Info | Costumes | Where skated | Description

Program Basics

Composer: Sergei Rachmaninoff

Piece #1: Trio for Pno and Str no 2 in d, Op 9 "Trio elegiaque"

Piece #2: Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 30, in D Minor: Finale Alla breve

Choreographer: Lori Nichol

Fun facts: The trio was originally for one of Karen Kwan's programs, then later, Lori Nichol decided to use it for Michelle.



Costume Info

Costume #1: Designed by Mare Talbot. Costume Description:
Sleeveless with two medium sized straps. One red, the other light pink. From the side of the red strap, the red swoops across the dress to the middle of the top of the dress on the other side. Above is the light pink. Throughout the top part of the dress, which has white or ivory beads and sequins. On the red, various colors of red sequins are added. Typical figure skating skirt. Gradient red (red fading into deep maroon) is the color of the skirt. The starting red of the skirt is the same that of the top of the costume. No sparkles on the skirt. Low round backline. In the back, top of dress stops in a V where the skirt begins.

Fun facts: The red in the costume was digitally colored to blue for an ad for the USOC

Costume #2: Designed by Vera Wang

Costume Description:
Beautiful lace like design full of black and blue sequins and beads on top, one arm thick strap (on the left shoulder, coming straight down, and straight over to the right without much of a specific cut. The skirt on the bottom is different shades of a beautiful royal shade of blue that comes out of the top part of the costume. The other strap is flesh colored, which gives the illusion of it being one strapped.
© photo Amy Salamey

Costume #3: Designed by Vera Wang

Costume Description::
A scooped V neck deep purple costume, in which the straps are incorporated into the "V"-neck cutline. Straps lined with gold sequins and beads sewed in a "Julius Caesar leaf-like" pattern, that runs down both sides and runs from the right to the left side around the waist and ends in a deep V on the both sides down into the skirt. The back has a small V-neck,
© photo Leah Adams

Fun facts: This is Michelle's favorite Vera Wang creation since Vera started designing for her, and it's not hard to see why!
Here's a glimpse of Vera's sketch of this particular costume!



Where skated

1997 Nice 'n Easy Classic
1997 Skate America
1997 Skate Canada
1998 Nationals
1998 Olympics
Golden Gala (1998)
1998 Worlds
1998 Hershey's Kisses Figure Skating Challenge
1998 Ultimate Four
1998 Goodwill Games
2002 Grand Prix Final
2002 US Nationals
2002 Olympics
2002 Worlds




So far, Michelle has performed Rachmaninoff the best at the 1998 US National Championships. Michelle received 7 perfect 6.0s for presentation, a record for short programs at Nationals. The performance of the program was even more spectacular because when Michelle stepped on the ice, no one knew how she was going to skate. In late November, Michelle had to withdraw from the NHK competition because she had a broken toe. In mid December, just weeks before Nationals, she withdrew from the Grand Prix Final, the last international competition before the Olympics. At the morning preskate, Michelle did not show up, sparking murmurs around the arena that she would withdraw from the competition. So, when she appeared for the short program warmup, those in attendance breathed a sigh of relief.

Michelle was planning on replacing her triple toe, an easier jump, with the triple flip as her solo triple jump, because the triple toe was one of 2 jumps that hurt her injured toe. She did a limited number of the triple toe each day as a result. So, the triple flip was inserted into the program.

This particular skate of Rachmaninoff was so amazing, it can't be put into words. I've tried for 4 years, and I still don't know how to describe it! Michelle did not merely skate, but she floated over the ice. The jumps were beautiful and securely landed. Her footwork was crisp. One of my favorite moves of Michelle's is the move (and look on her face) right before she goes into the program (as seen in picture). Her spiral was magnificent. As she went into her final spin, the crowd was on it's feet. Simply amazing! Breathtaking! Exquisite! I was crying, screaming, clapping, and I'm sure everyone else, at the arena and at home, was doing the same. I've never seen a program like that. Absolute perfection. What were the two judges that didn't give her a 6.0 thinking? Just about everyone in the audience had to wipe away their tears, including some of the judges. Skating performances like that don't come along often, but in the short program, it's unheard of.

Although Michelle didn't skate Rachmaninoff to this same state of perfection in her other competitions during the '97/'98 season, every time it was skated, it was beautiful. From the debut at the 1997 Nice 'n Easy Classic to it's final skate of the season at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Even in its debut, it earned raves....and 6.0s. It was labeled a winning program right away...and it was. It was undefeated during the '97/'98 season.

This was the first program where her famous inside/outside edge spiral was recognized. The solo triple was the triple toe at all competitions except '98 Nationals, where she did the triple flip. The footwork is intricate, and one of her best.

After the '98 Goodwill Games, Michelle said that she was sad that she had to retire this program. So, it should come as no surprise that Michelle has revived the program for the 2001-2002 Olympic season. She said, "It was a really good program for me. People loved it. I loved it. I enjoyed it. I was looking at tapes the other day, just looking at programs I had done before. It's hard doing my short program to 'East of Eden' again. I've done it so many times. I said, 'I want to change and do something else,' but I had never found anything I liked better. Then I looked at the Olympic tape and said, 'Hey, that's one of my favorites. That's the favorite."

The elements of the program during the 1997/1998 season were:
triple lutz-double toe combination, double axel, layback spin, circular footwork, triple toe (flip at Nationals), death drop into back sit spin, forward inside edge change to an outside edge spiral, back outside edge spiral, camel-sit-Y-spin-change foot-back sit-Y combination spin

The elements of the program during the 2001/2002 season are:
triple lutz-double toe combination, double axel, layback spin (different variation than in 97/98), circular footwork, triple flip), death drop into back sit spin, forward inside edge change to an outside edge spiral, back outside edge spiral, Y-type spiral, camel-sit-Y-spin-change foot-back sit-Y combination spin



© photos J. Barry Mittan
Art of Fire Skating Calender