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Michelle Kwan

U.s. And World Champion In 1996

Kerrigan recovered in time to compete at the 1994 Olympics, where she took the silver medal. Harding delivered two disastrous performances at the Games and was later banned for life from the amateur ranks by the USFSA for her knowledge of the plot against Kerrigan. Kwan went on the represent the U.S. at the 1994 International Skating Union's (ISU) World Championship, where she placed eighth. The following year, skating to Camille Saint-Saens' "Rondo Capriccioso," she earned another silver medal at the U.S. National Championship. At the World Championship, Kwan skated two perfect performances. The low marks she received from the

Michelle Kwan

judges for her short program, however, had placed her in fifth going into the free skate. Despite having the best technical content in her long program, with seven triple jumps, Kwan placed fourth overall at the end of the event. Many observers, Carroll included, could not recall when a skater had performed so well without receiving a medal.

Looking forward to the 1996 season, Carroll and Kwan decided that her youthful appearance had dissuaded the judges from giving her the marks she had deserved. Kwan had previously appeared with her hair in a simple ponytail and without makeup, but her look for the 1996 season changed dramatically. In her long program, Kwan portrayed Salome, the Biblical woman who had asked for the head of John the Baptist after mesmerizing an audience with her dancing. Kwan's artistry on the ice matched her more mature appearance, and she swept the U.S. Nationals, even with minor mistakes on two of her jumps.

At the 1996 World Championship, however, Kwan faced an almost insurmountable challenge. China's Lu Chen had skated a beautiful long program and received two perfect marks of 6.0 for her presentation. Taking the ice, Kwan knew that she had to skate perfectly and hit all of her seven planned triple jumps. After doubling one of the triple toe jumps she performed in combination, Kwan made a last-second change at the end of her program, throwing in another triple toe jump instead of a simpler double axel. The technical edge—along with two perfect presentation scores she received—gave Kwan the victory, with six of the nine judges putting her ahead of Chen. It was one of the closest competitions in the history of the event, and it made Kwan into the leading figure skater of the day.

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Famous Sports StarsFigure SkatingMichelle Kwan - Started Skating With Sister, Chronology, Unexpected Trip To 1994 Olympics, Awards And Accomplishments, Related Biography: Skating Coach Frank Carroll - SELECTED WRITINGS BY KWAN: