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Michelle Kwan

Olympic Disappointment

In first place after her short program at the Nagano Games, Kwan seemed to be fulfilling the expectations that had grown out of her astounding victory at the 1998 Nationals. Despite the pressure, Kwan delivered another clean program in her free skate, although some of her moves were a bit slower than they had been in her prior competitions. Kwan was also at a disadvantage by skating first in the final group in the long program; even though her artistry was again impressive, she had to settle for a string of 5.9 marks for her presentation. Lipinski, skating later in the event, again did not match Kwan's aesthetic quality on the ice; she more than made up for that, however, in her technical content with a triple-loop, triple-loop combination jump midway through her program and a triple salchow-half loop-triple toe jumping pass to conclude it. It was technically the most difficult program of the evening, and it earned Lipinski the gold medal over Kwan.

A model of graciousness in her defeat, Kwan earned praise for the way she handled her disappointment at the Olympics. She won her second world title at the 1998 Championship a few weeks later, a victory that took place without the presence of Lipinski, who had immediately retired from amateur ranks after the Olympics. For her part, Kwan announced that she was looking forward to competing at the 2002 Olympics, to be held in Salt Lake City.

Kwan Song

From the age of seven, Kwan has known that she would achieve greatness as a figure skater, but she wasn't sure that would be enough. "I wanted to be the Michael Jordan of my sport," she said. "I dreamed of being a legend." … But legends are not made by points alone, in the rink or on the basketball court. For figure skaters, the door to that mythic realm of eight-figure endorsement deals, of celebrity that transcends sports itself, opens only once every four years. … And Kwan knows this better than anyone. "Tothe public," she tells you, "the Olympics is the supreme of the supreme, and I don't believe you can ever truly be a legend without winning it."

Source: Mark Starr, Newsweek, February 18, 2002, p. 50.

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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: