Earlier in the show, when he was announcing who would be on, Jay said ďthe lovely Michelle Kwan.Ē After the commercial break from the previous interview, this picture of Michelle doing a sit spin during Fields of Gold at the Olympics is shown on the screen, with the Tonight Showís title on the left hand side of the picture

Jay Leno: All righty. Hey! My next guest, one of the greatest Olympic figure skaters of all time. She has two medals -- a silver and a bronze. Take a look at her performing in Salt Lake City. (A clip of the final spin and end pose from Scheherazade at the Olympics is shown) Please welcome Michelle Kwan!

Michelle walks out, waving, in a long black dress. Her hair is down. On the big screen that she passes while walking out, there is a collage of pictures from her career: Landing during Salome, carrying the torch, Dream of Desdemona stare (black dress), and two practice pictures. The audience is standing. She walks over to Jay, and they hug.

JL: Have a seat. How are you doing?

Michelle Kwan: I doing OK, Iím doing OK

JL: Youíre doing great, youíre great. I think your great.

MK: (Michelle looks a little embarrassed and laughs) Aww.

JL: I think youíve handled everything with class. And, you know what, this whole thing, youíve looked like. Whatís the strange part, is there a strange part to this?

MK: Well, coming home, people donít know what to say to me. They come up, and they donít know whether to congratulate me, or (makes a hugging motion) you know, say, ďitís OKĒ, you know. And, itís hard, because for me, itís very disappointing. I didnít have the dream skate that Iíve always imagined...

JL: Yea

MK: You know, skating. And, victory, and winning the gold. And, um...

JL: But, see, I contend you did, because, the character you showed -- you fall, you get up -- thereís no. You keep doing it. Youíre a champ. And the character is what really comes through. I mean, itíd be great to win the gold, thatís cool... (Audience cheers and applauds. Michelle laughs. Jay, and the first guest, Chris Tucker, applaud.) But itís the character that really does it. I mean, itís really true, you know. Cause I think, we are all sort of ambassadors for our country, you know. When people act childishly, and you see athletes behave foolishly or do something selfish, and yet you just were a champ. And, so, to me, I go, you know what I think? I think you are just going to have the matched set. Next time, youíll have (counts on fingers) gold, silver...youíll have the whole matched set

MK: The whole cycle. Yea, exactly. (An audience member screams. Michelle laughs) That would be nice. That would be nice. Take one thing at a time, and...

JL: Now, what happened? I heard Dorothy Hamill gave you something. You know what Iím talking about?

MK: Yea, well, after the medal ceremony, I had the bronze medal around my neck.

JL: Yea

MK: And I spoke to Dorothy. And there was a stuffed animal in the, in the dressing room. And she took the stuffed animal, took the medal -- there was like a plastic gold medal -- and she gave it to me (Michelle mimes putting a medal around someoneís neck)

JL: Oh, thatís nice.

MK: And sheís like, this is not as good as the real one, (Michelleís laughing) but, here you go. And, it was a touching moment for me. It sort of, uh, made things lighter, you know. (Michelle has tears in her eyes when she tells this story)

JL: Yea.

MK: Yea.

JL: Well, friendship is a great thing. I mean, you know what I mean? Sometimes, when most things happen, you really find out the reasons why people love you. And thatís great, you know? If youíre like a self-centered person, you know, youíre not. They love you, and people like you. And thatís whatís great.

MK: People are rooting for me.

JL: Now, (Audience cheers and applauds. Michelle laughs.) Now, I heard in fact, I was talking to...who that guy back stage, is that your manager? That gentleman?

MK: Yes

JL: He said, ďYou know, she really doesnít like the cold weather.Ē And I said, ďWhat?Ē How can you be an ice skater and not like -- (Audience laughs)

MK: I know! How can I be an ice skater? I should have picked a much warmer sport. For sure.

JL: How?

MK: Yea, I know. I always say, if youíre starting skating, this is the advice I give you...donít borrow gloves. Because, you borrow someoneís gloves, itís like, (Makes a motion like sheís wiping her nose, and then shakes her hand) you donít know where itís been. (Audience laughs)

JL: Oh, I see. Itís the old, uh (Jay makes the same motion with his arm) And, really, whatís more beautiful that in that in figure skating?

MK: I know, exactly. (Audience laughs)

JL: Kind of changing the whole image of it, (Michelle laughs) in my mind now.

MK: You have the rhinestones, beautiful costumes (Sniffs and makes the motion with her arm again)

JL: Yea.

MK: (Gracefully makes the motion with her arm again) So, if I have a movement suddenly like this, now you know why. (Audience laughs)

JL: You know, we have someone whoís in love with you. Ross our intern. (Michelle gasps) Heís in love with you. Heís --

MK: (Laughs) Where is he?!?

JL: I think he was trying to track you. Didnít he bump into you or something?

MK: Yes, uh, yes, I saw him (Jay laughs) at the Olympics.

JL: Was he annoying? You can be honest

MK: He was, (Gasps and puts her hands by her face, with fingers extended) Michelle!! Well, maybe a little more, but...

JL: (Laughs) A little more?

MK: A little more that that, but it was sweet.

JL: Now, was your boyfriend jealous...now, your boyfriend is a hockey player, right?

MK: He is a hockey player

JL: Now, was he jealous of Rossís advances?

MK: Yea, a little bit.

JL: Yea?

MK: He wasnít there, so it was OK.

JL: OK. You know what I want to ask you about? Was it in the exhibition match where you and Sasha Cohen, you... (Jay hits his fists together)

MK: Actually, it was at the National Championships

JL: The National Championships!

