The Olympic silver medalist says that falling short of her dream changed her outlook on everyday existence. 

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Michelle Kwan, with coach Frank Carroll, reacts to her scores in the figure skating long program at the 1998 Winter Olympics. (Reuters)

Notes from the Aspen Ideas Festival -- See full coverage

In 1998, Michelle Kwan was America's most adored Olympic athlete. The 17-year-old arrived at the games fresh from a performance at the U.S. championship that earned her eight perfect scores and moved one judge to tears. But she didn't win the gold at the Olympics, losing the coveted first-place spot to her rival Tara Lipinski.

"You can train your hardest, you can try your best and have no regrets -- and still not get what you want," Kwan told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "That's a hard lesson to learn in front of millions of people." At the same time, she says, accepting her status as a silver medalist was oddly liberating. Here she talks about how missing out on her lifelong dream changed her outlook on everyday existence.