World Champion Michelle Kwan will be here. One of the most gracious
athletes weíve ever had on our program. Sheís also the most decorated
figure skater in U.S. history. We havenít had a chance to chat with
Michelle since Salt Lake City, and weíre going to find out what
sheís been up to, sheís been very busy, by the way, in just a few
--About 10 minutes
A 22-year-old is the most decorated skater in U.S. History, and
her name is Michelle Kwan.
The following clips
are shown while Katie is talking:
- Jump at Ď01 Nationals
- Final spin during
Song of the Black Swan at Ď01 Nationals
- Bowing after Song
of the Black Swan at Ď00 Skate America
- Blowing a kiss
after East of Eden at Ď01 Nationals
- On Ď96 Nationals
- On Ď96 Worlds podium
- Practicing at Healthsouth
- Jump combination
during Lyra Angelica at Ď98 Olympics, and hugging Frank after
- Spiral during Scheherazade
at '02 Olympics
- Ď02 Olympics Podium
and closeup of Michelle on podium
- Triple flip during
Rachmaninoff at Ď02 Nationals
- Going into final
pose after Song of the Black Swan at Ď01 Worlds
- Waving after Lyra
Angelica at Ď98 Worlds
- Spiral during East
of Eden at Ď01 Skate America
- Spin at Ď01 Nationals
KC: She's a six-time
National champion, and a four-time World champion. Michelle Kwan
has been in the spotlight since she was just 15. Throughout the
years, her only weak spot has been the Olympics. A favorite for
gold in 1998, she finished second to Tara Lipinski. And earlier
this year in the Salt Lake City games, Sarah Hughes went for gold
and got it. Kwan ended up a very disappointing third. But throughout
it all, Michelle Kwan has kept her head held high, remained dedicated
to the sport she loved, and is without question, one of the most
gracious competitors in history. And that's what makes her a true
Michelle and Katie
are sitting on a bench in the middle of the Rockefeller Center ice
rink, under a white Today show umbrella that Michelle is holding.
Michelle is dressed all in black, with black gloves, and a black
top that has the logo for ďDisney PrincessesĒ in pink on her left
lapel. She is also wearing her skates, but she wonít be able to
skate because of the rain.
KC: Michelle Kwan,
KC: Nice to see
you, Michelle. Again, gosh, can you believe it's been nine months
since the Salt Lake City Olympic games? I can't.
MK: I can't either.
KC: I feel like
it was just yesterday when we were talking about how much...
MK: In Lake Arrowhead.
KC: That's right,
where you train in California, about how much you really wanted
to win the gold medal. (While Michelle and Katie are talking,
more clips from Scheherazade, such as her triple salchow, spiral,
and combination spin, and charlotte are shown.) And my heart
broke, honestly when I watched you skate.
KC: I mean, you
were such a beautiful skater, but I know you didn't skate your best
at the Olympic games. And the gold medal was elusive. How did you
handle the disappointment, Michelle? I, first of all, thought that
you did handle it beautifully, but you must have been crest fallen.
MK:I was in a
way. In the short program I felt that I skated the best. Um, and
then in the long program, I tightened up, I got a little nervous.
Made two mistakes, and it just wasnít my best performance. And,
you know, what can you do?
KC: The pressure
is just so unbelievable, but of course, youíve been dealing with
it since you were 7 years old, and started competing. Your first
Worlds were when you were 13, is that right?
head yes.) Thirteen, yea.
KC: And, yet,
you know, unlike a lot of skaters, you decided not to go professional.
You still want to compete. And part of me is like, Michelle, how
can you keep putting (laughing) yourself through this?
Well, for one thing, itís great exercise. Skating is so much fun,
and I spoke to Brian Boitano, and heís like, you just know when
you want to turn professional, and do other things. But, for me,
I love competing, I love the intensity, I love the pressure. And,
itís just, Iíll miss it if I turn professional.
KC: You also,
I mean, you had, you always talked about how great the Olympic experience
is. (Michelle shakes her head yes.) And I know as I watched
you on the medal stand, (clips of Michelle receiving her medal,
and Sarah receiving her medal, are shown.) yet again sort of
seeing someone else take the gold. Tara Lipinski got it the first
time, and then Sarah Hughes the second, meanwhile, you won the bronze
medal. Uh, that must have been, again, a tough situation. And yet...
MK: It is tough,
because I always have dreams, um, of winning the Olympics, and being
on top of the podium, and, you know, and seeing the flag go up for
me, you know. And, then being, second, and then third. So
close, but, you know, yet, so far. But, you know, as the saying
goes, life goes on, and you enjoy it. And I love performing, I love
skating in front of a crowd. And... (shrugs)
KC: Are, are you
going to for it again at the next winter games? I mean...
are in January, so itís just one year at a time. I figure Iím only
22, and (moving her hands around and making a face) I did
the math...26 at the next Olympics...maybe, maybe. But, I feel like
Iím in the best shape of my life. So, thatís why Iíve decided to
compete this year.
KC: Well, weíd
love to see you skate at the Olympic games. Meanwhile, you know,
youíve gotten the awards out the wazoo, delicately put. Uh, this
year youíve won the Sullivan award, which is the most prestigious
award for an amateur athlete, the Teen Choice Award, Nickelodeonís
Kids Choice Award and, just recently, CosmoGirl of the Year Award.
(A still shot of the CosmoGirl
article and picture is shown.) Now, these are awards that...they,
they sound like they should go to a real winner, and I think itís
indicative on how much people respect your, your sportsmanship,
and your incredible grace. And, itís not really in defeat because(Katie
laughs, and Michelle smiles), you won the bronze medal, and
you did, you skated incredibly well. (Michelle nods) But
I think you are a great role model for people on how to hand...handle
yourself in tough and disappointing situations.
I just (shrugs)...you know, you win some, you lose some,
and you always...
KC: And some you
get rained out!
MK: I know! (Michelle
raises her umbrella, and looks up. Both laugh.) But, I think
itís just important to keep your head up high, and, just to keep
on working, and that never giving up and enjoying yourself and having
fun in whatever you choose to do.
KC: Well we are
so glad to have you. I wanted to mention that you are here because,
uh, you have become a spokesperson for Disney (Michelle smiles
and nods her head yes) and you are doing an appearance for them
in New York?
MK: Yeah, Toys
ĎR Us! Um, actually, itís Disney Princesses, um, lineup like Cinderella,
Belle, and, um, Sleeping Beauty. Weíre all going to be at Times
Square Toys R Us and weíre all going to, um, light up a 25 foot
tree. So, it should be a lot of fun.
KC: That should
be fun. (Said at almost the same time Michelle says the same
MK: Yea. Right.
KC: Now, you have
stopped taking classes at UCLA, (Michelle nods) but you are
going to go back arenít you missy?
MK: Yes, I know,
I feel so bad (hits her left leg.)
KC: Donít feel
bad. Iím not here to make you feel bad. But you are going to get
your degree, of course?
MK: Oh of course,
of course. Itís very important.
KC: Youíre just
taking a little break?
MK: Yeah... actually,
I feel kind of guilty because Iím at the rink but if I donít have
enough time to really get the right education to get, get the whole
experience ..youíll be half into skating and half into school and
thatís not what I want to do and I just want to go full at skating,
full at school and keep, you know, keep...
KC: Keep focus
MK: (Nods yes.)
KC: Alright. Well,
Michelle its great to see you...
MK: Thank you.
KC: ...and thanks
for coming by.
touches Michelle on the arm.) And all the best to you, and come
back and visit us again, OK?
MK: OK. I will.
Thank you. (Michelle turns to the camera and smiles)
KC: And we will
be back in a moment with more, but first, this is Today on NBC.
(Katie moves closer to Michelle and waves at the camera)
screencaptures from the interview.
a real video clip of the interview,
courtesy of Moyesii!
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