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Reward is worth the sacrifice
ABC Sports Online


Michelle Kwan, the reigning World Champion, took a moment in an interview for the Wide World 40th Anniversary to reflect on her figure skating success and how she hopes to be remembered in future. A portion of this exclusive interview follows.

ABC Sports
What was this past season like for you?

Michelle Kwan
This season has been rough for me. Not necessarily because I've been getting second against Irina (Slutskaya), but I feel at a competition, I'm always competing against myself, and for some reason, I'm always beating up myself. I haven't been able to go out there on the ice and just let it be, let myself be free. After Nationals and after the Grand Prix, I had to put myself together, sort of reorganize everything, get my brain straight, get my priorities straight, and just say, "Okay, why do I love skating so much?"

Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan was flawless in her title defense and the victory makes her the early favorite heading into the 2002 Olympics.
That's what I always have to ask myself, when you wake up in the morning and you're really tired, your body is aching from hard work the day before, and you still have to be consistent with your schedule, go to school, work out and go to the rink three times.

It's tough, but in the back of my mind I realize there are certain things that you have to give up in order to achieve something. My goals are so great and I feel it's worth that sacrifice. Sometimes my body is aching, but I always think, "Why am I in this? Why do I love it so much?" That's what makes me persevere, that's what makes me keep on going. I think it's the joy I have in the sport. The experiences I've gained through all the competitions, even the failures. You learn so much about yourself, about people. Skating has given me so much that it's priceless.

ABC Sports
What did this fourth world title mean to you?

Kwan
I can't believe I've been to eight World Championships. It's just amazing. Sometimes I think I'm really old for going to eight world championships, but I'm only 20 years old. I've got many years to come. And each world title has been so unique in its own way. Winning in Vancouver was really special to me because I've had a roller coaster year. That's not really a hot season and to end on such a high note, it just makes everything worthwhile.

You always know there are other competitions, even if I didn't win here. You just keep on going, keep on pushing, and never give up. When I was younger, I always dreamed of being a legend, to be remembered in figure skating. And to be in the same category as Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming and hopefully in a hundred years, people will remember who Michelle Kwan was, and what she did to the sport. I would just love to be able to give back to figure skating.

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video
 USA's Michelle Kwan's picturesque lay-back spin lands her in second place after the short program.
avi: 903 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1

 Michelle Kwan struggles while attempting her new long program, "The Miraculous Mandarin."
avi: 1962 k
RealVideo: 56.6 | ISDN | T1