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Michelle Kwan

Started Skating With Sister, Chronology, Unexpected Trip To 1994 Olympics, Awards And Accomplishments, Related Biography: Skating Coach Frank CarrollSELECTED WRITINGS BY KWAN:


American figure skater

Michelle Kwan

The most decorated American figure skater in the sport's history, Michelle Kwan became one of the most respected and admired athletes of her generation for her grace on and off the ice. First making headlines in 1994 when she was named an alternate to the American team at the Lillehammer Olympics during the Tonya Harding scandal, Kwan was a national silver medalist at the age of thirteen. At fifteen, she claimed her first U.S. and World Championship titles and at the 1998 National Championship delivered performances in the short and long programs that received the highest-ever marks in the modern history of the sport. Already something of a legend when she competed at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games, Kwan finished second in a surprising upset to Tara Lipinski, who performed two triple-jump combinations to take the gold medal. Ironically, the loss served to increase Kwan's popularity for her gracious comments and philosophical outlook after the event. Reigning as U.S. Champion from 1998 to 2002, Kwan also picked up gold medals at the World Championship in 1998, 2000, and 2001. As in 1998, Kwan was disappointed at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games, where she finished third after a fall in the free skate. Once again Kwan won the public's sympathy and respect through her disappointment, which did little to diminish her impact on the sport and her status as one of the most popular athletes in North America.


(With Laura James) Heart of a Champion: An Autobiography. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

Sketch by Timothy Borden

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsFigure Skating