MK: Yea, it was in the Staples Center

JL: OK, you guys bumped each other. What was that? Was that like...

MK: We bumped into each other twice. And I had...I skated first. So, it was pretty intense. You have a six minute warmup, and, um, you try to get all your jumps in. And youíre really focused.

JL: Yea

MK: And, you know, itís crazy out then. And we (Hits her two hands together) collided twice.

JL: But, was it an accident? Or does it happen?

MK: I hope so, yes. (Laughs) But, you know, my boyfriend plays hockey.

JL: Yes

MK: So, Brad told me, ďOK, if anything happens and itís not on accident...itís on purpose...then Iíll teach you how to cross-check.Ē (Audience laughs)

JL: Oh, there you go! (Michelle makes a move like sheís cross-checking) Yea. See, I think, see I think ,that could had a whole new element. You can have figure fighting.

MK: Figure fighting? Yea

JL: Yea. See, that would be great. I would love to see that.

MK: (Laughs) Yea

JL: Now, I know you parted ways with your coach recently. You know, everybody speculates on these things. You didnít get another coach going into the Olympics.

MK: Well, there was only two months before the Olympics, and I figured, you know, you canít rush into getting a coach, you have to take one thing at a time. And, my dad has been my cheerleader, as heíd say. Heís just standing at the boards supporting me. And Iíd ask him, ďIf youíre a cheerleader. Whereís your pom-poms? I donít see you go (Waves her arms in the air, cheering) I want to see the high kick. I want to see jumping jacks.Ē

JL: Now, what happens in the future? Are you going to do the, uh, whatís the next skating event the come up?

MK: (Shakes head yes) The World championships

JL: OK, now what happens there?

MK: Theyíre in Nagano

Chris Tucker: (Taps Michelle on the arm) Got any tickets?

MK: Oh, yea. (Audience laughs) Are you going to be one of those people in Salt Lake City? (Makes a rectangle shape with her hands, like a sign) ďI need tickets.Ē

CT: I just need two. Two.

MK: Two?

CT: Yea.

MK: OK

CT: Or four. If you can get four. You can get four?

JL: Because Michael may want to go (During Chris Tuckerís interview, they talked about Michael Jackson)

CT: Yea, Michael (Audience yells and applauds)

JL: Yea Michael might want to go.

CT: (Michelle laughs) Michael will be like ďCome on, come on, do it, come on. (Audience laughs. Michelle does some dancing moves, back and forth with her head and upper body...very cute, then laughs some more) Do it girl!Ē (Michelleís doubled over laughing. Audience is screaming with laughter.)

CT: Iím gonna to be there.

MK: OK

CT: Weíre going to be there.

JL: So, you are going to the World Championships?

MK: Yes (An audience member screams!)

JL: Is that official?

MK: Yes

JL: Is that official tonight? Oh, thatís cool. Thatís cool. Thatís very cool. Now, how about the next winter Olympics games?

MK: Oh, four years, you know.

JL: Youíre 21 now, is that...

MK: If I want that cycle I better go (Laughs)

JL: You can go.

MK: Take one thing at a time. I want to go back to school.

JL: Yea (Audience applauds, and an audience member yells ďyea, UCLA!Ē)

MK: Iíve put UCLA on hold, so, I can go back.

JL: Now, what do you, learn a trade, that kind of thing? (Audience and Michelle laughs) But, I mean what are you studying in school? What are you taking?

MK: Everything

JL: But I mean, like, are you taking one particular...

MK: I havenít decided on a major...psychology, political science...Iím kind of (Motions with her hands, and closes and rolls her eyes)

JL: Now, what is that (Makes the same motion)

MK: Exactly

JL: Chris, she should go to the Olympics in 2006?

CT: Uh, yea!

MK: Will you be my coach?

CT: Yea, I can teach you a few things.

MK: OK

Chris makes a few motion with his hands, one in front of the other...hard to explain, sorry! Audience laughs. Michelle does the same motions. Chris shakes his head yes. Audience is still laughing.

MK: OK

JL: Now, youíve got the Champions on Ice tour

MK: The John Hancock Champions on Ice.

JL: And thatís coming up when?

MK: After Worlds.

JL: After Worlds.

MK: April through August.

JL: Well, I think youíre very classy. And, I think that youíre a great asset to our country. And youíve made us all very proud.

MK: Thank you

JL: So, Congratulations (Shakes Michelleís hand) Michelle Kwan! (Michelle turns to the camera and waves)

JL: Be right back with Train, after this.

(A clip of Michelle spinning during Rachmaninoff at the Olympics is shown.)

When they come back from the commercial break, you can see Michelle waving to someone in the audience. Then, after the musical group Train sings, they come over to talk with Jay. Towards the end of the interview, Jay asks Train about performing at the Olympics

JL: Now, you guys were at the Olympics, right?

A Train member:Yea, it was pretty cool.

Pat Monahan (Trainís lead singer): Yea (Turns to Michelle) We couldnít go see you because you had to be, like, in the government somewhere (Audience laughs) to get in to see you skate.

MK: Security was crazy.

JL: Yea, you guys donít look suspicious at all. (Audience and Michelle laughs) Well, guys, congratulations. Two Grammys, it doesnít get much cooler than that. Train, ďDrops of JupiterĒ is the CD. (Audience applauds) Michelle Kwan, thank you very much!

MK: Thank you!

JL: Our Olympic champion! (Michelle smiles) Thank you Michelle.

All screen captures linked in the transcript were done by me. Also check out some more from the show: pic #1, pic #2, and pic #3

Also, check out Jarrett's screencaptures from the interview.

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


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Photo © Jay Adeff