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
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
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
ML: Well is it healthy though as a competitor to look to see yourself as
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
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.
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.
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?
ML: In Nagano?
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