Kwan bows out with dignity

Published 7:56 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2006

By Staff
One of the biggest names of women's figure skating will unfortunately be watching the 2006 Turin Olympic games from her television set rather than being a part of them.
By now, everyone has heard the terrible news about Michelle Kwan. The 25-year-old Olympic figure skater had to pull out of the Olympics when she strained a groin muscle during practices last weekend. Her injury only worsened as time went on and after a doctor's examination, it was clear that Kwan could not compete.
In news conferences, Kwan was often asked why she couldn't rest a few days and start over. At one point, she said she respected the Olympics too much to compete and didn't feel she could be at her best.
Very smart decision on Kwan's part as a lot of athletes may have chosen to ignore doctors orders and perform, thus resulting in further injuries.
But not Kwan. Even though it was her last attempt at a gold medal, she knew her health was more important than anything and she took a stand.
Kwan defined the sport for the past decade, winning five world and nine U.S. titles. The favorite in both Nagano and Salt Lake City, she settled for silver in 1998 and a bronze in 2002.
After suffering two other previous injuries, a hip injury and another groin injury, Kwan missed the Grand Prix season and the nationals. She looked sharp last month during a monitoring session that solidified her spot on the team, doing back-to-back run-throughs of her long and short programs.
But she told the public that the long plane ride to Italy, followed by marching in the opening ceremony, took a toll on her. By the time she returned to the athletes' village, she was starting to hurt.
Tearing up before an audience, Kwan composed herself and said she had no regrets on her decision. She loved the sport and was very lucky for what she had accomplished throughout the years.
Emily Hughes was chosen by the U.S. Olympic Committee as her replacement on the team. The 17-year-old younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, was third at last month's national championships.
The figure skating competitions begin on Feb. 21.