It's Michelle's business
Everywhere, figure skating revenue is saying, "Where are you taking me, and why am I in this handbasket?" But Old Gal Shelly, she just keeps rollin' along.
It's none of my business, but I am curious even so. To me, it is looking more and more like Michelle has big plans in the business end of the sport. Two recent articles (in Blades on Ice and in International Figure Skating) about her family's new rink emphasize the point that Michelle "heads a group of investors" in the facility. In other words, that she is risking her own capital in this venture. Her relationship with East-West Bank, which secured naming rights, is also intriguing -- she is referred to as an "employee" of the bank, which seems to imply something more than just a celebrity endorser.
This bank got it's start by providing financial services to the immigrant Chinese population of California. Now it is pushing to become mainstream. The same appears to be true of Hong Kong based Maxxis Tires, which recently (?) set up headquarters in Atlanta and hired Michelle as poster girl. Under her Disney contract (now expired) she officiated at the opening of the Hong Kong Disney World.
I don't think Michelle will retire from skating any time soon. The success of her commercial ventures depends on keeping herself in the public eye. There are all sorts of rumors about some of the enticements that people supposedly throw her way. I don't know if they are true, but it was suggested that the deal with East-West Bank was contingent on Michelle winning the National Championship last year, that the sponsors of 2002 Skate America "made her an offer she couldn't refuse" to come in and skate after Sarah Hughes withdrew, that she has a continuing contract to receive under-the-table appearance fees at the Marshall's and Campbell's Invitationals, that USFS is pressuring her to stay in for another year to give them better leverage in negotiating their new television contract with ABC, etc., etc., etc. Plus, who knows what kind of sweetheart deal she has with Tom Collins and COI.
What do you all think? Will she retire after the Olympics, or will business considerations keep her going and going and going...
Last edited by Mathman; 07-17-2005 at 04:28 PM.
I think Michelle has the greatest visibility to the general American public of any skater other than Dorothy, Peggy, Scott or Dick. And--she is the youngest of all of these. I think she could definitely parley that into some sort of business in the figure skating world.
I would not be surprised at all if she is a "lifer" --involved in figure skating in some aspect for the forseeable future and in aspects beyond performing.
Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
My opinion is that next year will be her last as an eligible competitor. I fully expect her to always be involved in skating in some way, but I think after all these years, she's ready to move on to a more normal life. With what it takes to train as an eligible, I think it's absolutely incredible that she has managed this long. It really consumes one's life. If she hadn't cut down the amount of competing the last few years, it's a possibility she may have burnt out by now. Even with the fewer comps, the training remains the same ... every day, many hours.
All these recent opportunities/ventures she has been involved in, show me she is planning for the next phase of her life. Her legend is set and she can still be visible enough through TV specials or skating shows, to stay in the public eye. I love how happy she looks right now ... so complete and satisifed. This is why I think this next season may well be her best!
Or maybe she will follow Toller Cranston and become an artist. According to this article she and Irina S. each painted an "artistic plate" for the fundraising auction of the Colorado AIDS Project. The event raised $90,000 for AIDS research and relief.
(No picture of Michelle's plate. I wonder who bought it?)
PS. Or...check this out. For a mere $10,000 deposit in East-West Bank, you can become a member of the Michelle Kwan Excellence Club. Not only do you get a free ticket to Michelle's rink and an East-West Bank blanket, but also Michelle checks, a Michelle savings passbook and a Michelle credit card.
Last edited by Mathman; 07-17-2005 at 07:42 PM.
My feelings about Michelle is that she owes her fans an explanation of what her plans are.
It is her fans who stood by her after Nagano; after Irina became numero uno; after SLC; after the slides downhill in Dortmund and Moscow. Her fans stood by her when she did not bother to skate the the GPs.
There's nothing wrong with her wanting to get into the business end of the sport, but I think it would be sporting of her to make some clear announcement as to her future plans in competition. I just don't buy that "taking one day at a time". I believe she knows exactly what she is doing and what her plans are for the future, and she will not share that with her fans.
Am I correct?
I don't feel Michelle owes me an explaination as a fan on how she is going to proceed with her future, after all it is her life. As a fan I am just happy she is skating another year. After 2002 we did not know if she was going to retire or stay in the sport. I for one am glad she is securing her future and not waiting until she retires to get things in place. I say rock on Michelle
No, you're not IMHO. Michelle has already paid us...in providing wonderful performances over a long career. I don't require, nor expect anything in return for my support of her career since 1993. I wouldn't expect a movie star, author or any other public figure for whose work I admire to owe me a press release explaining any intentions they may have in retiring from their craft. When she's ready, it'll be made clear. What does knowing something before it happens do for you? Maybe she doesn't want to announce that she'll retire from eligible skating after next season. That somehow makes her less than "sporting" in your eyes? I'm truly baffled. Now if you were Chevorlet or one of her other corporate sponsors and contract time came rolling around, then I would say she has an obligation to tell them if she's going to be dropping out of eligible skating. So unless you're sending her checks that we don't know about, I'd say there's no obligation on her part.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
I must be one of the few fans she has that is delighted that she doesn't have an official website, doesn't post a diary, and generally seeks a private life. I actually respect her desire for privacy and will cherish the more than a decade's worth of performances I have on tape. That's more payment than I ever wanted or expected.
But hey, if that's the way you feel, than OK. No one can tell you that your feelings are wrong. But you did ask if you are correct, and I'm offering my opinion/feelings that you are not correct. JMHO.
On the Ice
No, you're not the only fan that feels the way you do. I, too, am glad that she doesn't have an official website or public diary.
Originally Posted by Skate Sandee
Michelle does not owe this fan anything more than she has already given ~ more than a decade of excellence, grace, humbleness and sportsmanship.
IMO Michelle is waiting to see how she scores under COP this year. She knows she is getting to the place where she won't be able to compete too much longer so she is setting up her future.
If she doesn't win Nationals or medal at the Olympics she will probably bow out of the competition end but if she does well under the new scoring system we may just see her continue a while longer. Probably in a limited capacity. I think she will be with COI for a long time to come because I can't see Michelle just hanging up her skates.
I don't think her fans expect explainations from her about what she will do in the future. I hope she continues competing. I really don't care if she wins or not. Just seeing her skate is enough for me and when that comes to an end I will be sad but also I will appreciate all the enjoyment she has given me for such a long time. Other skaters may do more 3/3, quads, and 3 axels but none skate from the heart the way she does. She takes me on a journey and it is one trip I will never forget.
That is one opinion and one many fans hold. I, as a fan, don't feel she owes me anything and certainly not an explanation as to what she's planning with her life. The thing she has given me is wonderful performances for over 10 years and that is enough for me.
Originally Posted by Joesitz
Why should she HAVE to tell anyone what her plans are post Olympics? What if she doesn't know because there's a plan A and a plan B and maybe more. Maybe she wants to see where she places at the Olympics before she decides on whether to do worlds? Maybe she wants to carry on for another season after the Olympics and try for a more national titles? Why announce somethnig that isn't for sure and then have to announce a change? Look how much skaters get jumped on for changing their stories.
And the standing by her after Nagano etc...what was there to stand by? Do you only like skaters if they win? I certainly don't - to me its the skating - did i enjoy her skating? Yes. Placements be damned - i would enjoy her Nagano perfmance whther it had won gold or come 10th.
Last edited by antmanb; 07-18-2005 at 05:11 AM.
Lovin' the Kween ... Now and Forever
I don't feel she owe's me anything either. I'd love to know what she has planned for this season, but as long as she is in line with the rules set up for her sport, it's not her obligation to let us know ahead of time. I haven't always agreed 100% with the choices she has made, but then, it's her life and career ... not mine.
I'm just grateful she's still here.
First, in one interview, Michelle mentioned that, depending on what happens, she may stick around until 2007 -- which, I think, is the last year of the USFSA-ABC contract. Odd coincidence? Potential new business opportunity?
Second, I can't blame Michelle for not making clear public announcements about her plans. I agree that she doesn't owe it to her fans that kind of information, and I don't see how she could do it because things can change quickly -- and she may not yet know for sure what she wants to do after she leaves competitive skating.
I can choose to be a fan of an athlete, and I can choose to not be a fan of one. That athlete owes me nothing in return. As a fan of Michelle, I am always impressed with how many times she has openly thanked her fans for all their support.
I remember very clearly how Sarah Hughes announced that she was not quitting eligible competition; that she had so much more to strive for. Heck, she even skated that summer's exhibition to "I'll Never Say Goodbye" (or something along that line). When the fall of 2002 came along and she decided to forgo skating for school, there was endless criticism of her. "But she said..."
Put me under the column--"no, Michelle doesn't "owe" anyone anything" in regards to her future plans. She doesn't "owe" any explanations. Also, put me on the side of those who don't give a rip that she doesn't have her own web page. She's remarked before on the fact that she comes to the various forums to see what she's up to, lol. What she "owes" now is to be true to herself, do the best job she can, be the best competitor she can be and let the CoP points fall where they may!