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Paneru
Apr 12th, 2006, 05:27 PM
Kwan Is Coming Back Around
Still Healing, Veteran Is Happy And Hopeful To Compete Again

http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan-action2.jpg

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006; Page E03

FORT MYERS, Fla. Michelle Kwan picked up a Styrofoam cup from the breakfast table laid out for the figure skaters preparing for an exhibition this weekend and poured herself a half-cup of coffee. Like the last time she did an interview, Kwan wore all black. But today, zippered up in a sweat suit, she settled into a padded chair and made it clear her clothing didn't match her mood.

Unlike during a somber February news conference when she announced she was dropping out of the Olympic figure skating competition, Kwan talked hopefully about skating competitively again and volunteered a story: Her older brother Ron and sister Karen attended the Olympic women's free skate final while Kwan watched at home on television.

Kwan's siblings had ordered tickets long in advance. Ron had been traveling through Europe on a trip that concluded in Italy. Karen had reserved an apartment in the city. They decided to go, even without their little sister on the program. Moments after the free skate had ended, Karen ran out to the concourse and dialed Michelle's number on her cellphone.

Michelle, who had been watching the event at her home in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., with her parents, heard the din of the crowd in the background, the rumble of the announcer's voice.

"You should be here," Karen said.

Kwan, of course, had been there, but she left amid tears, camera flashes, forlorn Olympic officials and some criticism after an agonized, fitful quest to compete. But all of a sudden, it was as if she were back. As fellow American Sasha Cohen absorbed the disappointment of falling out of a first-place finish, Michelle Kwan could hear the muffled, familiar sounds of competition concluding and an emptying arena.

It was, she said, kind of funny.

Except that it really wasn't.

The sisters ended up sobbing. Some 6,000 miles apart, they cried not onto each other's shoulders, but into their phones. :hug:

For Kwan, whose hopes of making a third run at a still-elusive Olympic gold medal were dashed by a string of injuries leading up to the Turin Games, watching the women's final punctuated an emotional, tumultuous time from which she only now is emerging. If there is one thing she discovered while taking six weeks off from the ice in an attempt to heal her still beat-up body, it's that the injuries and uproar did not touch her core. The Olympics left her feeling wounded, but she remains tantalized by the possibility of competing again.

Friday's appearance here at Germain Arena with the Champions on Ice tour's first of more than 60 shows marks her first performance -- albeit not in a competition -- since she competed in a made-for-television event in Boston in December.

Wednesday morning, she bumped into Cohen -- whom she hadn't seen since Boston -- in a corridor and exchanged a hug and polite banter. She had previously chatted with Olympic bronze medal winner Irina Slutskaya, 27, and both joked they might see each other at the next Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.

"Right now, being healthy is my main focus," Kwan said. "Right now, everything is determined by my health. . . . You never know what will happen in four years if both of us keep our eligibility."

On this tour, which runs until August, Kwan plans to present a program to Natalie Cole's remake of Leon Russell's "A Song for You," but it won't include a single jump. Her doctor, she said, advised her not to overtax her groin and hip, which also was injured last fall, so the best she can hope for is to add a jump or two by the time the tour arrives at Verizon Center for two shows April 15. (Kimmie Meissner, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Evgeni Plushenko and others will also be performing.)

"I've never done that before, never choreographed a program without jumps," Kwan said. "When I'm feeling up to it, when I'm feeling better, then I'll say, 'Okay, it's time to jump.' . . . It's hard doing spirals and spins without jumping."

At least, though, she is back on the ice.

"It's hard not skating for six weeks," she said. "It's so much a part of me. It beats going to the gym every day. When I don't move, I feel lethargic and tired."

So there was no relief to get away from the sport?

"Competition is what I love," she said. "Being out there is what I love. Testing myself if what I love."

After abruptly dropping out of the Games, she declined to join her brother in Paris because, she said, she didn't want her pouting to ruin his vacation. NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol invited her to commentate at the women's Olympic competition. Dozens of major news shows and outlets requested interviews. She turned down everything.

She instead flew immediately home with her parents, knowing newspapers and Web sites were littered with what read like obituaries about her departure. For the next two weeks, Kwan said, she watched the Olympics devotedly, obsessively. She tuned into "Today Show" broadcasts from Turin at 7 a.m. She watched the latest events shown at night. Curling, hockey, speedskating; she did not discriminate.

She depended on her friends to keep things lighthearted, she said, but she dreaded the arrival of the women's figure skating event. Despite her anxiety, she was drawn to it. She could not skip it. Rather than watch with friends, she sought the presence of her mother and father, who briefly stood in as her coach before the 2002 Winter Games, where she won a bronze medal.

"I didn't know whether I wanted to watch the Olympics with my parents because I didn't want them to see me be emotional," Kwan said. "But I'm glad I did. . . . I needed to share it with them."

And now she wonders if she can get back. Her body, clearly, is protesting vehemently. It's pushing, even more than all those people who have asked her since after her first Olympics in Nagano in 1998: Why don't you just turn pro already?

"I've heard that since '98," she said, "Why don't you just call it quits? But look at [43-year-old] Roger Clemens and [44-year-old] Chris Chelios. They're veterans. They're probably the oldest, and still the best, or one of the best. If you can still perform, if you can still do it, why not? No one is giving you anything . As long as you love it, why not?"

Here, perhaps, is why not: Kwan described getting out of bed every morning as an exercise in pain management. She clutched her back and moved her arms slowly to mimic the gradual unwinding. Her back creaks. Her legs stiffen. Her buttocks ache. It takes sessions with therapists and hours of just moving around to feel . . . young again.

Kwan is 25.

"By the afternoon," she said, "it's like I'm back to myself again."

Kwan said she intends to decide for certain which direction to send her life by the summer's end. She plans to finish her degree at UCLA in the near future and has a variety of acting and other options.

But she said she wants to see how she feels on the ice when not beset by injuries before even considering ending a career that brought her five world championships and nine U.S. titles.

"Some people have definite answers," Kwan said. "That's not me. But when it's a definite answer, it will be written in stone. I'm always good for my word."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/05/AR2006040502335.html



[I]Pics from last night at the
Marshalls U.S. Figure Skating International Showcase

http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan-action2.jpghttp://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan.jpg

Monday practice:

http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/klavano-kwan.jpg

http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan3.jpg http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan2.jpg http://www.usfsa.org/content/events/200506/marshallsshowcase/kwan1.jpg

Paneru
Apr 12th, 2006, 05:27 PM
Pics from the Champions On Ice skating tour
running throughout the US from April to August

http://img134.imageshack.us/img134/5039/bilde2tj.jpghttp://img134.imageshack.us/img134/8067/img05198aq.jpg

http://img393.imageshack.us/img393/5538/img05827jn.jpghttp://img134.imageshack.us/img134/480/img05957ns.jpg

Infiniti2001
Apr 12th, 2006, 05:49 PM
Hey, she's in my town, but I won't be attending champions on ice this year waaaaaaaaaaa :sad:

Wannabeknowitall
Apr 12th, 2006, 06:06 PM
I love Kwan but even I am getting a bit tired of her.
It's best for her to turn pro if she can't perform the jumps to be as competitive as she wants.
Then again she can't be any worse than Sasha.
I hope she enjoys the soul searching that she will be doing on the ice this spring.

Crazy Canuck
Apr 12th, 2006, 06:15 PM
She looks very nice in some of those photos. If she is still driven to be competitive, then that is what she should do... whether she's as good as she once was or not.

Infiniti2001
Apr 12th, 2006, 06:18 PM
She looks very nice in some of those photos. If she is still driven to be competitive, then that is what she should do... whether she's as good as she once was or not.

:yeah:

Brooks.
Apr 12th, 2006, 06:58 PM
She's so pretty :hearts: :hearts:

I love Michelle ! :D

GrandSlam05
Apr 12th, 2006, 07:46 PM
Well, I don't think Michelle will compete IF she can't do the jumps anymore (ie she at least needs to be able to pull off a lutz). When you've enjoyed that much success, you aren't going to be happy with 5th place. Having said that, if she does get the jumps back, she'd be very competitive. Look what won the olympics: a six triple program with no 3/3s. A program that was less than Hughes or Lipinski. Ladies skating has plateaued IMO. Sure, you'll get a spectacular performance once in a while with a couple of 3/3s or 3axel, but it will be the exception rather than the norm I think. Meissner is pulling off 3/3s with relative ease, but IMO she's another Lipinski. Wait until her body changes or she gets injured from all the constant stress.

Paneru
Apr 13th, 2006, 12:21 AM
I love Kwan but even I am getting a bit tired of her.
It's best for her to turn pro if she can't perform the jumps to be as competitive as she wants.
Then again she can't be any worse than Sasha.
I hope she enjoys the soul searching that she will be doing on the ice this spring.

She can still do the jumps, it's by her doctors orders that she not do them for the Champions On Ice Tour now because he wants her groin to heal completely. Since it's just exhibition/show skating their is no need for her to jump at all. She said recently she's looking to add the jumps near the end of the tour.

I think if her body can't get her where she wants to be, she'll simply retire from competitive skating. The pro-circut is dead. Their is no incentive and really nothing she can do or get as a "pro" that she can't get or hasn't gotten now as an "Olympic Eligible". Kwan makes more money than any pro skater makes right now. She's the highest paid skater in all of figure skating.

So, their is no reason to give up her Olympic eligibility.
She could very easily and I think she will, skip next season or two
and still return if she wants and her body is well again. That way she
can finish school and do the others things she wants to do and still come back.

She looks to be in very good spirits which were raised by all her friends on tour, especially Irina Slutskaya whom she is really close with as both are the so-called "old ladies" of skating.

From last week
http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2006/04/05/PH2006040502487.jpg


Whatever decisions she makes, it's just nice
to see her happy again.

M2k
Apr 13th, 2006, 01:08 AM
I love Kwan but even I am getting a bit tired of her.


