How Missing Out on the Gold Changed Michelle Kwan's Life

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

kwan.jpgMichelle 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.

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