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Michelle Kwan Returns to the Ice

Michelle Kwan laced up her skates for a trio of "Ice All Stars 2009" shows in South Korea in mid-August. It had been three years since Kwan had graced the ice but her popularity with both peers and skating fans was as strong as ever.

Kwan hesitated initially when she was asked to join the cast. “I was invited a couple of months before the shows were to take place, but at the time I was still deciding whether or not to compete,” she said. “I had my hands full with a lot of physical therapy, on-ice and off-ice stuff and I did not have any programs ready.”

The decorated champion said she had forgotten what it takes to get in shape and be ready to perform. “It took me a long time because for the first two months after I finished school I was not even on the ice,” Kwan said. “Returning to skating was still just a concept in April and I did not think that I would come out and do a show right away. But when I decided that I was not going to compete I thought that I should really reconsider doing the shows in Korea. I had never been to Korea before.”

Kwan did not stop smiling the entire week. Being with old friends and making new ones was an invigorating experience she said. “It was definitely a great event for me to come back to skate in. There was a great cast of skaters that I have admired for a number of years. Being with Ilia (Kulik) and Stéphane (Lambiel) again was great. I toured with them so it was not nerve wracking to come back because I knew a lot of the skaters,” Kwan said. “The first night when we were standing at the door waiting to go on to the ice Ilia said to me ‘you picked a really good show to come back.’ He was like ‘good luck, Michelle.’ It was a great experience.”

For the complete interview with Kwan, see the November/December 09 issue of IFS.