USA WOMEN’S FIGURE SKATER MICHELLE KWAN
PRESS CONFERENCE - February 12, 2006
I wish I was here in better circumstances. When I first put in my petition I said that I believed that I would be 100 percent by the time the Olympics came around. After yesterday, going on the ice, feeling stiff and doing a triple-flip and pulling my groin again, I don't think I'll be 100 percent and I respect the Olympics too much to compete and I don't feel that I can be at my best.
Q: It's been about 24 hours since you fell at practice. Can you take us through, step by step, what has happened since then?
KWAN: Yesterday morning I woke up really stiff. Practice was at 11:20 and I tried to get to the rink pretty early to do my usual ... jump rope, stretching, walked around my programs. I got on the ice, 20 minutes into practice I still felt really stiff and not at ease on the ice. I did only about three jumps on the ice, a triple-toe and I tried a triple-flip and when I flipped out of it I knew I had done something. Then I attempted it again and I fell on it. I tried to skate it off, but I ended up getting off the ice. But I didn't, at the time I didn't feel like I did something immediately. I came straight from practice to here (the interview room), just felt stiff and uncomfortable. After that I went back to the Village, got some physio, iced my groin area, got some stim, ultrasound and then later on in the afternoon I went to see my parents, I didn't know it then. Then I went back to the Village about 11:00, 12:00 I didn't feel right, I didn't feel good. I made a few phone calls and talked with the doctor at about 2:15 in the morning. I evaluated my body and just had to make a decision. It was one of the toughest decisions I've had to make, but I know it's the right one.
Q: In hindsight, would it have been better maybe if you had not gone to the Opening Ceremonies or had not gone to practice yesterday? And to follow up, have you given any thought to what comes next in your career?
KWAN: I was going about my business and enjoying the Olympic experience. The Olympic Games is an amazing thing, it's an honor to represent your country. I didn't think twice about not going to the Opening Ceremonies or not going to practice because I have to get my legs under me, I have to get ... business as normal, as usual. When I'm stiff ... it's the Olympics, you've got to push, so unfortunately it happened. I can't even think past right now, being in the moment, just being here.
Q: Michelle, when you went through the day yesterday, did it get increasingly worse? Is that why you made the call so late? And also the doctor told us he recommended that you not continue. Did you expect to hear that? Did you kind of know that that's what he was going to say, or was that a shock and did you have to let that sink in?
KWAN: At practice, it's always tough at the first practice at the Olympics and just to try to get your feet under you. When I did the triple flip it just didn't feel right. But immediately I didn't think, 'this is going to be bad, I can't skate after this.' But after physio, after I iced it down and got treatment, later in the day it got worse and worse and it didn't ... it's not something that will just go away right now. I didn't think in my heart that I could be at my best. I have to be honest. I have to make a decision. At 2:15 in the morning, that's when I was like, 'I have to do something about it, I've got to get checked out right away and make phone calls.’ I think when he evaluated my body, he knew that I was stiff, knew that I was in pain. I don't think you need to hear it from someone else that you're in pain.
Q: When the doctor suggested that you withdraw, did you think about whether you should decide after taking another week or another few days before making a decision? And will you stay here for the remainder of the Games?
KWAN: After I got evaluated, I think I had to make the decision to withdraw from the team. I would love to compete in my third Olympics, but I love and respect the sport and I think it's all about the United States bringing the best team to the Olympic Games and I wouldn't want to get in the way of that. I think the best thing for me is to go home and get better. I don't want to be a distraction here.
Q: You did several interviews yesterday and put on a brave face, you didn't mention any injury. Is this a previous injury or something that was aggravated?
KWAN: Well, when I left Los Angeles, I felt ready to compete. I had costumes, I had good practices. Yesterday after practice it felt sore, felt stiff... I had obligations, I had interviews. I had to go through them and throughout the day my groin just did not feel good at all. This is not the same as when I had left. I was feeling fine. Coming over here (to the interview room) I was trying to stay positive. I knew I didn't have a lot of practice under me, but I felt good and ready to go.
Q: You're 25 now and you'll be 29 four years from now. It's likely you'll finish your career without an Olympic gold medal. How much of a void will that be for you and the way you're looked at in this sport?
KWAN: It's always been a dream, you know, to win at the Olympics and it's always an honor to represent your country. My parents (3 seconds inaudible) last night. And yeah, they'll always want me to be happy and they want my dreams to come true. But I've learned that it's not about the gold. It's about the spirit of it and about the sport itself. I have no regrets, I tried my hardest and if I don't win the gold, it's okay. I've had a great career. I've been very lucky. This is a sport. It's beautiful.
Q: After you found out, did you walk around the Village? Can you tell us about what you were thinking and what you did?
KWAN: After I saw the doctor around 2:15, I called my parents, told them I made the decision and they said that they would support me 100 percent no matter what and that they're always proud of me. I don't think I actually fell asleep, fell asleep, it was kind of a tough, tough night.
Q: Are you right now more in physical pain or is it more about the emotions of what's transpired over the last 24 hours?
KWAN: It's physical pain that is keeping me from performing and skating. But it's also emotional as well that I had to make a decision and it's a tough decision.
Q: Any advice to a young Emily Hughes entering her first Olympics?
KWAN: The Olympics is an incredible experience. I know that she'll have An amazing time and she'll make the country proud. I'm sure she's been working really hard running through her programs and that she's ready.
Official Communication: Figure Skating
12 Feb 2006 - 09:49
Communication n.: 1
During the official practice on February 11th 2006 Michelle KWAN USA was injured. Due to the medical reason she was withdrawn from the competition.
Emily HUGHES USA will replace Michelle KWAN USA in the Ladies event.
Issued by: ISU Technical Delegates This decision affects: Results X
Time: 09:49 Schedule
Date: 12 Feb 2006 Other