Bijoux, gosh, just when I get all riled up in my Michelle-protector mode, you go and get all rational and reasonable on me! But seriously, thank you for not responding in kind when I went off on you a little bit in my previous post.
About beauty, this is going to sound so corny I can't believe I'm saying it, but all of the skaters that you mentioned -- Michelle, Tara, Sarah, Sasha, Jenny -- have the beauty that God blessed them with. As for the eye of the beholder, "those that have eyes, let them see."
Do you know the song, "Everything is beautiful at the ballet," from Chorus Line? That's how it is in figure skating. And in fact I think that is the primary appeal of the sport to its youngest participants. Little girls like to dress up in frilly costumes and have everybody tell them how pretty they look. This doesn't have much appeal to little boys, who think it's more fun to play games where they get to bash into each other, hence the dearth of male skaters in the U.S. at all levels.
For me, figure skating is my temporary escape into a better and more beautiful world. It provides both solace and inspiration. What more could we ask of any sport? What more could we ask of Michelle Kwan than that she continue to give, performance after performance, everything that is her heart to give. Some people (foolishly in my opinion) say that the sport would be better off if Michelle moved on, allowing other skaters a chance to become stars. To me, this is backward. We need more Michelle Kwans, not (one) fewer. What is holding the other ladies back is not Michelle Kwan, it is their own skating. If you want to be the champion, you have to beat the champion.
There she stands.