Kwan, Michelle (Wing) 1980–
Kwan, Michelle (Wing) 1980–
ADDRESSES: Office—United States Figure Skating Association, 20 First St., Colorado Springs, CO 80906; Ice Castle International Training Center, P.O. Box 939, 480 Cottage Grove Rd., Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352; HealthSouth Training Center, 555 Nash St., El Segundo, CA 90245. Agent—Proper Marketing Associates, 322 Vista Del Mar, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.
CAREER: Amateur figure skater. Appeared in television specials, including An Evening of Championship Skating, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), 1993; Peter Pan, Greatest Hits on Ice (also known as Disney's Greatest Hits on Ice), Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), 1994; An Evening of Championship Skating, PBS, 1995; 1995 World Figure-Skating Championships, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1995–2000; State Farm U.S. Figure-Skating Championships, American Broadcasting Companies (ABC), 1995–00, 2001–02; Too Hot to Skate, CBS, 1995, 1997; ABC's Best Figure-Skating Performances of 1996, ABC, 1996; Campbell's Soups 1996 Tour of World Figure-Skating Champions, ABC, 1996; Christmas in Toyland, The Family Channel, 1996; Hershey's Kisses International Skating Challenge, ABC, 1996; Skate International Champions Final, Fox, 1996–97; Skate International of Canada, Fox, 1996–97; Skate International of France, Fox, 1996; Skate International of Germany, Fox, 1996–97; Skate International of Japan and Russia, Fox, 1996; Thrifty Car Rental Skate America International, ABC, 1996; Thrifty Car Rental Skating Spectacular, ABC, 1996; U.S. Postal Service Skating Challenge, ABC, 1996; The Chevrolet Skating Spectacular, ABC, 1997; Continents Cup, CBS, 1997; The Cotton Incorporated Ultimate Four, NBC, 1997; Elvis on Ice, Turner Broadcasting System (TBS), 1997; Sea World and Busch Gardens Adventures: Alien Vacation!, CBS, 1997; Skating Romance III: Love Is in the Air, USA Network, 1997; Reflections on Ice: Michelle Kwan Skates to the Music of Disney's "Mulan," ABC/Disney Channel, 1998; Campbell's Soups Champions on Ice, ABC, 1998; The Golden Gala Skating Championships, NBC, 1998; 1998 Goodwill Games, TBS/CBS/Home Box Office (HBO), 1998; The Ultimate Four Skating Championship, NBC, 1998; Ultimate Performance: The Science behind Olympic Competition, Discovery Channel, 1998; U.S. Pro Figure Skating Classic, ABC, 1998; Michelle Kwan Skates to Disney's Greatest Hits, ABC, 1999; The Equal Sweetener World Pro, NBC, 1999; FTD Champions on Ice, TBS, 1999; The Masters of Figure Skating, TNT, 1999; The Champions-on-Ice Summer Tour 2000, TNT, 2000; Fire on Ice: Champions of American Figure Skating, Arts and Entertainment, 2001; Michelle Kwan: People in the News (documentary), 2001; Michelle Kwan: Princess on Ice, ABC, 2001; Wax Museum: History of Madame Tussaud's (documentary), 2001; Wide World of Sports 40th Anniversary Special, ABC, 2001; ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, ABC, 2001; A Skating Tribute (The Legacy of the 1961 U.S. World Team), ABC, 2001; The 2001 Summer Goodwill Games, TNT, 2001; All-Star Olympic Salute: Countdown to Salt Lake City, NBC, 2002; Bud Greenspan Presents: Michelle Kwan (documentary), 2002; SportsCentury: Michelle Kwan (documentary), ESPN, 2002; Team USA: The Olympic Journey, Oxygen, 2002; and Intimate Portrait: Peggy Fleming, 2003. Appeared at televised awards presentations, including Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, 1998; Disney's American Teacher Awards, Disney Channel, 1999; and Lifetime Presents Disney's American Teacher Awards, Lifetime, 2000. Guest star on episodes of television programs, including "Peggy Fleming," Biography, Arts and Entertainment, 1998; (as herself) "Sabrina, the Teenage Writer," Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, ABC, 1999; (as voice) "A Hero Sits Next Door," Family Guy (animated), Fox, 1999; (as herself) Tonya Harding: The E! True Hollywood Story, E! Entertainment Television, 2000; (as herself) The Jersey, Disney Channel; and (as herself) Clueless, ABC/UPN; and contributed voice characterization for "The Good Sport" segment, Arthur (animated), PBS. Appeared in film Olympic Glory, 1999; appeared as voice of Michelle in film Mulan II (animated), 2006.
AWARDS, HONORS: Gold medals, World Junior Figure-Skating Championships, 1994; U.S. National Figure-Skating Championships, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004; World Figure-Skating Championships, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003; Outstanding Achievement in Sports Award, Chinese American Museum; Reader's Choice Award (officially renamed "Michelle Kwan Trophy"), Skating magazine, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003; named Sportswoman of the Month, United States Olympic Committee, January, 1996, March, 1996, November, 1996, October, 1997, January, 1998, April, 1998, August, 1998, April, 2000, April, 2001, January, 2002, January, 2003, March, 2003; named figure skating athlete of the year, United States Olympic Committee, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000; Dial Award, 1997; Individual Sportswoman of the Year Award, Women's Sports Foundation, 1998; James E. Sullivan Award, Amateur Athletic Union, 2001; Kids Choice Award for favorite female athlete, Nickelodeon, 2002, 2003; named Cosmo Girl! of the Year, 2002; Teen Choice Award for favorite female athlete, 2002.