I actually think she'll retire. It does seem like her body is telling her that time has come... if she sticks around for another year, then all the luck to her.:) Maybe she wants to end her career on a happier note(perhaps a good finish at US nationals)

M2k
Apr 13th, 2006, 01:24 AM
The pro-circut is dead. Their is no incentive and really nothing she can do or get as a "pro" that she can't get or hasn't gotten now as an "Olympic Eligible"


...True. She has said it herself that the pro-circut is not for her. She doesn't enjoy it as much as competition.Which is understandable, not everyone is made for pro skating. PLus she has school and other things that she might want to explore. She once said that if she goes pro, it would only be to finish her contracts, which should be ending in about a year.

M2k
Apr 13th, 2006, 01:33 AM
From last week
http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2006/04/05/PH2006040502487.jpg





btw, that picture is beautiful.:hearts: Irina and Michelle were the two best skaters of their generation. Call me selfish but I want to see her at nationals one more year :( she can call it quits after that:lol: apart from Sasha (who's hinting retirement) the next crop of American skaters leave me cold :confused:

Crazy Canuck
Apr 13th, 2006, 03:05 AM
btw, that picture is beautiful.:hearts: Irina and Michelle were the two best skaters of their generation. Call me selfish but I want to see her at nationals one more year :( she can call it quits after that:lol: apart from Sasha (who's hinting retirement) the next crop of American skaters leave me cold :confused:
Me too :( I want to like Kimmie, I really do... but after Sasha stops competing I guess I'll have to root on the Canadian girls (Joannie and Cynthia) for lack of anybody else that I want to root for :shrug:

GrandSlam05
Apr 13th, 2006, 03:05 AM
Part of the reason the pro-circuit is so dead is because the big stars aren't skating in it. I mean, Lipinski skated SOI for a couple years until her hip was totally shot, but she wasn't really the big star anyway as Michelle was and she stayed olympic-eligible. It would give pro skating somewhat of a boost if Kwan were to retire and turn pro. Hughes went on to college, etc.
However, pro skating will probably never see days like it did in the mid-1990s. I remember turning on the tv and every weekend there was a pro competition. This big boom was the direct result of Harding-Kerrigan incident, but once there was no more controversy the interest in skating subsided. Still, if more people like Kwan would turn pro and stay healthy, it could get interesting and competitive again (though nothing like 10 yrs. ago).

Alena
Apr 13th, 2006, 10:44 AM
I didn't know that they are friends with Irina. I'm glad to know this, cause I'm a huge fan of Irirna.

Paneru
Apr 13th, 2006, 11:21 AM
I didn't know that they are friends with Irina. I'm glad to know this, cause I'm a huge fan of Irirna.


http://heatherw.com/mk/pics/other/mkisbing.jpg


They've know each other since 94' and their friendship
seem to really blossom after their collision on the ice in 98'.

M2k
Apr 13th, 2006, 11:52 AM
Me too :( I want to like Kimmie, I really do... but after Sasha stops competing I guess I'll have to root on the Canadian girls (Joannie and Cynthia) for lack of anybody else that I want to root for :shrug:

...speaking of Joannie, her "like a Prayer" short program was a thing of beauty.

I also want to like Kimmie...but find her skating a bit too mechanical. Great competitor though.

Infiniti2001
Apr 13th, 2006, 04:05 PM
Michele on the View :kiss:
http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/343/grabbedframe21vc.jpg
http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/6669/withjoy6mm.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/7676/meritdithandstarr6od.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/1473/michele0qw.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/1001/alltheladies3ki.jpg

Sally Struthers
Apr 13th, 2006, 04:06 PM
Michelle is ok with me except for the last few years she's been doing basically the same program to different music. :shrug:

Paneru
Apr 13th, 2006, 04:35 PM
Michele on the View :kiss:
http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/343/grabbedframe21vc.jpg
http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/6669/withjoy6mm.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/7676/meritdithandstarr6od.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/1473/michele0qw.jpg
http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/1001/alltheladies3ki.jpg

She looks awesome! :drool:

GrandSlam05
Apr 13th, 2006, 04:46 PM
Michelle is ok with me except for the last few years she's been doing basically the same program to different music. :shrug:
I agree Sally. And it's not really the her choreographers who are at fault, as much as I love Michelle, it's her. Usually she would have a very well-choreographed program early in the season, then by Nats and Worlds about 1/2 of the choreography was ditched, the pattern on the ice was identical to the previous year's program, same jump order etc. I still love to watch her, but she's not the same skater she was '96-'99. Somewhere along the lines she got a little lazy on us. Of course, I think she just wanted to do the minimum it took to win, and that's probably what I'd do too. :lol: Why work your butt off when you can do less and still win?

Paneru
Apr 13th, 2006, 05:03 PM
Michelle is ok with me except for the last few years she's been doing basically the same program to different music. :shrug:

I hear you Sally and to Michelle's credit,
she brought life and excitement to them.

Main program being IMO, The Red Violin.
I wish she had just ignored those judges
who had a talk with her. It was amazing
at Skate America and nearly unrecognizable
by worlds.

And my biggest gripe was The Miraculous Mandarin.
That was one of the most interesting programs
I'd ever seen her do and for just two weeks of work
I was amazed at how great it was.

Then, due to poor reception from the judges and fans
she and her coach decided to ditch it and go back
to Song of The Black Swan. :o