Thursday, May 31, 2012
Kwan's Media "Hat Trick" of the Past Two Weeks
Here’s one of the (many, many) nice things about having Michelle Kwan in figure skating: her presence in pop culture is pretty close to effortless. Meaning... there are those that really seem to work to stay in the headlines, and those whose accomplishments (both on the ice and off) are mighty enough to have the headlines come looking for them. Kwan is definitely of the latter camp.
For the most recent Exhibit A, check out this interview Kwan did with Chris Wallace for Fox News Sunday last weekend (once they realized she’s been living “virtually under the radar” in D.C. for almost a year)... it gives coverage to some of the many non-profit causes she’s now involved in, as well as her current brushes with government organizations. And yes, in case you were wondering, she apparently IS considering a deeper government involvement in the future (e.g. running for office).
For Exhibit B, note Kwan’s presence on the released-this-week ESPNW Top 40 Female Athletes list (celebrating the best of the past 40 years in honor of the 40th anniversary of Title IX. You’ll find her name (and accompanying article) sandwiched between Venus Williams and Lindsey Vonn... not bad company to keep.
And finally, for Exhibit C, there’s this press release from Coca-Cola confirming that Kwan is one of 22 “inspiring” Americans chosen to carry the Olympic flame in the upcoming torch relay for the London 2012 Summer Games. While there’s unlikely to be an argument that Kwan is an inspiration to America and beyond, check out the way this is worded (excerpt from the press release; italics are my own):
Coca-Cola proudly invited two Olympic gold medalists to carry the Flame in the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.
-- Summer Sanders, (Park City, UT): Summer won four medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona -- two gold, one silver and one bronze. Since retiring from swimming, she's appeared as a commentator, analyst and host on all four major networks. She is also an ambassador for UNICEF and Right to Play.
-- Michelle Kwan, (Washington, DC): Michelle is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, winning five World Championships, nine U.S. National Championships and two Olympic medals. She is currently a U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy, meeting with young people worldwide to discuss social and educational issues, and is a member of President Obama's President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
So her bio is technically correct—as I assume Summer Sanders’ is as well—but the leading sentence? It reminds me of an instance on So You Think You Can Dance (from last season I think) where judge Mary Murphy referred to Kwan as “an Olympic Gold Medalist.”
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, just how many folks have unwittingly upgraded Kwan’s silver and bronze medals over the past 10-14 years since she won them?
Makes ME wonder how she feels about that. Not to mention Tara Lipinski... or Sarah Hughes.
(For the record... the interview on FOX recalled her Olympic medals accurately.)