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Michelle Kwan – American Skating Champion Research Paper


Michelle Kwan is an American figure skating champion who was born in Torrance, California in July 7, 1980. Kwan’s parents are Danny and Estella Kwan and Kwan is their third-born child. Kwan’s parents were originally from Hong Kong, China but they immigrated to the United States sometimes in 1970.

When Kwan was growing up, she spoke both Cantonese and English languages. Kwan was introduced to skating at the tender age of five when she followed her elder siblings to the local skating rink. By the time Kwan was seven years old, she won her first skating championship and she thereby decided to pursue the sport in a professional capacity. Michelle Kwan is an inspiration to both young and old Asian Americans and Americans around the world.

Kwan is one of the most avid figure skaters of this century. After Kwan won her first championship, she procured the services of a professional skating coach. Kwan is also the youngest figure skating champion in the sport’s history. Furthermore, Kwan has won a series of successive World Championships beginning in the year 1996. Kwan’s tally of nine championship medals still stands as the record in the United States’ skating championships. After her initial disappointments in the competitive circuit, Kwan was able to repackage her competing style. This new style was responsible for Kwan’s superb performance in the 1998 Olympics.

As a child, Kwan followed a strict training regimen and this enabled her to become a world-class athlete. As a child, Kwan would follow her elder brother, an aspiring hockey player, and her sister, an aspiring figure skater to the local training rink. The trio would arrive at the rink everyday at 5am and then practice for two hours before proceeding to school. The siblings would come back to the same rink in the evening and practice for a few more hours.

This dedication was extra ordinary because none of the other children at the time would give up rest, play, and television viewing among other activities to train for a rather unpopular sport. The figure skater’s initial dedication and discipline have acted as trailblazers in her successful skating career. As a child, Kwan embraced a competitive stance, as she was able to compete against her sister.

Outside of the figure skating ice fields, Miss Kwan has also made her mark in the society. The Asian American community took note of Kwan’s contributions to the society by awarding her with the “History Makers Award” through the Los Angeles’ “Chinese American Museum”. In addition, Kwan has an award that is named after her.

The “Michelle Kwan Award” is awarded to figure skaters within the United States. Kwan’s career has also been noticed by stakeholders in popular culture where she has been awarded a “Teen Choice Award” and “Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Award” for her athletic capabilities. Moreover, Kwan has been awarded by both a Chinese organization and a Women Empowerment group (Cantwell and Smith 79). In 2012, Kwan became a figure skating hall of famer. Kwan also became a diplomatic ambassador to China at the behest of the United States government.

This biography was intended for an eighth grade level of scholarship. The biography is intended to show that all children have equal opportunities in America irrespective of their backgrounds. The biography tracks Kwan’s introduction to figure skating at her local rink and her subsequent success as an Olympian. All eighth graders can draw inspiration from Kwan who has won several accolades during her career as an athlete.

Curricular Activities

One example of a curricular activity that is suitable for elementary school students is modeling using clay or any other malleable materials. During this activity, students are supplied with malleable materials to use for modeling. The teacher proceeds by informing the students to model shapes of things that they like. Furthermore, the teacher can request the students to make specific shapes such as animals, buildings, and vehicles. The materials that are used for this activity can be re-used a number of times and this makes it possible for the students to experiment while they are modeling.

This activity will help the students to understand what Miss Kwan does because just like figure skating, modeling requires creativity, persistence, and perfection. Furthermore, modeling enables students to visualize results just like in skating. Modeling will enable students to understand how creativity and perfection can be combined together to produce an entertaining outcome. Figure skating is meant to be an entertaining sport and this goal requires a lot of concentration to achieve.

Another viable curricular activity is having the students fill out crossword puzzles. Filling crossword puzzles enhances the students’ concentration skills. Furthermore, filling out crossword puzzles requires dedication and commitment to achieve. For instance, there is no time limit for filling out a crossword puzzle and students have to keep attempting to solve puzzles until they achieve their goal. This activity is similar to what Kwan did to achieve her goals. For several years, Michelle Kwan kept going to the skating rink everyday where she fell and got hurt while trying to attain perfection.

Students need to keep trying to figure out the answers in crossword puzzles until they achieve their goals. The same strategy is used to achieve perfection in ‘show’ sports. Another similarity between crossword-puzzle activities and figure skating is the desire to accomplish new tasks and challenges. Students can use the crossword puzzle activity to understand how Kwan has been able to do the same activity for over three decades.

Marching across the yard or the classroom is a curricular activity that is suitable for elementary school students. Marching can be combined with counting and music to add to the activity’s educational value (Evertson 45). Marching is an activity that mimics military precision with the aim of harnessing group activities. Marching is also an activity that starts simple but it can be developed to incorporate complex routines such as the ones that are contained in marching bands. Marching can enable the students to understand how simple routines can be mastered to produce spectacular visual demonstrations such as the ones that Miss Kwan performs. Kwan started her career by mastering the simple skating routines but she was able to deliver spectacular performances through regular practice.

Works Cited

Cantwell, Lois, and Pohla Smith. Women Winners: Then and Now, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2002. Print.

Evertson, Carolyn. Classroom management for elementary teachers, Needham, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2004. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2020, May 4). Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/michelle-kwan-american-skating-champion/

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"Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion." IvyPanda, 4 May 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/michelle-kwan-american-skating-champion/.

1. IvyPanda. "Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion." May 4, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/michelle-kwan-american-skating-champion/.


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IvyPanda. "Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion." May 4, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/michelle-kwan-american-skating-champion/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion." May 4, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/michelle-kwan-american-skating-champion/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Michelle Kwan - American Skating Champion'. 4 May.

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