July 7 – Happy Birthday, Michele Kwan

Posted on July 7, 2014

She really, really wanted an Olympic gold medal.

But sometimes you can want something really badly, you can work really hard for it, you can even become “the best,” and you still might not reach a particular goal.

How you handle that disappointment makes all the difference. If you are very proud of all you did achieve, and if you are gracious in the face of your disappointment, and if you move on to other wonderful things – then you gain more respect and happiness than many people who actually achieve their most high-flying dream.

Michele Kwan never got the Olympic gold medal in Women's Figure Skating, but she did earn a silver and a bronze. She also earned NINE U.S. championships and an amazing FIVE World championships.

She is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history!

And because of Kwan's consistency and artistry for over a decade, she is considered one of the greatest figure skaters of all time!

She was also one of the most popular female athletes in the United States throughout her competitive career. 

She landed tons of endorsement deals and was the top-paid skater for a number of years.

It's really a minor footnote than she never won Olympic gold, don't you think?

Stats and facts...

Michele Kwan was born and raised in Southern California (I was born and still live in So Cal, myself). Her parents were immigrants from Hong Kong.

Kwan is only five feet two inches tall! And still, when she performed her signature spiral, her legs seemed to go on for days!

Kwan has earned many awards aside from her skating medals, including the Billie Jean Award for her contribution to women's sports, being named one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People magazine, and an honorary doctorate's degree from a college in Vermont.

Skating magazine has a Reader's Choice Figure Skater of the Year award. The skaters who have won this award have only one once, except for Johnny Weir, who won it twice. And except for Michele Kwan, who won it SEVEN times! In 2003, the organizers of the award joked that they were renaming it to the Michele Kwan Trophy, and they said that she was no longer eligible for the award.

Kwan has acted as public diplomacy ambassador under Presidents George W. Bush and under Barack Obama; she has traveled to many places in the world representing American values. She is now a State Department senior adviser for public diplomacy and public affairs.

Also on this date:

Star Festival in Japan

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