(clip of Michelle doing her short program at the Golden Gala)

Leno: My first guest turned in a terrific performance last week at the Olympics in Nagano and came away with a silver medal. She's been a great friend to the show we couldn't be more proud of her. Ladies and gentleman, Michelle Kwan!

(Audience cheers and band plays while Michelle walks in wearing a brown dress with very black nylons and her Olympic medal)

Leno: Yeah! Great! Let..let's see! Wow...that's pretty neat. Get a shot of that, look at that (camera gets a close up shot at Michelle's silver medal)

Michelle: There's only one man (audience cheers) making it.

Leno: Is that right? One man makes all of these?

Michelle: Yep.

Leno: Wow...

Michelle: 24 steps to make it.

Leno: Wow...that's very impressive. Looks like it would give you back trouble carrying that thing.

Michelle: It's heavy though! (leans over to show how heavy)

Leno: Now you sound like you have a bit of a cold. Were you sick?

Michelle: Well I was at the closing ceremonies and it was freezing out there and I had all the US team outfits on and I was just shivering the whole time I might have caught cold there. (shows her shivering and Leno smiles)

Leno: A lot of people got that flu thing.

Michelle: I know, like one third of all the athletes in the village have a cold so...

Leno: You didn't stay in the village right?

Michelle: No, I stayed with my mom and dad in a hotel, kind of in downtown but I needed some room for myself, you know.

Leno: Now did you get some flack for that? 'Cause you know reporters like to write (changes tone of voice mocking reporters) 'You're not staying in the village nuh nuh nuh nuh..'

Michelle: Yeah. Well, some people wrote that I would have done better if I had stayed in the village or something. I think it's kinda crazy because I like to be focused and really concentrate on my skating.

Leno: You know what's amazing? When you say 'done better', when I watched this I..people of your calliber, I don't see how one is better. I see...how...how did you feel about that day? Did you feel you were spot(?) on, did you feel that you were a shade off?

Michelle: I was a little off in my skating but I fought through everything. You know I was tilted (tilts her hand) in a couple jumps and I thought to myself (makes an aggravated determined look) 'land it, land it!' (laughs) So I kinda fought the jumps but after I skated I thought 'oh my god, did a clean program, did a little fighting in the program, just everything went well'

Leno: It's just a matter of (uses his index finger and thumb of one thumb to demonstrate how close it is to either breaking it or losing it) .. like a hair isn't it?

Michelle: I know, I know. Everybody said that I even sparked a little more, pushed a little faster or if I even skated last I would have won. And I have no regrets of anything and I'm like...

Leno: Now explain what you think do..cuz..I..I heard this but I'm not quite sure I understand, but they say the person who skates first and that's just the draw, the luck of the draw right?

Michelle: Yeah.

Leno: So when you skate first the judges tend to give a little lower mark in case someone is so unbelievable right? Is that...

Michelle: Yeah, they save marks after the first skater because they don't know how the other skaters are going to do.

Leno: Yeah...

Michelle: So people said that they saved um, some scores or some points and um..you know I have no control over that.

Leno: Right, right.

Michelle: I just skated and I got off the ice and then I heard the marks and I knew they saved room so I was like (makes a worried face)'oooooh boy' (laughs) 'ooooh boy'.

Leno: Now you're your..the fracture you had in your foot did you feel that?

Michelle: No...

Leno: That was last November right?

Michelle: Yeah.

Leno: Did that come back at all?

Michelle: When I was at the competition, I didn't think anything of it. You know, I was just on my own, skating. I had no moment that I went 'oh my god, my foot' which is good, I mean, so much adrenaline pumping through me I was like don't worry about anything, just have fun. And I got off the ice and I'm like (makes an inquiring face) 'oh, my foot didn't hurt, oooh..that's good' (laughs) 'this is good'.

Leno: Now I heard that you had trouble getting into the last event. Is this true?

Michelle: Oh my god, no one knows this but um, going into the competition before the long program, um, we were driving to the rink before I competed and I had to stop two blocks away from the venue and the security stopped me and would NOT let me go. (Leno chuckles) No because the emperor and empress were going through and Mrs. Gore was coming through with the White House people. Um, it was really tight security then and I was like I had my USA stuff I'm like (turns to show her back pretending she's wearing her USA team outfit with a desperate, hurried look on her face) 'USA; skater; Michelle Kwan; hurry, gotta go gotta go gotta!' You know, and it was RAINING, POURING rain (audience laughs) and I had my makeup and my costume on and I was like 'gotta go, gotta go!' (fans herself) and I was a nervous wreck before I competed. I was like, (makes a determined look) 'okay Michelle, this is NOT good but I HAVE to get to the rink, gotta go to the rink!' (Leno chuckles) So I got out of the car, I walked the two blocks to the place and then they still wouldn't let me go through the gate and I was like (makes a 'uh oh' face and says in a breathy voice) 'oh boy, I'm in trouble, I'm in trouble!' (Leno mumbles 'oh man'..) and finally the emperor and empress came through, she rolled down the windows and gave me this wave (demonstrates the wave) and then finally um, the security was like (makes this in-awe look) 'OH...oh..okay, you can go!' (laughs with the audience) So I was a little nervous right then but...

Leno: Aw man, I would guess so. So how many minutes did you have to spare? Was it pretty close?

Michelle: It was pretty close. I mean I had to stretch (makes panting noises and starts stretching at a fast speed) 'gotta go, gotta go' (laughs with audience)

Leno: Now let me ask you about 2002. You going to go back?

Michelle: Yeah...

Leno: Yeah?

Michelle:Yes I mean it's American soil, it's in Salt Lake City, probably going to be huge Olympics and it's going to be special, you know, having it in America.

Leno: Yeah, do you get time to do stuff? I mean you're 17 you know it seems all you've done, I feel like I'm talking to someone who is 27 years old, and you're very mature and very good, do you miss some of the 17 year old things? You have a tutor right?

Michelle: Yeah.

Leno: Like..like a prom??

Michelle: No prom (laughs, waves hands), no prom! My own prom at my home. No, um..

Leno: (laughs) Just have a prom!

Michelle: No, i feel like I'm normal I mean (clasps hand to chest)

Leno: (protests) No, I don't mean you're not normal, I don't mean...! (Audience and Michelle bursts into laughter)

Michelle: I'm normal!

Leno: I mean it seems you work so hard it seems like with 2002 coming up you've got more homework to do up 'til then you know?

Michelle: Well, you know, I..I try to keep my schedule not to busy but still keep it sane, you know and it's a little hard at times when I'm traveling around the world and I can't travel with my friends or anything. Kinda a little quiet, but...

Leno: Yeah, any boys, any boyfriends? Hey, did that Leonardo DiCaprio guy ever call you?

Michelle: (remembers) NO!!! (laughs) After all the hiss we knocked on last time!

Leno: Now you've seen that movie a couple of times?

Michelle: A couple of times. Only a couple. (raises eyebrows sheepishly)

Leno: Yeah. (Michelle laughs) That would be the guy?

Michelle: That would be the guy. (laughs)

Leno: That's what you would want to shoot for 2002? Yep..

(Everyone laughs, Michelle looks kinda embarrassed)

Silence.

(Michelle sits there blushing, covers her face with her hands, embarrassed. The audience and Leno, looking at Michelle, laugh)

Leno: See, well, you're blushing. So then you just start all over again. If you had won the gold this time would you still be going to 2002?

Michelle: Yes.

Leno: Yeah, okay, well that's good, that's good.

Michelle: Yeah.

Leno: 'Cuz that's the important thing. You don't want to make it...' cause I...in America, people sometimes have a thing of number one and number two is way over here. (shows the distance by using his hands) It's so...

Michelle: Um, 'You lost the gold, how do you feel?' I'm like, 'I didn't lose the gold, I won the silver.' And I...

Leno: Yeah, exactly, exactly.

(Audience bursts into cheers and Michelle responds by laughing)

Leno: Exactly, that's what I mean, people have this terrible competitive thing, I think you have the best attitude about it and that's exactly what you need. Let me ask you..the uh...this is uh..no you're book has already been updated right? (takes out book) This is you're uh...17, so it's not real thick. (Everyone laughs while the camera gets a close up as to how thick it is.) The whole boy chapters aren't in there yet (Everyone laughs again) But you already have this updated to include all the Olympic stuff right?

Michelle: Well I talked to the writers after I competed and um, kind of told them my memories of the Nagano experience.

Leno: Yeah.

Michelle: They're coming out March 2 already.

Leno: Oh wow.

Michelle: A new edition they added on to the book.

Leno: Well that's great. You know we're real proud of ya, you're a real American hero, you've got the right attitude, you've got a good head on your shoulders. Thanks Michelle. Michelle Kwan!...

Listen to the interview

Check out photo #1, photo #2, photo #3, and photo #4 from the show

Huge thanks to Grace for this transcript and the audio clip!


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Photo Jay Adeff