Michelle Kwan’s Olympics End Before They Start

February 13th, 2006 // 9 Comments

You have to feel for the woman. The Olympic gold medal dreams are gone for the former silver and bronze medalist, although she was considered any extremely long shot for any medal during these Olympics.

Michelle Kwan‘s decade-long hunt for Olympic gold came to a tearful end on Sunday after the American pulled out of the Winter Olympics with a groin strain. One of the most successful skaters of all time, she owns a record-equaling nine U.S. national titles and five world crowns.

A groin injury kept her out of competing on the grand prix circuit this season and she had to petition the U.S. selection committee to even book her ticket to the Games after missing last month’s nationals.

Although the top three usually gain Olympic berths, Kwan was controversially given the nod ahead of American bronze medallist Emily Hughes, sister of Sarah, thanks to her proven track record.

She arrived in Turin feeling she had sufficiently recovered from her niggles but her optimism lasted just a few minutes into a practice session on Saturday when she fell over attempting a triple flip, and instantly realized all was not well.

Her problems on ice seem to be a direct result of the new judging system that was introduced following the 2002 pairs scandal. Her graceful lines and artistry on ice once allowed her to dominate the sport. Now it does not even merit a podium finish.

Kwan’s dream ends in tears [Reuters]

By Miu von Furstenberg

  1. Pablo

    Feel nothing for this woman. I just don’t like the way she got there in the first place Emily Hughes should have been there from the beginning.

  2. Blair

    So now it’s the fault of the system, not Kwan’s inability to adjust. Doing the same routine can only take you so far; Slutskaya, for example, older than Kwan, has adapted to the technical demands, and has artistry to boot. It’s natural and great for a SPORT to evolve; I hate the critiques which arise just because the system doesn’t allow the media darling to shine.

  3. doofus

    no, we don’t have to feel for the woman.

    I’m with you, Pablo. she pushed Emily Hughes off of the team just because she wanted one last shot at a gold medal. she didn’t deserve to be there.

  4. PleaseThink

    US Women will come home empty handed. Maybe a third place but that is it. Michelle Kwan has done more for women’s figure skating than any other skater. She deserved to be there. She was booted out of her chance for Nancy Keerigan. She looks better on the ice than any of our other skaters. Cohen will fall like she usually does under pressure. She can’t handle it. Seeing Michelle leave is heartbreaking and I will not even watch that even know.

  5. Emily

    I agree with PleaseThink

  6. Prentiss

    Michelle Kwan is the definition of grace. Remember the Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan fiasco back in ’94? Well, Michelle Kwan was supposed to go to the Olympics but she was kicked off and Nancy Kerrigan got to go instead (And Nancy didn’t win gold). Michelle has dominated the sport since then — that’s 12 years in the world class elite. She is the greatest US women’s skater ever — with 5 world titles. TAra Lipniski retired right after she won her gold. And what about Sara Hughes who won the Olmpic gold last time. Where is she? Did she give it up after only 4 years? Michelle has worked tirelessly for 12 years. That is an incredible achievement. And it’s unlikely that any other US female skater will reign that long in the future.

  7. laeyn

    i can’t believe you think that emily hughes even compares to michelle kwan. even with her injury, michelle is far better than emily will ever be. did you even watch the nationals on tv? emily got third, but only because all the other skaters skated horrendously.

  8. tc

    Michelle wasn’t denied a spot in ’94 out of deference to Kerrigan. Kerrigan earned her spot and Kwan was an alternate. I definitely like Kwan, she’s a class act. But in truth, sentimentality should not have anything to do with this. It’s really good that Hughes gets to go; she earned the spot. This is not a lifetime achievement award. It’s not like the NBA All-Star game where sometimes the most useless players are nominated. She should earn her spot, no matter who she is. She couldn’t do it. But she’s got nothing to be ashamed of. She’ll probably be regarded as the best American skater of the past decade. And she’ll be on B-rated reality shows probably for decades to come….(and really, I’m not much of a figure-skating fan; I’d just heard how Kwan came to her spot and I know something of her Olympic history).

  9. Sisi

    I agree with Emily!

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