Michelle Kwan Says Competing for Team USA as Daughter of Immigrants Was ‘Living the American Dream’

Retired figure skater Michelle Kwan opened up about competing for Team USA in the Olympics as a child of Chinese immigrants.

Unique opportunity: In a recent interview with PEOPLE, the two-time Olympic medalist shared that she considers representing her country as “living the American dream,” noting how it’s a “privilege” to wear the name of her country on her attire.

  • Kwan, 40, won the silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan and the bronze at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.
  • “Getting the opportunity and having the honor to represent the country was something else,” she said. “There was nothing like it.”
  • Having retired in 2006, Kwan is now cheering for Team USA athletes in the upcoming Games.
  • She’s rooting for her friend, sprinter Allyson Felix, 35, as well as gymnast Simone Biles, 24, to win gold in Tokyo 2020.
  • She advised those competing in this year’s Summer Olympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics to take it all in and not be caught up with the distractions.

Addressing anti-API hate: Kwan also talked about “Recipe for Change,” Jubilee’s new YouTube Originals special that brings Asian and Pacific Islander (API) people and allies together to talk about their shared experiences with the growing anti-API hate.

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  • She hosts the food-focused special alongside comedian Hasan Minhaj and YouTube personality Eugene Lee Yang.
  • The special features guests Olivia Munn, Lisa Ling, BD Wong, Margaret Cho, Ross Butler, Auli’i Cravalho, Brandon Flynn and Sophia Bush.
  • Kwan said the show, which premiered on June 30, was born out of the necessity of “asking questions and having discussions.” 
  • “One guest talked about [a] recent event that happened [with] being spat on, and having to answer her daughter’s question [of], ‘Well, what was that all about?’ Can you imagine telling your child, ‘I think they spit on me because of the color of my skin?’ “
  • Kwan also shared her own father’s “hurtful” experiences when he arrived in the U.S., with people calling him “Chinaman” and telling him to “Go back where you came from.”

Featured Image via Jubilee (leftright)

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