Following the Olympics, Michelle decided to enroll at UCLA, while working
for another 4 years for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Many people didn't think Michelle could do it, but she did. With
a new haircut, Michelle claimed her 3rd U.S. title at the 1999 Nationals, and finished 2nd at 1999 Worlds. This was her 4th
consecutive Worlds medal.
In the 1999 - 2000, Michelle was adjusted to her hectic schedule with skating and
school going on. Skating to "Red Violin", Michelle won the U.S. Nationals again. At Worlds, Michelle's short program wasn't
perfect, she had to rely on other competitors in order to win. The last thing a skater wants is to skate first in a group
at a major competition, because the judges have to leave room for the other skaters, and this is what Michelle had to do.
Michelle skated a maganificent free skate, but the marks were not high. Waiting is the worst part. It was nerve-wracking.
Staying in the locker room, Michelle couldn't watch the other skaters skate. In the
end, finally, Michelle found out that she would be the lady to take home gold that night. Joy and tears, Michelle had won
her 3rd world title.
2001 was another wonderful season for Michelle. Skating to "Song of The Black Swan",
Michelle won the Nationals, and the Worlds again! The 2000 and 2001 seasons were said to be Michelle's bests so far.
The 2002 Winter Olympics was going to be held
in Salt Lake City. Michelle was going into her 3rd Olympics as the reigning world champion. In October 2001, just four months
before the Winter Olympics, Michelle made a shocking announcement. After nearly 10 years under Frank Corroll's tutalage,
Michelle was seaprating from her long time coach. At the same time, Michelle fired her choreographer Lori Nichol too. No one
in history has ever tried to go to the most important event of an athlete's life on her own terms. This separating caught
the media's huge attention, but still, Michelle captured her 6th National title.
Going into the Olympics, Michelle was the co favorite for the gold medal with Russia's
Irina Slutskaya. Michelle's dad Danny Kwan stood at the boards to cheer her on. Skating in Michelle's home country, the
pressure to win was enormous. For the second time in Michelle's life, Michelle was leading after the short program. On the
day of Michelle's free skate, she was feeling good, but the pressure got her.
In Michelle's free skate, she planned 7 triple jumps with a triple toe-triple toe
combination. Michelle did not do the triple triple, instead she did a triple double combo, but because of Michelle's amazing
artistry, that was okay. Then something really costly happened later in the program. Michlle rushed a little bit on her triple
flip jump, and she fell. At that point, Michelle could have easily given up, but she didn't. Michelle landed every single
jump perfectly after that. Her spins, her spirals, her footwork were sensational. But that mistake on the triple flip costed
Michelle the gold medal, and the silver.
Four years after Michelle's Olympic disappointment in 1998, she took bronze in Salt
Lake City. The audience's heart broke for Michelle, but again, Michelle handled her bronze medal with dignity and grace. On
the next day of the exhibition gala, Michelle skated to "Fields of Gold". As many people have said, success isn't always measured
by a gold medal. With or without the gold, Michelle will always be the best both on and off ice with her heart. In the middle
of her "Fields of Gold" performance, Michelle started to cry, and many people watching cried with her. "Fields of Gold" became
Michelle's signature exhibition piece of music.