Mag Minute: Olympic skater Michelle Kwan
June, 7, 2012
By Amy Brachmann | ESPN The Magazine
Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty ImagesMichelle Kwan won a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics, a bronze in 2002 and five world titles.What question are you asked most by the fans?
It’s not a question as much as “Come back!”
What’s one thing you always have with you (and you can’t say a phone)?
I used to have a lucky charm that my grandmother gave me. It was a gold medallion I wore around my neck. But since that fell off, I don’t really have anything.
What’s the most embarrassing music you have to admit you listen to?
I don’t really listen to anything embarrassing, but I have some oldies but goodies. Jewel’s first album, early Usher, things like that. People think they’re so old, but I still like them.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
My parents gave me a lot of great advice, but the best was probably, “Live life with no regrets.” I take that with me everywhere I go.
What’s the biggest misconception about you?
I don’t think there is one. I learned early on, and especially from events in 1994, to be honest, good or bad. And I am. So people know who I am.
What’s your workout like these days?
I obviously don’t work out as much as I used to. Nowadays, if I get in an hour and a half of yoga, I’m really proud of myself. It’s like, “Yes! I feel great!” And then I think back to when I would work out six hours a day. Wow. But my body is probably more comfortable and happier now. As for what I do, I really change it up. Bikram yoga, regular yoga, rollerblading -- I love doing that -- snowboarding in the winter, golf -- I like to do that and carry my bag -- tennis, swimming. I don’t spend much time in the gym anymore because I did that for years -- working out, counting reps, regimenting the schedule. Now I can go play, so I like to do that. Plus, I don’t have to worry about getting injured anymore.
How tough was the mental transition from full-time athlete to working out for fun and fitness?
It was a long transition, but one I prepared for. At first, it’s, "What do you do?" I went from a rigid schedule that I’d had for years -- since I was a little girl -- to having all this down time. But I also went from being a full-time athlete to being a full-time student. So instead of six hours of training, I had six hours of classes. It was mostly a transfer of focus.
If you were a talk show host, which celebrity would you want as your first guest?
Ellen DeGeneres. I love her. I love how she loves to dance, and she's funny but can also be serious. She’s great.
If you could go to dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? And where would you go?
Abe Lincoln. I’d love to hear about all of his experiences and the challenges he went through, and then to think about where we are today and how far we’ve come.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Exercise. I love it. I have to have it. Maybe it’s the athlete in me, but I’ll give up sleep before I’ll give up exercise.
What is your most irrational fear?
Flying. I hate it, but obviously I have to do it. I’ve made a lot of really good friends on planes -- grabbing onto their hands.
What game show would you like to be a contestant on?
Ever since I was little I’ve loved "The Price is Right." Is that still on?
What place in the world do you most want to visit?
I’m taking a trip to Scotland and Dublin soon. I’ll be running the Olympic torch there, and it’ll be for my birthday. So that’s very exciting.
What was your best Halloween costume?
I think Fred Flintstone, and my sister was Barney.
What is your secret hidden talent?
I can turn my tongue completely sideways.
What’s your least favorite chore?
Dishes. I hate doing the dishes. I don’t mind cooking, but I wish someone else would wash the dishes.