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Michelle Kwan

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Biography

Michelle Wing Kwan (關çİŽçŠ) (born 7 July 1980) is an American figure skater and media celebrity who has won nine U.S. championships, five world championships, and two Olympic medals. She has remained competitive for over a decade and is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. Known for her consistency and expressive artistry on ice, she is widely considered to be one of the greatest figure skaters of all time.

Kwan dined with U.S. President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao during President Hu's 2006 state visit to the United States.

Kwan wrote an inspirational book for kids titled, The Winning Attitude: What it Takes to be a Champion. She also wrote an autobiography, Heart of a Champion, at 17.

In 1991 Michelle and sister Karen began training with Frank Carroll, a leading figure skating coach. After one year of coaching by Carroll, 11-year old Michelle placed 9th at the junior-level at the United States Figure Skating Championships. At the age of 12 in 1992, Kwan passed the final test to become a senior-level figure skater despite the disapproval of her coach. In 1993, Kwan finished sixth at her first senior U.S. championships and later that year she won the 1994 World Junior title.

At the 1995 U.S. Championships, Nicole Bobek captured the gold medal, while Kwan again placed second after struggling with her lutz jump in both the short program and free skate. She advanced to the 1995 World Championships, where announcers and media called her a "jumping bean"; during her performances, she landed 7 clean triple jumps--more than any other skater--but placed 4th.

In the 1996–97 season, Kwan skated to "Dream of Desdemona" (short program) and "Taj Mahal" (free skate). It was during this year that Kwan debuted a change-of-edge spiral, which is still considered her signature move. However, in this season, Kwan struggled with her jumps because of a growth spurt and problems with new skating boots which she wore for an endorsement contract with the manufacturer. She fell twice and stumbled once in her free skate at 1997 U.S. Nationals. She also lost the Champion Series Final and World titles to Tara Lipinski that season.

Kwan is the only multiple winner of the "Readers' Choice Figure Skater of the Year" award given by Skating magazine (1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001-2003). In 2003, the United States Figure Skating Association, which publishes Skating, announced that the award would be renamed the "Michelle Kwan Trophy." The USFSA stated that although Kwan may continue to skate competitively, she will no longer be eligible for this award. She also appeared on International Figure Skating Magazine's "25 Most Influential Names in Figure Skating List" seven times, and was named the most influential skater for the 2002-03 season.

Kwan's competitive history spans over a decade, as she has been competing at the national level since she was 12 years old. This section shows her record in the U.S., World and Olympic Championships, along with the other top skaters she has competed against. The table at the top of this page below serves as a summary of some of Michelle Kwan's major competition results.



 


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