The winner of more perfect 6.0 marks than any other female skater in history, Olympic figure skater Michelle Wing Kwan (1980-) was born in Torrance, California. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she began skating at age five. "I was wearing rental skates and eating Nerds candy," she remembered.
To pay for her childhood skating lessons, Kwan's parents mortgaged their home. "I learned from my parents that if you work hard enough, your dream just might come true," said the popular Kwan, who even has her own Barbie doll.
The physically-gifted athlete shot rapidly up the ranks with performances that celebrated elegance and grace. "You can count on her to perform well when she needs to," praised 1988 gold medalist Brian Boitano.
The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, in 2004 she earned seven of a possible nine perfect 6.0 marks in the U.S. Figure Skating tournament. The winner of five world titles and eight-time U.S. champ, Kwan won the silver at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, finishing behind America's Tara Lipinski. "I didn't lose the gold medal," said the optimistic Kwan. "I won the silver medal."
About her future, the popular skater said she aspires to be "the Michael Jordan of my sport."
"You always keep on going at it and hope for the best," she said. "What you give is what you give back."
Always be willing to learn more.