(With Laura James) Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1998.
(With Laura James) The Winning Attitude! What It Takes to Be a Champion, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1999.
Michelle Kwan: My Special Moments, Volo (New York, NY), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Amateur figure skater Michelle Kwan has been the reigning queen of her sport, in many Americans' hearts if not always on the medal stand, since she won her first U.S. National competition in 1996 at the age of fifteen. Although Kwan has finished no higher than second in any Olympic competition, in every other regard she is the most-decorated skater of her generation. To Newsweek contributor Mark Starr, she is also "the most respectful, least self-involved superstar athlete you've ever met." This attitude shows through in her autobiography, Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion, as well, Susan Elia commented in a review of the book for Dance. In one passage, Kwan speaks of regaining her focus and her joy in skating midway through the 1997 world championships, in time to win the long program but after a poor short program had made it nearly impossible for her to finish first overall. "Tara [Lipinski, a fellow American skater] had won, and I had come in second," Kwan wrote. "But that was fine. My wings were back." "This kind of graceful self-examination makes Kwan's writing shine," Elia declared.
Besides talking about skating, in Michele Kwan the athlete also gives "moving accounts" of her family's history, noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Her parents were both born in China and came to the United States in the 1970s. To give their two daughters a chance to be figure-skating champions, the Kwans worked hard and sacrificed much, at one point even mortgaging their house to pay for lessons. (Kwan's older sister, Karen, is also a top-ranked figure skater; she finished fifth at the U.S. Nationals in 1996.) It is in part "Kwan's strong love of family" that makes the book "an inspirational resource for young readers," the Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded.
Kwan is also the author of a self-help book for kids, The Winning Attitude! What It Takes to Be a Champion. Her advice in the book is "uncomplicated and down-to-earth," Barbara Wysocki noted in School Library Journal. "She stresses core values such as discipline, flexibility, and patience," values that have made Kwan such a decorated athlete and that continue to propel her career.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Great Women in Sports, Visible Ink Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2000.
Sports Stars, Series 1-4, U∗X∗L (Detroit, MI), 1994–98.
Booklist, December 15, 2001, Patricia Austin, review of The Winning Attitude! What It Takes to Be a Champion, pp. 745-746.
Dance, July, 1998, Susan Elia, review of Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion, pp. 88-89.
Europe Intelligence Wire, March 29, 2003, "Kwan Nabs Perfect Mark to Capture World Short Program."
Investor's Business Daily, April 12, 2001, Curt Schleier, review of Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion, p. A04.
Newsweek, February 17, 1997, Mark Starr, "Iron Will, Golden Dreams," pp. 52-54; March 29, 1999, Mark Starr, "The Long, Winding Road to Gold: Michelle Kwan Recalls the Pain of Nagano and Her Hopes for Salt Lake City," p. 66; March 26, 2001, Mark Starr, "Michelle's Next Turn: Skating's Princess Tries to Hold on to Her Crown," p. 46; February 18, 2002, Mark Starr, "Kwan Song: At Her Last-Chance Olympics, a New, Tougher and More Focused Michelle Kwan Will Fight for Figure Skating's Most Treasured Prize," p. 50; March 24, 2003, interview with Kwan, p. 67.
People, February 14, 1994, Michelle Neill, "In the Wings Waits Rising Star Michelle Kwan," p. 35; November 17, 1997, "Belle on the Ball: After a Year of Spills, Skater Michelle Kwan Turns Grow-ing Pains into Glowing Reviews," pp. 213-215; March 29, 1999, "High Hopes: Bouncing Back from Her Olympic Loss, Michelle Kwan Has the Worlds at Her Feet," p. 85; May 8, 2000, p. 144; January 28, 2002, Jill Smolowe, "Fire on Ice: After a Nail-biting Championship, the U.S. Sends One of Its Best Skating Teams Ever to Salt Lake City—with Michelle Kwan as the Main Attraction," p. 124.
Publishers Weekly, November 10, 1997, review of Michelle Kwan: Heart of a Champion, p. 75.
School Library Journal, September, 2001, Barbara Wysocki, review of The Winning Attitude!, p. 78.
Sports Illustrated, January 19, 1998, E. M. Swift, "A Star Is Reborn," pp. 48-50; February 9, 1998, pp. 114-118.
Sports Illustrated Women, January 1, 2001, E. M. Swift, "Kwan's Song," p. 56; February 1, 2002, Russell Scott, "Whither the Queen?," p. 66.
Transpacific, April, 1994, Andrew Park, "America's Next Ice Princess," pp. 44-45.
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (May 27, 2004), "Michelle Kwan."
U.S. Figure Skating Association Web site, http://www.usfsa.org/ (August 27, 2003), "Michelle Kwan."