything, that all...that
I can just challenge myself and just have fun with it because it's
once in a lifetime and uh...(laughs at kangaroo, who had obviously
been doing something distracting while Michelle was trying to talk.)
EJ: He's a little
frisky, but I know, I know where you're going from it, I know that's
out there as something in your career that will complete things
after World Championships and National titles
MK: It de- It'd
be definitely like the cherry on top of the perfect sundae (makes
motion of putting cherry on a sundae), is what I can say. (smiles)
EJ: You know,
we're giving obviously a big flavor, an Australian flavor here,
and I know yesterday when you checked in (start clip of her "koala
experience") immediately you had the koala experience and I
MK: And the
EJ: We have
some video of the uh, koala
experience (Michelle laughs) you had there. Now did you
just pat him, or did you let him climb on you at all?
MK: They wouldn't
EJ: Oh really?
MK: No, because
he was a little frightened at that time.
EJ: Well, that
rule wasn't in effect earlier in the day here and uh, (clip shown
of Ernie holding koala), and this is what happened moments ago...
MK: Ahh! Oh
I'm jealous (laughs, and he says something I couldn't catch)
EJ: Oh well,
you saw the nails on that thing...
MK: Oh yeah...
EJ: They were
digging in and uh, the smell isn't the best in the world, and you
saw I had like a red shirt on there, and I've changed to the gold
at this point.
MK: And I can
tell you have to change your pants (in reference to the kangaroo
sitting on his lap, and she says something I couldn't catch as they
both dissolve into laughter)
I don't even want to know why I have to change my pants and I'm
not gonna look for it now, but Skippy, thank you very much and look
what else, we had uh, Peter (someone, couldn't catch the last name)
the uh, Premiere of Queensland (points to plate of seafood)--
by and uh, and you really can help yourself when we, when we go
to break but uh, this is excellent training food, we've got the
big old prongs there, and have you tried the bay bugs? (Michelle
is eyeing the food as a joke.)
MK: No, I haven't.
EJ: Just like
lobster over there on the uh, on the far end of it (Michelle
pokes lobster) and uh somehow, somehow also the wine, the Queensland
wine, made it past our crew which is a little bit mystifying but
I won't be having any wine before I skate!
EJ: I, I know
that full well, and I sure appreciate you...I'm not going to shake
MK: Yeah, I'd
EJ: I've been
having Skippy eating off it, but thanks a lot for stopping by, and
it's great to see you, wish you the best here.
MK: Thank you.
Kwan joining us here at Breaka Beach with me and Skippy, we're gonna
bid Skippy adieu, I think he's reached his absolute maximum.
MK: Eat some
EJ: Yeah, these
uh, teddy grahams.
MK: He's gotta
EJ: The last
teddy grahams of the bowl, sorry pal, All right Michelle, good luck.
MK: Thank you.
EJ: Figure skating
which begins Wednesday here at the Goodwill Games, we'll be back
with more from Brisbane in just a minute.
When he came back
he made a comment about Michelle being right that he had to change
thanks to Kimberly for this transcript!
Screen shots courtesy of Karen.
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Photo © Jay Adeff