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Michelle Kwan

Astounding Performance At 1998 Nationals

Kwan's reign as U.S. and World Champion lasted just one year. Hampered by new skates and a lack of self-confidence, Kwan stumbled badly in her free skate at the Nationals and finished second to Tara Lipinski. With another mistake in the short program at the 1997 World Championship, Kwan placed second to Lipinski again, even though her free skate was the best at the competition. With a stress fracture in her left foot, Kwan was unable to go through full run-throughs of her programs and did not enter the 1998 Nationals as the favorite. After Lipinski unexpectedly fell on her triple flip jump in the short program, however, Kwan took the ice in her program, skating to selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff. After completing a stunning program, Kwan made history as the first women to receive a perfect score for her short program at the Nationals; in fact, she received seven 6.0 marks from the nine judges for her presentation. Her long program, skated to "Lyrica Angelica" by composer William Alwyn, was even better: Kwan received eight out of nine possible perfect scores for her presentation. The performances were immediately rated as the best short and long programs ever seen at the Nationals, and they made Kwan the heavy favorite going into the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

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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: