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Longevity, Excellence, Perseverance in the Face of Crushing Defeats — Why We Love Michelle Kwan

Alumna Michelle Kwan (F11) speaks with the Los Angeles Times about her post-skating career.

Michelle Kwan once stood where Alysa Liu is now, on the brink of a potentially brilliant figure skating career.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that Kwan, the daughter of immigrants who left Hong Kong to raise a family and run a restaurant in Torrance, emerged as a sweet, enchanting girl who could out-jump older figure skaters with astonishing ease. As she matured, she displayed a rare ability to turn two or four minutes of music into a symphony of art and athleticism.


Kwan says she had no strategy for her post-skating career. “It was like, now what? Finding another passion.” And she did. Kwan got a degree in international studies from the University of Denver and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University before being appointed the first U.S. diplomacy public envoy by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Kwan later worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and is now based in Philadelphia as the director of surrogates for Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden.

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