museksk8r no skater will ever have such a collection of skating "masterworks for the ages" as those performances, again.
I'm forever grateful to Michelle for her gift; and her willingness to share it with the world
She has profoundly touched so many of us.
I loved her last truly great program, both at Nationals and Worlds. Tosca should have been Swan Song.
She will always be The Skater for me, as Kurt is among male skaters. I don't normally have much knowledge of very young skaters at the start of their careers unless you guys point them out to me, but I knew about Michelle when she was twelve and snuck herself into seniors, and I've followed her exploits ever since. I've never had cause to regret it. She brought the essence of music to life on the ice.
I watched several programs of Michelle last night, including some I have never seen before. And it was magic. All of a sudden I once more felt like the little girl I was back when she competed and she was casting her spell on me, taking me with her to a fairy tale world all over again. I can honestly say she was the first skater I ever fell in love with and had a huge influence on me becoming a hardcore skating fan.
None of the ladies I've seen to date has Michelle's kind of charisma. With her it was so easy to forget about technical elements and simply let her lead you wherever she wanted.
Those were truly the days. I miss that era of skating. Programs were far less complicated or complex, but somehow they had much more of a soul than these of today. Not only Michelle's but Yagudin's, A/P's, B/S's. I don't think we'll ever get that back, sadly. In striving to make skating more of a sport, they made it less of an art, which was probably the point, but for me as a fan it's just a shame.
So thank you Michelle for all the memories. My favourite ladies skater of all time.
More great responses here- many of you are making me tear up, actually. She was SO beautiful, and lyrical, and honest and pure in her emotion.
So far I have shown them a few short clips from 1994 and 1995, SP and LP from 1996 Worlds, and SP and LP from 1998 Nationals. They were both BLOWN AWAY. My stepdaughter wants a book about Michelle for Christmas. I wish there was a DVD called The Best of Michelle with all the programs you guys have listed here.
I also must say that Dick Button's commentary during her 1998 Nationals programs is some of the most moving and accurate and eloquent commentary ever done on skating programs.
I hope the ubers of the world's best jumper/skater in that order look at these and understand why we in US and many other places were moved by this girl. In fairness to MK and the girl who adored her, there are two diff systems, and one skater was an EXTROVERT, very loose and uncomplicated. Her little friend watching grew to skate much more complicated programs as she had to, in order to win. And she YK was an introvert, shy I think. MK worse her emotions on her sleeve and that is why these programs hold up, tho they are very simple by todays's standards. It is too bad they did not stress more difficult footwork then, so we could see what she was capable of. Tosca shows she could be very fast.
Lyra will stand as the quintessential MK program, I believe. It was different from the others. I'd also like to say I think MK learned a great deal about elegance from Kristi, Lu Chen and greats like Janet Lynn. It is too bad other skaters did not stay in , like Tara to see more comp. programs. What a body of work, tho. We do have many YuNa programs and Mao ones to admire, but Michelle skated so much, it is wonderfull to find the gems. To say here are 10 fabulous Sp and Lps is almost unheard of in FS as it is so hard.
Was Michelle really an extrovert? I remember her admitting to be more of an introvert. Caroll and Nichol helped to bring out her confidence and presence on the ice, but I always felt she wasn't a natural extrovert like Baiul or Bobek.
Body of work. Without peer or rival.
And now for the best part. Michelle’s skating career was just prelude. After returning to college (“I went to college on the ten year plan.” ), then achieving a master’s degree in international law and diplomacy from the prestigious Fletcher School, she went to work as international good will ambassador for the U.S. State Department through the tenures of two Presidents and three Secretaries of State, in addition to serving on the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and on the board of directors for the Special Olympics.
Michelle visits a school/orphanage for special needs children in China, on behalf of the U.S. State Department: