Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: Another great MK article

  1. #1
    Woman of the Waters
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    343

    Another great MK article

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports...ck=2&cset=true

    Embracing the glitter, chasing the gold
    Figure skater Michelle Kwan has money, fame and glamorous friends. But her bid for an 8th straight U.S. title--and Olympic glory--goes on

    By Philip Hersh
    Tribune Olympic sports reporter
    Published January 10, 2005


    LOS ANGELES -- Michelle Kwan wheeled her black Corvette into the valet lot at the Staples Center. In front of her, waiting to be parked, was a yellow Lamborghini, with pivoting scissor doors and a $300,000 price tag.

    "I wonder who was in that," Kwan said. "I still get star-struck."

    She also gets star treatment from the Los Angeles Lakers. Complimentary parking. Complimentary tickets one row behind the $2,000 courtside chairs, where Jack Nicholson and Michael Moore and Larry David and Renee Zellweger and George Lopez were sitting for this December game against Phoenix.

    "Is this not the way to go?" said Kwan, leading the way to the Chairman's Room, the A-list haunt at court level, where Nicholson dropped in a few minutes later.

    This is the part of Kwan's life one rarely sees, the part that goes with having been the world's best for a decade in a sport that blends the physical and the fanciful--Hercules gone Hollywood. The glitziest team in sports obviously is happy to have another star entertainer in the audience.

    It seems funny that she chews on celebrity gossip in People magazine with the hunger of fans like those who have turned an Internet fan forum into a shrine. Kwan, who can win a record-tying ninth U.S. figure skating title this week in Portland, Ore., is unsure of where and how she fits into a scene she enjoys being part of.

    Are you a celebrity?

    "I consider myself an athlete foremost."

    But are you a celebrity?

    "If a celebrity is someone who is well-known, I guess so."

    Keanu Reeves once told Kwan, "The world needs more grace and beauty like you." Jennifer Garner gasped in delight when they met.

    During the Lakers game, fans took pictures of Kwan, and one asked her to autograph the jacket of an Olympic history book. After the game, TV sitcom star Lopez waved her over for five minutes of shared pleasantries.

    Kwan goes to eight or 10 Lakers games a year, usually on weekends when she drives from her current training base in the mountains above Palm Springs to hang out with family and friends near her home in Los Angeles.

    "I feel like a superstar when I come here," the two-time Olympic medalist said. "I'm completely spoiled."

    So do you expect to be treated like a VIP the rest of your life?

    "My dad once told me, `If you had $20 shoes but now you are wearing $200 shoes, you better be able to wear $20 shoes again,'" Kwan said. "The one thing I've learned is never take it for granted. That's when celebrities get lost."

    Kwan actually was wearing spike-heeled Sergio Rossi boots--a brand with prices beginning at more than $200--jeans, a studded belt and a tight red tank top that bared her midriff. She noticed early in the game that Zellweger, wearing jeans and a loose, black sweater, was sitting a few feet away. The skating star wanted to meet the Oscar-winning actress but couldn't think of the right person to ask for an introduction.

    At halftime, Kwan left her seat and walked upstairs. Zellweger did the same a minute later. As the intermission ended, they came down the stairs talking to each other, then posed together as the skater's older sister, Karen, took snapshots.

    And?

    "We were in the ladies room at the same time," Kwan said. "I said to her, `Oh, my God, I love all your work.' And she said, `It's reciprocal.'"

    That's exactly what Zellweger said to you? "Reciprocal is a word you remember," Kwan said.

    Training days

    Memories like that help her endure the long days of three-a-day training sessions in isolated Lake Arrowhead, where it is hard to imagine how a 24-year-old avoids going stir crazy. She has no boyfriend, either in Los Angeles or in the mountains. Up there, as her father, Danny, ruefully notes when the bill arrives, the cell phone is Kwan's constant companion. The rest, as Henry James put it, is the madness of art.

    "If she didn't want to do it, she wouldn't," said Karen, a former skater who now is married and the mother of a 9-month-old girl. "No one is forcing Michelle to skate."

    Karen Kwan finished fifth at the 1995 senior nationals, when Nicole Bobek upset Michelle for the title. That was Michelle's third appearance at the senior nationals.

    Heading into her 13th nationals, Michelle Kwan has come to feel amazed by her longevity and to be thankful that after all these years, she still can do triple jumps.

    With five world titles and enough money to live on for the foreseeable future, Kwan is driven by a kid's enthusiasm for competition now tempered by the wisdom of old age, at least for a skater. So she insists on going at her own speed with the next Olympics a year away.

    Maybe that ability to pace herself is why she has a chance to win an eighth straight national title and record-setting 12th national medal. Only three of the other eight women who have shared U.S. podiums with Kwan over the last 11 seasons still are competing, and only one, Sasha Cohen, apparently has any real chance to beat her.

    "The toughest thing for me is to balance my life with skating because I have been in it so long," Kwan said over the roar of the Corvette's engine as the car rolled along freeways toward the Staples Center. "After the 2002 Olympics, if I wanted to stay in and compete, I wanted to do it on my terms."

    It sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too.

    "I guess you can look at it that way," she said.

    Grand Prix risk

    Her terms included not skating in any Grand Prix event the last two seasons, when that series has been a testing ground for the International Skating Union's new scoring system. This season the new system also will be used for the first time at the world championships.

    Kwan has been under fire for her decision to skip the Grand Prix. Some in the U.S. Figure Skating Association think she reneged on a commitment to the series this season, but she maintains there was no such commitment. Others find it foolhardy that she would not want to see how her skating is evaluated under the new system's parameters before the world meet.

    "I'm definitely curious," Kwan said.

    But not curious enough to try it out in the Grand Prix?

    "In my position, you can't just try it out, try it out, try it out," Kwan said. "You become more selective. I see all the skaters who have dropped out with injuries the past two years, and the last thing I want to do after all the years pushing my body is travel, travel, travel."

    Kwan said it will not bother her if the world meet judges slaughter her for what she believes is a good performance.

    "I'm not in it just to win; I'm in it to skate well. They can slaughter you either way," she said, an element of whistling through the graveyard in her words.

    Scoring well in the new system demands more footwork between jumps and higher-quality spins than Kwan did in her two ersatz competitions last fall, pro-ams judged the old way. She won the first and lost the second to her old rival, Russia's Irina Slutskaya, the leading skater in the world this season.

    "I have to be honest: Working on new footwork, spins and things isn't easy," Kwan said.

    Her work on those elements was interrupted in October by allergy problems that forced her to leave Lake Arrowhead for a month and train without a coach in the Los Angeles suburb of Lakewood. Kwan's coach, Rafael Arutunian, said she won't increase the difficulty of her programs for the national meet, where the old 6.0 system still is being used and she must finish in the top three to make the world team.

    "You will see everything when she needs it," Arutunian said.

    The technical demands of the new scoring system led Kwan to have the rules in front of her when she was choreographing this year's programs with Nikolai Morozov for the short program and Christopher Dean for the long. Kwan realizes she has made the job harder by not doing the Grand Prix series but insists she can overcome it by working "smarter."

    "It's like teaching an old dog new tricks," she said.

    Artist at work

    Some would say Kwan already has shown all her tricks, that her body no longer will allow her to practice enough triple-triple jump combinations to do them in competition. Her victory last year at the nationals, in which her jumping seemed more confident than ever, was followed by flawed performances in every phase of the world meet, in which she was third.

    "I don't think you can make a better Michelle Kwan than she is, which is amazing," said Arutunian, who has coached her for 14 months.

    To the question of whether she is as good a skater as ever, without hesitation Kwan answered, "Yeah. It's a feeling for me, a feeling that I'm more tuned in, that I've been able to release more strength into my skating."

    Her challenge this year became artistic: to interpret a version of "Bolero" choreographed by Dean. His interpretation of that music with ice-dance partner Jayne Torvill not only won the 1984 Olympic gold medal but is among skating's legendary performances.

    "I have to make sure I keep the artistic integrity of my skating and not be pushed in a certain way--to follow the [new] rules and get Level 3 [difficulty] and win," Kwan said.

    That is quite a trick. She could have stopped trying to jump through such hoops long ago, choosing instead to do a few ice shows and rake in the easy money and not have people wonder if she is Ahab chasing the white whale of an Olympic gold medal. Olympic gold is the only thing missing from a career topped only by Sonja Henie in the history of women's skating.

    "I hope if I won in 1998 (silver) and 2002 (bronze), I would have stayed eligible and kept competing," she said in a teleconference 10 days ago.

