The day before the ladies short program at Nationals, Michelle taped an interview for "SpotLite," a program on a local sports network. It was broadcast right after the ladies short program.

A clip of her practicing her short program at Lake Arrowhead is shown.

Michael Barkann: Welcome back to “SpotLite” everyone. I am Michael Barkaan, and we are very pleased to have with us the 1996 World and US National champ Michelle Kwan. And, uh, we hope, we think, the, perhaps the champ this year, and perhaps the Olympic champion. How’s your training going coming into this event?

Michelle Kwan: (Since she just came from practice, she is wearing her warmup jacket, and her hair is in a bun.) Well, um, my training’s been going good. My injury has slowed me back a bit, but, um, everything else is OK, and, my’s OK mentally. And, um, physically, I’m very prepared.

MB: Everyone’s made a lot about this injury is it, uh, bothersome enough that it will keep you from doing your routine as you like to do it??

MK: (A clip of her skating on the ‘97 tour is shown) Um, there was some question about it...if I was going to compete. But, you know, in my mind, I knew I was going to com...that I can be here, and I knew that I can do it, and pull it off. (She laughs)

MB: How is this different, this week, from the rest of the weeks of the year where, where you are doing events that are not nearly as high pressure as this?

MK: Well, Nationals is always, um, very difficult because you’ve got to make it to the Olympic team, right? It’’s a harder competition because I mean we have another World champion that I am competing against, and there are a lot of great skaters out there.

MB: You speak about another World champion. This time four years ago, you were on the Olympic team, you were ready to go to Norway. In fact, you did go to Norway. (She shakes her head yes and smiles.) And then, all of a sudden, at the last minute, you get yanked. When you look back on that, what...what comes to mind for you?

MK: Well, I remember, having been through that experience, it was like...I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if I was going to compete, if I...if I was going to just be sent there, but, eventually I got sent there just in case anything would happen. And after the draw of what order to skate, I knew I wasn’t going to compete. So, I had to be the spectator and just sit up in the nosebleeds and watch. (She looks upset and laughs.)

MB: You were 13 at the time?

MK: Yes.

MB: What was the sense of...was there a lot of disappointment, or did you feel... “Well, I’ll get another...I’m going to get my shot in ‘98?”

MK: There was some disappointment. I mean, as being a skater, I was like, why am I not out there? Why can’t I compete? But, then I thought to myself, you know, I’ve got my chance in ‘98.

MB: If you skate your best here, you will undoubtedly go on to make the Olympic team, and, perhaps, get the gold medal in Nagano. If you don’t skate your best, though, many feel your going to make the team anyway. Do you feel that confidence there...knowing your going to make this team regardless?

MK: I mean it helps knowing that you will be there and compete at the Olympics, but they said to me, you know, you can have a bye and go to Nagano without competing at Nationals. But, I thought, “No way!” I want to earn this spot. I want to deserve to go. (They show her practicing her short program here at Nationals.)

MB: How do you deal with the pressure of being the favorite to win the Olympic gold?

MK: I think I just have to put it in perspective and really think, “what are the Olympics?” It’s just another competition. I’ve got to have fun, and to go out there and really enjoy myself, and, I guess, savor every minute of it. Because it’s only once in a lifetime when an athlete gets to go. (They show her doing a sit spin on the practice ice here at Nationals.)

MB: You started skating at 5 years old. When did you begin dreaming of Olympic gold?

MK: I think it was 1988 when I watched the Olympics. You know, there was Brian Boitano who was representing the US. And I was totally rooting for him and he won. And I was like, he won the Olympics. And I thought, you know, “I want to go to the Olympics.” I never thought it was going to be this hard! (She shakes her head.) But once you get into it, you can’t look back. I mean, right now, I’m going for my dream and that’s to represent the US and going to the 98 Olympics.

MB: I’m told you wear a good luck charm around your neck. Where did you get it?

MK: (She shows her necklace.) Well this was given to my...from my grandma. It is a good luck charm. (She turns her necklace over.) On the back it says “good luck.” So, I wear it all the time, and I never take it off (She laughs)

(Another clip of her practicing at Lake Arrowhead is shown.)

MB: And, finally, what’s your life been like, your daily regimen, ah, when you come to an event like this? Your hours. What time do you get up? How’s your training going? And what time do you go to sleep every night?

MK: Well, it’s very difficult. I mean, this is the easy part, being at the competition, knowing your ready. But it’s hard when your at home, and you’ve got to practice every day knowing that you’ve got to do it even when you’re tired. I mean, the injury has slowed me down, and limited me to skating as much as I used to. So, I wake up around 8 o’clock, I take it pretty easy, you know. Skate at 10:15, come home, eat lunch. Skate at 1:15, and then I go home, do homework maybe, take a nap. Skate at 5:45 and then workout. By the time that’s all over, I go to bed around 10, 11 o’clock.

MB: Your program’s different this time right? You were very serious about your programs in the past. And now, it seems, as you said earlier, you’ve lightened up with the program.

MK: Well, I’ve really lightened up the program. I mean, I used to have a very dramatic, um, very different than every other skater. But now I want to be free. I want to listen to the music and have goosebumps. And I chose this music because, you know, in 8 years, I want to look my performance at the Olympics and think, “that was me.” It wasn’t like a character I was playing, it was me.

MB: Well, I wish you the best of luck. Thanks a lot. (She laughs, and then looks right into the camera) Michelle Kwan was our guest.

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