Sunday, December 18, 2011

Long Live the Kween!!

Hall of Fame Class of 2012: Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan will be inducted into the Figure Skating Hall of Fame next year in San Jose, CA--the site where she began her historic march to 9 US titles back in 1996.  Of course we all knew this was coming...duh.  I mean, it's Michelle Kwan!

And because it's Michelle Kwan, the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 consists of only one person:  Michelle.  In all fairness, who wants to be inducted at the same time Michelle Kwan is?  Anyone coming after her will be nothing more than an afterthought.  What skater in modern history can go toe-to-toe with Michelle in terms of accomplishments?  There isn't one...

For all Michelle has done for US figure skating she deserves a queen's welcome into the HOF.  Michelle Kwan is US Figure Skating.  No one since has matched what she accomplished.  She spoiled this country, winning medal after medal and title after title for a full decade.  She carried the sport on her back and since she's been gone, no other US lady has stepped up to carry that load.  Though to be fair, it's an impossibly tall order to ask someone to fill.

What US woman has the entire package?  A package that includes jumps and consistency, choreography and interpretation, focus and mental toughness, drive and motivation, fire and passion, grace and elegance, class and humility, star power and that "it" factor...Michelle had all of that and then some.  It's incredible to think that one person had so many wonderful qualities.  It's a rare and complicated combination that has yet to be replicated.  That's why we've flip-flopped US champions ever since she left; none of these ladies have the total package.

There's one omission in Michelle's resume: Olympic gold.  But would Olympic gold make her more of a legend than she already is?  I don't think so.  Her 9 US championships, 9 consecutive world medals--5 of them gold--2 Olympic medals and 43 championship titles will stand alone for quite some time.  No one is close to matching her right now and given the current landscape of skating, I don't see anyone coming close for a long time.  What she did in her career is so far beyond an Olympic gold'd be a superfluous addition to an outstanding list of accomplishments.  She's a bigger legend because she doesn't have one.  Missing out on Olympic gold in 1998 and 2002 motivated Michelle to keep competing for that opportunity to try again.  In pursuit of that single dream of becoming Olympic champion, Michelle ended up becoming a figure skating legend...and that's worth far more than an Olympic medal.

But more important than the medals is the person.  Michelle has always been a humble and gracious competitor, and a kind and caring person.  It's no wonder she's found so much success throughout her life.  Her figure skating career was astonishing but her endeavors outside of skating have been just as impressive and inspiring.  She was a remarkable skater and continues to be a remarkable and inspiring woman and a great representative of this country.

I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to grow up watching Michelle Kwan skate, and to see US skating at the height of its glory.  Michelle was such an inspiration and continues to be an inspiration for skaters today.  This country is lucky to have had her and this sport is better for having had her.


  1. I loved reading this, it helped to erase that nagging bit of dissapointment that I still feel sometimes when I think of the '98 and '02 Olympics...

  2. To the author of this blog- I am a 69yr old African American female who followed Michelle's career from the begining. I could not have said it better. You are so right on with your description of her skating and what it meant to her fans and her country. I agree with all you have said 300%. IMO there will NEVER be another skater male or female who will come anywhere near matching her accomplishments on the ice, period. She may not have won an Olympic Gold Medal(which makes me sad only because she wanted it so badly) but she is a legend in and out of the skating world. I knew she would be inducted into the US HOF as soon as she was eligable. She is also eligible for the International HOF and I am going to nominate her. Go to the USFSA home page and you will see how to nominate her. Individuals can do so. You can fill out the form online. Tell all members of this forum about this but gather your facts first as they as for dates, etc. I found all the info I needed on wikipedia. I would like nothing better than to see her skate before they give her the award as I've never gotten over not seeing her do a farewell skate. I hope and pray that they show the presentation on tv. I'd love to be there in person but finances won't allow it since I live on a fixed income. Thank you for the very accurate description of our girl and what she means to us. I hope she reads your blog.

  3. Michelle handled disappointment in public and demonstrated a viable behavior to all of us. I became her fan because she was willing to wear her heart on her sleeve and survive both success and defeat, as we all watched. In addition to her laudable personal qualities, her skill and passion as a figure skater is unmatched (from my perspective.) She has not allowed skating to define her, but has prepared herself for the next chapter in her life. My admiration and respect for Michelle continue. Thank you Michelle.

  4. I said it in 96 and I'll say it again now, Michelle Kwan is the greatest figure skater of all time. And after watching her grow up and compete for so many years, we all now know how great of a person she is as well. In a world full of role model athletes that are full of ego and poor choices, Michelle is someone we all can look up to, whether it is for skating or any other part of our lives. She simply has class, something sorely lacking in the land of the Kardashians and Housewives


    Aunt Joyce sucks now, now I can go here for skating news

  6. I love MK so very much! Whenever I watch one of her videos I always fall into the bowels of youtube and waste hours at a time watching all of them. I was always kind of happy that she didn't win gold in '98 because she kept skating and she got so much better! Watching her performances from 2000 onward blow my mind because she kept growing and her spins kept getting better and better. I can't help but be sad when I think of how her career ended disappointingly and she never achieved her ultimate goal. I'll always be grateful that I can look to the beautiful performances she graced us with. And I will always cry when I watch her skate "Fields of Gold" and "Hands." This was a great article and you really summed up what she meant to me. I feel extremely lucky to have grown up watching her and having her as my role model. She is part of the reason why I never doubted that a woman could do or be anything that she wants to be. She not only carried the sport on her back, she carried the hopes and dreams of little girls everywhere. I only hope that I can meet her someday so I can thank her for all that she's given us. Now if only she'd come back to professional skating and grace us with brilliance!

  7. Kwan is an American legend but I found her skating to be incredibly dull. Puts me to sleep. Sorry. None of her programs do anything for me. She was never artistic imo. But she is a humble and classy person. Just don't care for her skating. Bleh. Still, she was better than Lipinski.