--Before the interview, around 8 am, they talked about who would be on the show--

Katie Couric: Also coming up in this half hour, Michelle Kwan, the most decorated figure skater in US history has done it again. She recently iced the competition-hhuuuh!… (Matt, Katie, and Al, all in unison, say "hhuuuuh!")

Matt Lauer: God, I missed that while I was away! (all three laugh)

KC: (laughs) …and won her firth- firth?- fifth! World Championships, Michelle will be here- I was so excited about that little pun- in just a few minutes.

--Later in the half hour, the interview--

KC: Just two weeks ago, the most decorated figure skater in US history added yet another jewel to her crown. (A clip of Michelle from Aranjuez at Worlds doing her triple toe/double toe combination, a closeup of her after the program, and her in the kiss and cry after the program, is shown while Katie talks.) Before a sold out crown in Washington, DC, Michelle Kwan won her fifth World Championships. It was a performance many called the very best of her career. This 22 year old has now won more than 40 major competitions, including seven US National Championships and 2 Olympic medals. Michelle Kwan, congratulations, it's great to see you!

Michelle Kwan: (Michelle is smiling. She is wearing a beige, sleeveless V-neck top, jeans, and thin black heels. Her hair is down. She looks radiant.) Good to see you too!

KC: I saw you the last time I guess in November, and since then you've won the National Championships and the World Championships. So what's going on, have you been eating your Wheaties or what? (Michelle laughs) I mean it's so impressive.

MK: Oh! I'm still on cloud nine, I mean its just been one great thing after another. Um, its, the Worlds in DC, was just, amazing week, amazing. (The following 4 pictures are shown while Michelle talks: Ladies World podium, Michelle waving on the podium, Michelle taking a victory lap, and Michelle laughing on the podium.) I just, I still can't believe it, um, to this day. And then now I'm on Chevy Champions on Ice , having fun, touring with a great gang of skaters and it's just, it's, it's awesome!

KC: What was it about the Worlds that enabled you, I mean, was it just serendipity, did everything just come together in the best possible way, Michelle? You know, I've talked to you so much, and so many times before and after big, big, big competitions, and it seems you never quite know what's going to happen out there on there ice, but were the stars properly aligned? What do you think accounts for your incredible performance?

MK: Well, this year my approach to skating was very different. Usually I have a rigid schedule, I have-(Michelle makes motions with her arms) ok I'm gonna do this competition, I'm gonna do this and this. (The following clips of Michelle from Aranjuez at Worlds are shown while Michelle is talking: Opening pose, triple loop, triple lutz, falling leaf to spread eagle, layback to end of program.) But I played it by ear, after such a long season, you know, with the Olympics and the tour. I said, "ok, I'm gonna really take it easy and make a decision based on how I feel," and, you know, without the competition every month I was like, really, really missing it, so I decided to compete at the Nationals and the Worlds and…

KC: But do you think you were more relaxed about it?

MK: Yeah…

KC: That you weren't feeling so much enormous pressure. That must have had something to do with it.

MK: (Clip from Worlds ends, and the camera goes back to Michelle.) I think this year my approach was just to have fun, enjoy the sport, figure skating, and just put everything into perspective -- it's a sport, go out there and have fun! -- and I think that it is the difference

KC: I know that Peggy Fleming called your performance awesome, and Dick Button stopped doing commentary for a moment, he just stood up in the booth and applauded. (Michelle has a huge smile on her face.) And then, afterwards, you just looked so ecstatic. Tell me what was going through your mind as everybody was throwing flowers and you seemed sooo happy and relieved. (Closeup from Michelle's end pose from Aranjuez at Worlds is shown, along with the crowd, her bowing and skating off the ice.)

MK: Well, I talked to Dick after the long program, and he said, "At the very end, I just started laughing!" (laughs) and I was like? (question in her intonation) Well, for me, mentally, I didn't stop thinking until I was in my ending pose, and I was like wow, that's it? (Clip from Worlds ends, and the camera goes back to Michelle. You can see she has tears in her eyes.) And to have everyone it the arena stand up, the crowd was just, they were on fire, and I just, like, it does not get better than this. So I had to savor every moment of it, because I'm like, it's, its incredible! (Michelle puts her hands to her face.)

KC: We should put your championships, uh, your five World championships, into a quick bit of perspective. You're the first woman to win five since Carol Heiss did it back in the 1950s. (Michelle nods her head.) Sonja Henie still holds the record for the most Worlds--she won ten in the 20s and 30s. But what does it mean to be sort of side by side with these great skaters in the history books?

MK: It's incredible, (she shakes her head) um, I really don't know what to say. I mean…I have been so fortunate in skating and, 10 years at the Worlds Championships, and uh, (shrugs her shoulders) I just try to enjoy myself, its, it's so hard for me to put it in perspective, because I'm still going at it, I'm still…

KC: You're still sort of in the moment. We have, speaking of being back in the moment, we have tape of your very first victory (A clip of Michelle on the 1996 Worlds podium is shown, along with a clip from Salome at Worlds that starts at her lutz, and continues to when she skates by the judges and stares.) at the world championships. It was in 1996, you were just 15 years old.

MK: Ah! (almost a gasp)

KC: Looking back, what goes through your mind as you watch this tape?

MK: To see the physical changes, and really, I, ah, I don't know? It's just, when I see video tapes I'm like, that was me? But it just seemed like yesterday, but yet it looks (clip ends, the camera goes back to Michelle) like a long time ago.

KC: And nice eyeliner there, by the way!

MK: (Laughs and covers her mouth) I had jewels! (points to eyes)

Both laugh hysterically

MK: -- inaudible--

KC: It was very, it was very in back then. Before we go…

MK: Yea

KC: …are you having some fun? (Michelle shakes her head.) You have the same boyfriend. I'm very nosy about this.

MK: (laughs) Yeah!

KC: You finished one year at UCLA. (Michelle shakes her head.) You gonna go back to school, Michelle? What's going on there?

MK: Um, well, I have a long distance boyfriend, so that's kind of hard. Because we both are, uh…he's a hockey player and I'm a figure skater, so it's like, long distance, traveling and um…

KC: Well, ice, so that's a good thing, right?

MK: Yea, one similarity! But um, I really, really want to go back to school, education is very important, and um, it's just finding the right balance with skating, school and personal life. (She shakes her head and smiles)

KC: Well it's so great to see you again.

MK: You too.

KC: …and you always, uh, are so wonderful and, uh, self effacing and, and humble and, and I think a real example for so many athletes so, thanks for coming by Michelle. (Michelle smiles) And I know we're going to see if you're gonna skate (Michelle shakes her head) in our next half hour depending on the weather, but we're keeping our fingers crossed that you'll be able to.

MK: Okay!

KC: Alright, thanks Michelle.

**Due to the rain, Michelle wasn't able to skate on the Rockefeller Center ice rink as scheduled later in the show. She did, however, go and say thank you to those who were at the rink to see her skate. This wasn't on TV, but several from the MK Forum were there.**

Huge thanks to Splits from MKF for the majority of this transcript (I added most of what is in italics)!

Check out amethystbatgirl's screencaptures from the interview.

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

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