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Kwan Shan Wing, more popularly known as Michelle Kwan, is the most-decorated figure skater in the United States of America. She has won 43 championships, which includes nine US National Championships, five World Championships, and two Olympic Medals.
See the fact file below for more information on the Michelle Kwan or alternatively, you can download our 27-page Michelle Kwan worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Career
- Michelle was born on July 7, 1980 in Torrance, California.
- Her parents, Danny and Estella Kwan, were immigrants from Hong Kong.
- Michelle began skating when she was five years old, influenced by her older siblings.
- When Michelle turned eight, she began to train professionally.
- When Michelle turned ten, she continued her training in the Ice Castle International Training Center in Lake Arrowhead, California under the tutelage of Frank Carroll.
- She competed in her first US Championships in 1993 and finished in sixth place.
- In 1994, she competed in the World Junior Championships and took first place.
- In the same year, Michelle placed second at the US Championships. She was supposed to be part of the US team to the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, but her spot was awarded to Nancy Kerrigan, the 1993 national champion.
World Championships and Olympics
- Michelle first competed in the World Championships in 1994 where she finished eighth. She made mistakes during her short program but skated a strong free skate program.
- At the 1995 US Championships, Michelle struggled with her lutz jump in both her short and free skate program. She placed second.
- At the 1995 World Championships, she finished in fourth place. She skated a clean short program and landed seven triple jumps in her free skate program.
- In 1996, Michelle won both the US Championships and the World Championships.
- In the 1996-97 season, Michelle introduced her short program “Dream of Desdemona” and free skate program “Taj Mahal”. She struggled with her performances during this season because of a growth spurt and problems with the skating boots she wore for an endorsement.
- In 1997, she lost both the US Nationals and the Champion Series Finals to Tara Lipinski.
- In the 1997-98 season, Michelle introduced her short program “Rachmaninoff” and free skate program “Lyra Angelica”. Critics considered these programs to be the high point of her career from both a technical and artistic standpoint.
- She started the season by winning Skate America and Skate Canada. She also gained back her US Nationals title from Tara Lipinski despite skating on a fractured toe.
- At her first Olympics in Nagano in 1998, Michelle lost to Tara Lipinski and took home the silver medal.
- After the Olympics, Michelle won the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis.
- In the 1998-99 season, she skated “Fate of Carmen” for her short program and “Lamento D’Ariane” for her free skate.
- She won the 1999 US Championships, but placed second in the 1999 World Championships behind Maria Butyrskaya of Russia.
- Michelle won a controversial win at the 2000 US Nationals because of the easy jumps that she incorporated in her short program. After that, she went on to win the 2000 World Championships title as well.
- At the 2001 US Nationals, she won the title, earning first place from all nine judges in both the short and free skate program.
- At the 2001 World Championships, her short program “Song of the Black Swan”, wherein she executed seven triples including a triple toe loop/triple toe loop combination, won her the title for the fourth time.
- Michelle parted ways with her choreographer, Lori Nichol, and her long-time coach, Frank Carroll, before the start of the 2001 Skate America.
- She competed at the 2002 US Championships without a coach and skated a revived “Rachmaninoff” short program and “Scheherazade” for her free skate program. She won the title, securing her a place on the 2002 Olympic team.
- At her second Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, she lost to rivals Irina Slutskaya of Russia and fellow US skater Sarah Hughes. She took home the bronze medal.
- Michelle started working with a new coach, Scott Williams, in the summer of 2002.
- She won the US Championships and World Championships during the 2002-03 season with her programs “The Feeling Begins” (short program) and “Concierto de Aranjuez” (free skate).
- For the 2003-04 season, Michelle hired Rafael Arutyunyan as her coach. She wanted to hone her jump techniques and increase the technical difficulties of her programs.
- She skated again to “The Feeling Begins” for her short program and a new free skate program “Tosca”, and won the US Championships.
- She was penalized during the Short Program portion of the 2004 World Championships for going two seconds over the allotted time. She placed third overall.
- For the 2004-05 season, she introduced a new free skate program “Bolero” and a new short program “Adagio”.
- Michelle won her 9th US Championships title, tying the all-time record set by Maribel Vinson-Owen.
- The 2005 World Championships implemented a new judging system. Michelle finished in fourth place, making it the first time she failed to win a medal at an international competition since 1995. This was also her last competitive skate performance.
- Michelle continued to train and stated that she would attempt to qualify for the upcoming Olympic games in 2006. However, she sustained numerous injuries, which led to her withdrawal from the competition.
- In August 2006, she underwent elective arthroscopic surgery which allowed her to skate pain-free for the first time in four years.
- After several years, Michelle made her first on-ice appearance and performed at Ice All Stars headlined by Kim Yuna in August 2009.
Education & Personal Life
- Michelle attended the Soleado Elementary School in Palos Verdes, California.
- She was then pulled out of school when she was 8th grade to be homeschooled instead.
- She graduated from Rim of the World High School in 1998 and then attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for a year.
- After the 2006 Olympics, Michelle sought to complete her undergraduate degree at the University of Denver in the fall of 2006.
- In June 2009, Michelle graduated from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies with a bachelor’s degree in international studies and a minor in political science.
- After graduation, she attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where she pursued a graduate degree in international relations.
- In September 2012, Michelle Kwan announced her engagement to Claiborne ‘Clay’ Pell IV, an American lawyer and military officer who hails from a long-time political family from Rhode Island.
- Michelle and Clay, who first met in April 2011, were wed in Providence, Rhode Island on January 19, 2013.
- In March 2017, the couple both filed divorce from each other.
- The James E. Sullivan Award, given to America’s best amateur athlete, was given to Michelle Kwan in 2001.
- She is a 14-time winner of USOC Athlete of the Month and a 5-time winner of the USOC Female Figure Skater of the Year. She also received the USOC Citizenship Through Sports Alliance Award.
- She won the Reader’s Choice Figure Skater of the Year seven times. In 2003, the award was renamed the Michelle Kwan Trophy.
- In 1997, an autobiography of Michelle titled “Heart of a Champion” was published by Scholastic.
- In 2006, she was appointed envoy for public diplomacy by the US State Department.
- In 2009, she was appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
- In 2011, she became an adviser to the US-China Women’s Leadership Exchange and Dialogue (Women-LEAD).
- During the same year, she was added to the board of directors of the Special Olympics, an event which brings together athletes who are intellectually and physically challenged.
- Michelle has had many endorsement contracts throughout her figure skating career, including Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks, United Airlines, and Visa.
Michelle Kwan Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Michelle Kwan across 27 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Michelle Kwan worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Kwan Shan Wing, more popularly known as Michelle Kwan, who is the most-decorated figure skater in the United States of America. She has won 43 championships, which includes nine US National Championships, five World Championships, and two Olympic Medals.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Michelle Kwan Facts
- Early Life & Education
- Career Timeline
- Short Programs
- Kwan You Tell?
- Michelle’s Coaches
- Michelle Crossword
- Skating Queens
- Watch and Learn
- My Michelle Sketch
- Michelle Kwan Recap
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Link will appear as Michelle Kwan Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 20, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
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