Michelle Kwan discusses Michelle Kwan
Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune recently conducted a lengthy interview with former figure skating star Michelle Kwan. Below is an except of the interview, Part 1 of which you can read here.
1. What is your favorite performance?
Michelle Kwan: On so many levels, it would have to be 1998 nationals. I had a stress fracture, and I was struggling during Christmas with my foot in a cast. I remember being really, really sad. I was thinking, “I have to be at nationals in two weeks. How is this going to happen?” I had two choices – one was give up, and the other was to go out there and skate and enjoy it.
I knew the pain was not going to go away. It was just dealing with it and still being able to enjoy what I was doing. I think that is very hard to do. But I thought, “I have to be able to put myself in the frame of mind of having fun.”
That nationals went so well because I went out there with a lightness and freedom and loving what I do. I tried to do that for the rest of my career.
There was also just being able to experience it and put it in perspective. Of course, I was also trying to make that Olympic team. I went beyond my expectations.
(NOTE: Many consider Kwan’s brilliant skating at the 1998 U.S. Championships the highlight of her career. Seven of the nine judges gave her perfect 6.0 scores for presentation in the short program – the first 6.0s ever for a woman in the short program at nationals. Eight judges gave her perfect presentation scores in the free skate.)