    2006--and beyond?

    Everyone expects the 2006 Olympics will be the end. Kwan has defied expectations for years.

    "After 2006, does it matter if I quit or not?" Kwan said, walking out of the Staples Center. "I might go on, if I'm physically capable and still enjoying it. 2008, here we go. 2009, who knows, man? I don't."

    It seems odd that Zellweger, at 34, can be in the prime of her career and Kwan, at 24, is considered at the end of hers. Kwan finds that less frustrating than encouraging.

    "The fact Renee is such a great actress at 34 makes me realize I have plenty of time to find another career I can be happy and successful in when I'm finally finished skating," Kwan said.

    Now Kwan was back where she started this part of her skating life--the part where the skater has a life--in the valet lot, waiting for her car after the game. The yellow Lamborghini came up first, as if on cue. Two silver-haired men got into it--apparently rich, but not obviously famous.

    The Corvette arrived. It is 4 years old but shines like new. Kwan put a lot of quarters in a polishing machine to make sure it looked good.

    "Couldn't pick you up in a dirty car," she said.

    That never is the way to go in Los Angeles.

    Spotlight on Portland

    What: U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Portland, Ore.

    When: Wednesday-Saturday.

    Highlights: Thursday: men's and women's singles short programs; Friday: dance and pairs finals; Saturday: men's and women's singles finals.

    Live telecasts: WLS-Ch. 7, Saturday, 3-5 p.m., men's final (plus dance final taped) and 7-10 p.m., women's final (plus pairs final and women's short program taped).

    Plot lines: Can Michelle Kwan tie Maribel Vinson's record of nine U.S. titles? . . . Will notorious underachiever Sasha Cohen finally win one after going back to her former coach, John Nicks, in late December? . . . Is Kimmie Meissner, 15, ready for the big time? . . . Is men's defending champion Johnny Weir over the foot injury that led him to pull out of the Grand Prix final? . . . Will Rolling Meadows native Timothy Goebel, the 2001 champion, recover from: (a) being dumped by coach Frank Carroll over "philosophical differences" in early November, (b) finishing an embarrassing 10th in the short program at last year's nationals, then withdrawing because of physical and equipment problems and (c) the back injury that forced him to withdraw from his last two competitions? . . . Could anyone possibly care which of the painfully mediocre pairs teams wins?

    --Philip Hersh


    Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

  2. #2
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    28,626
    OK, let me get this straight. Michelle picked up Phil Hersh in her Corvette and took him to a Lakers' game? Phil, you the MAN!!!

    "My dad once told me, `If you had $20 shoes but now you are wearing $200 shoes, you better be able to wear $20 shoes again.'"

    "Kwan actually was wearing spike-heeled Sergio Rossi boots--a brand with prices beginning at more than $200--jeans, a studded belt and a tight red tank top that bared her midriff." -- Picture! Picture! Picture!

    Great article. We really got to see a glimpse of her personality.

    Mathman

    PS. Kuchana, that was such an entertaining read I am a little bit embarrassed to have to remind GS posters: Instead of posting a copyrighted article in its entirety, protocol is to just give the link with quoted excerpts. (This is what copyright law refers to as "fair use.")

  3. #3
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,356
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    PS. Kuchana, that was such an entertaining read I am a little bit embarrassed to have to remind GS posters: Instead of posting a copyrighted article in its entirety, protocol is to just give the link with quoted excerpts. (This is what copyright law refers to as "fair use.")
    Don't you know the link get broken all the time. The articel I posted the link with last night, was gone. Now I'm regreted diddn't do what Kuchana dose to copy the whole article. I need to point to my friend to read it. But now no where could be found that articel. It just dissappeared from the sybe space.

  4. #4
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    989
    Because a skater is wearing Vera Wang outfits on the ice and $200 boots of the ice doesn't mean that they are going to win the Worlds under the GOP scoring system, maybe nationals : . If this was any other skater that had an interview like that, people would say they they were to self confident and to full of themselves. Some skaters have nothing and they go on the ice and skate their best. If Sasha gave an interview like that..........................

  5. #5
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    28,626
    MZheng, that's quite true. We have to strike while the iron is hot to have access to these newpaper articles on line. They are posted at the pleasure of the publisher, not at the demand of the reader.

