Monday, February 13, 2006

Michelle Kwan is Out

Monday, February 13, 2006
Michelle Kwan has withdrawn from the Olympics. I wish the woman well. She is arguably one of the best figure skaters America has produced, except that she has never won Olympic gold. Multiple time world champion, multiple time US Champion. She has had longevity in a sport that doesn't seem to allow many of the best skaters to last for an extended period of time whether they go pro or just don't hold up from the pressure (Kristi Yamaguchi, Oskana Baiul, etc). So the fact that Kwan has been on top for so long is remarkable.

Like I said, I wish the woman well. I'm just glad she isn't skating in the Olympics. With all respect possible from someone who can barely stand up on a pair of ice skates, Michelle Kwan doesn't deserve to be in the Olympics this year. She doesn't. Past accomplishments do not matter because Kwan was unable to skate at the Trials (are the Trials the same as the US Championships? I think they are for figure skating). If the Trials are the only event that qualifies a skater, and Kwan did not place in the Top Three at the Trials then Kwan does not deserve to go. She did not earn a place on the Olympic Team. Sure, if healthy I'm sure Michelle Kwan would have made it. But she wasn't and she didn't.

She petitioned the Olympic Committee to get a spot on the team and Kwan's petition was granted, bumping Emily Hughes off the active roster. That's just not right. I come from the perspective of track where the rules are similar: you show up at the Trials and you earn your spot on the team on that day. You may be the World Champion and World Record Holder, but if you don't place high enough to make the team, you don't go. Michael Johnson wouldn't have earned a spot on the team despite having won double gold if he didn't place in the Trials. Past performance doesn't matter. Marion Jones only made the long jump in 2004. Past performance says she should go in multiple events but she wasn't good enough on that day.

I heard this morning that Nancy Kerrigan had bumped Kwan off of the team years back (was that the Tonya Harding attack?) because of a petition. I didn't know that, and I don't like that either. Kerrigan shouldn't have gone. She may have been a better skater, but if she doesn't place top 3, she shouldn't go.

Period.

I wish Michelle Kwan well, and I'm sorry she is injured and can't pursue her dream, but I'm glad she isn't on the team any more. Would have been classier if she never petitioned, though.

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