This interview took place at an outdoor ice rink.

Matt Lauer: To really achieve a lifelong dream, something she's thought about since she was 5 years old and that's to win an Olympic gold medal in the winter Olympics. She talks about that and a brand new book that's called "heart of a champion". Michelle Kwan, Great to see you! How are you doing?

Michelle Kwan: I'm very good!

ML: The fact that you got me on skates is an amazing accomplishment right off the bat!

MK: (Laughs) Your pretty good!

ML: NO, No Iím terrible. We're gonna skate for a second, but first of all one of the things I loved about this is your 17 years old and you've already written your autobiography. Isn't that pushing it a little bit?

MK: Well Iím 17 years old, but ya know I went through a lot of ups and downs last year and ya know I think the kids can learn from my experiences and put them in their own lives and even if they took one thing out of my book, Iíd be glad and happy.

ML: As a matter of fact, you do talk about how you had this terrific winning streak and let's start to skate as we do this, you did talk about the fact that you had a loss at the national championships in 1996, was it?

MK: UM, in 97.

ML: OH 97. What did that teach you about yourself that you didn't already know during the time winning?

MK: Well ya know the big word is appreciation and I was going through a big winning streak and I took everything for granted and I never stopped for one moment and think, "Gosh, look at what Iíve accomplished like the world championships and national championships at ya know, such a young age.

ML: Well is it healthy though as a competitor to look to see yourself as slightly fallible?

MK: I guess so. I think it's good that it happened last year instead of this year with the Olympic games coming up.

ML: Your 17. You were an alternate at the Olympic games 4 years ago, you didn't actually skate. How does a 17 year old handle the pressure of that world wide stage?

MK: Well I just try to stay normal and hang out with my friends and stay cool and not focus on the big picture-just one thing at a time.

ML: When you get this stage where you are 5 months away from the Olympic games, do you start to worry about every crack in the sidewalk and every cold that you get. . . do you just want to lock your self up in a padded room?

MK: I used to, and my dad asked me the same question, "why don't you just like sit in a white padded room and not do anything?" and ya know, that's not life. Your not living life and enjoying it.

ML: Something in the book that caught my attention is that you don't like the cold.

MK: (Laughs) I know! Isn't that stupid?!

ML: How did you become an ice skater if you don't like the cold?

MK: I have no idea! Iím like shivering now and Iím on the ice. (Laughs)

ML: Let's do this because we practiced quite a bit in the last couple of months for our little routine.

MK: OK!

ML: What do we call it?

MK: A merry-go-round!

ML: And don't try this at home folks!

MK: Yeah, don't! (Laughs)

(They grab each other hands and skate around in a circle. The crowd cheers)

ML: Ya see, that was much better in rehearsal. It really was! (Michelle laughs) Last time I was here, Jojo Starbuck did it with me and I almost threw up! I get very nauseous.

MK: Oh.

ML: Will you just do a spin for us as we say good bye?

(Michelle does a beautiful fast spin and the crowd cheers loudly)

ML: Michelle Kwan, good luck in the Olympics this year.

MK: Thank you!

ML: They take place in February?

MK: Yes.

ML: In Nagano?

MK: Yes.

ML: But first the nationals.

MK: Yep. In January.

ML: Good luck. It's always great to see you!

MK: You too!

Huge thanks to Shanda Thomas for this transcript!


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