    BTW, it is still possible to get the article that you posted on the other thread. But you have to click on archives, then "search" for "Michelle Kwan." Then you have to register an account, and then you can "buy" (for free) the last three articles about Michelle (Jan. 10, and two from Jan. 9). Major bummer.

    Anyway, the law is the law, no matter how routinely it is ignored by Internet users. MK Forum recently had to delete an article posted there from Blades on Ice, because BOI complained to the board administrator about ownership of written materials.

    Phil Hersh seems cool, though. He probably doesn't care. The more people that read his words the better, I would suppose his attitude to be.

    But the Chicago Tribune might have different views as a matter of policy.

    Mathman

  6. #6
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Detroit, Michigan
    Posts
    28,626
    Quote Originally Posted by millie
    If Sasha gave an interview like that................
    Hi Millie. I am a big Michelle fan, but I thought of that, too. Plus, I also thought, hoo, boy, here we go, the anti-Kwans are going to have a field day with this one, LOL.

    Fortunately for their peace of mind, I don't think either Michelle or Sasha pays much attention to silly Internet chatter, either good or bad.

    Mathman

  7. #7
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    2,138
    OK I don't get it but Michelle said wearing expensive clothing means she will win? I didn't get that. She just basically said that you can't think things for granted. One day you can wear expensive clothes which Michelle deserves after wearing hand me downs in her young years.

  8. #8
    On the Ice lilbit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    28
    "I don't think you can make a better Michelle Kwan than she is, which is amazing," said Arutunian
    I agree with that.

  9. #9
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    989
    The point I was trying to make in my previous thread is that if this was any other skater besides Michelle in this interview, they would be considered high and mighty.

  10. #10
    Down With It
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,578
    Very entertaining read. Thanks.

    Never knew she had allergy problems and had to relocate...that's a new piece of info...(for me anyway)

    As for perception, I can see how people could think she's full of it. But IMO she comes across more as confident yet low-key. It takes a lot more than what she said to be "full of it" IMO.

  11. #11
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    2,356
    She said she is winded it down. It's only natural that there is more about her off rink life than her on rink life that the reporter is focus on. After all she diddn't compete that much this season.

  12. #12
    I keep on fallin' for Kwan
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    where the wild things are
    Posts
    343
    I'm glad it's not any of the other Kwan articles with all the "blah blah" in it. This is a better one, a more personal one with skating talk to make it more even.

    That's exactly what Zellweger said to you? "Reciprocal is a word you remember," Kwan said.
    LMAO I love her. I'd have the same kind of memory.

  13. #13
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    821
    Is it really our business how much Michelle pays for her clothes?Overall I liked the article though. So what she is living the high life. She's a millionare. Nice to hear she still cares more about skating well than winning.

  14. #14
    Woman of the Waters
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    343
    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman
    PS. Kuchana, that was such an entertaining read I am a little bit embarrassed to have to remind GS posters: Instead of posting a copyrighted article in its entirety, protocol is to just give the link with quoted excerpts. (This is what copyright law refers to as "fair use.")
    My sincere apologies. I wasn't aware of the policy so I'll know not to do it again. I just thought that it was going to be a pain in the butt to register but taken in note

  15. #15
    Woman of the Waters
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    343
    Quote Originally Posted by millie
    The point I was trying to make in my previous thread is that if this was any other skater besides Michelle in this interview, they would be considered high and mighty.
    Well it seems to me that you consider Ms. Kwan high and mighty.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog
    As for perception, I can see how people could think she's full of it. But IMO she comes across more as confident yet low-key. It takes a lot more than what she said to be "full of it" IMO.
    Me, too but I think it's more like confidence. At least she's not stating she's the best or unbeatable or what not. LOL Just imagine if she was full of it

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Skate America day 3 review
    By Kasey in forum 2005-06 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-27-2005, 08:07 PM
  2. Great article about Jeff Buttle
    By Ladskater in forum 2004-05 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-07-2005, 12:11 PM
  3. Great Orscher/Lucash article.
    By brenlynn in forum 2004-05 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-21-2005, 05:19 PM
  4. Great Kristi article
    By purplecat in forum 2003-04 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-21-2004, 09:37 PM
  5. Stormy Night, Chapter 3
    By DrWatson in forum 2002-03 Figure Skating archives
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-16-2002, 08:08 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •