Saturday, August 1, 2009

Kwan will not return to competition this season

Nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan announced Friday that she will not compete during the 2009-10 season. Kwan will instead attend graduate school full time at Tufts University's Fletcher School this fall, where she will pursue a master's degree in international affairs.

Kwan, a five-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist, last competed in 2005. She had contemplated a return to skating, with the goal of representing the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in February.

"Skating will always be a part of me," Kwan said. "But, in the bigger picture of my life, I have always wanted to find a career that will allow me to make a positive contribution and difference in the world. Representing the United States as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy the past three years has been very rewarding, and I want to do more. Furthering my education will bring me closer to that goal, and I don't want to wait any longer to continue the journey."

Kwan, 29, will continue in her capacity as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy for the U.S. State Department and a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In addition, she will perform in skating exhibitions, work as a television commentator, serve as a corporate spokesperson and be involved in special projects as her school schedule permits.

Last month Kwan announced that she will skate before an audience for the first time in three years when she joins world champion Yu-Na Kim in Ice All-Stars 2009 in Seoul, South Korea, in August.

The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Kwan won an unprecedented 43 championships, including five world championships (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003), eight consecutive and nine overall U.S. championships (1996, 1998-2005) and two Olympic medals (silver, 1998; bronze, 2002). In the nearly 100-year history of U.S. figure skating, no American man or woman has won more World or U.S. titles.

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