Michelle Kwan honored at the U.S. Championships during a break in the women’s competition Saturday, January 28th evening.
Last week to no one’s surprise, figure skater Michelle Kwan was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in San Jose, California:
“Kwan was the face of figure skating for a decade, beloved as much for her grace and humility in defeat as her long list of triumphs. Though she won five world and nine U.S. titles, she is best remembered for her heartbreaking finishes at the Nagano and Salt Lake City games. The favorite at each, she settled instead for a silver (1998) and a bronze (2002). Indeed, the image of her sobbing as she stood below a beaming Tara Lipinski on the Nagano medals podium is as enduring as her majestic performance at the national championships a month earlier.”
I was at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games and saw Kwan perform live in the women’s figure skating finals, short program, where she came in first. Unfortunately, a few days later, she fell short in the long program. But I think it is safe to say, Kwan is probably the most well known and beloved American figure skating icon since Peggy Flemming, if not ever, in the United States. For a recent interesting interview with Kwan, a Chicago Tribune sports writer who has covered her entire career interviews her reflecting on her legacy as a skater.
After graduating from the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University, she moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career involved in public policy – but no details to date have emerged as to what her actual next steps are. Personally, I do hope she helps inspire a new generation of Americans to become more civically involved in one way or another by example as what she has done for young figure skaters across America. Kwan has truly lived an amazing and inspiring life and I continue to look forward to what she does in her next career.