Fred Roggin:  She has grown up before our eyes... Tonight, one-on-one with the best in the business, Michelle Kwan...

(Michelle is seated across from Fred, and she's looking very mature/stylish in black pants, a black turtleneck, and a black leather jacket)

Michelle Kwan:  I get really nervous doing interviews because I don't know what I'm going to say, or what you're gonna ask me.  At least in skating I can control.  You know -- I have a program, I can have goals, I can do this, and focus on this...  but I can't focus on anything now!

- Fred Roggin Voiceover -
Hard to believe the woman we have watched grow up would be camera shy.  We've known her since she was a little girl at age 13 (clip of a very young Michelle, I think at her family restaurant).  Her life like being in a fish bowl for all to see (young Michelle waves from behind a fish tank). From her stunning routine at the '94 U.S. Nationals (clip) which earned her a trip to the Olympics as an alternate (footage of Michelle in Lillihamer), to her memorable showdown with the young Tara Lipinski at the '98 games in Nagano (images of Tara & Michelle from the Olympics).

FR: You have not grown up with the normal life of a teenager -- what sacrifices have you made?

MK:  I don't believe I've made any sacrifices....

FR: Really?

MK:  Because I feel like I've exchanged things.  Like, maybe I don't have... like school friends because I haven't been in school since 8th grade, I've had tutors.  But I believe that, you know, if you want to do something, or you want to go for something, you've got to put your whole focus onto that.

- Fred Roggin Voiceover -
What Michelle is focused on is constantly refining her skills and presentation (clips of Ariane from Nationals).  With the difference between victory and defeat being something so minute, she leaves nothing to chance.

MK:  I worry about my appearance all the time.  You know, I go... I'm like, "Is my makeup OK?  Is my hair OK?  Is it all put-- (she touches her hair with her hand)?"  You know?  It's the girl thing to do.

- Fred Roggin Voiceover -
She matured from a young girl (clip of a sit-spin in Lake Arrowhead) to a young woman (clip of a sit-spin in Ariane), with a new look and style at this year's Nationals.  Ironically, her chief competition were 13-year-olds, Naomi Nari Nam (clip) and Sarah Hughes (clip).

MK:  Sometimes I feel like I'm the old lady!  Out there in the practice, I was skating around, and I went, "Oh my goodness!  I feel old next to these people and I'm 18!  In a couple years...  geez , in 2002 I'll be 21, what will I feel then?"   (another clip of Ariane from Nationals that continues until Michelle's last sentence).   But, yeah, I guess you just have to go, "OK, think about skating, that's all.  Don't worry about anything else."

- Fred Roggin Voiceover -
With the next generation pushing her, Michelle says she'll continue to compete as long as the passion to perform burns inside her.

MK:  I plan on going to 2002 to the Olympic Games...  I don't know, I can't seem to say no, I want to go so badly.  It's like, this is what I love doing, I love competing, why not go for it?

Listen to the interview.

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


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Photo Jay Adeff