SALT LAKE CITY -- The pixies are out on the ice Monday, their sparkles sparkling, their spangles all spangled.
This is just a practice, but it is the last practice before the ladies singles figure skating competition begins Tuesday, and the judges are here watching. So it is important to look just so.
On a patch of ice between two other competitors, Michelle Kwan skates. While the rest of the skaters in her group are flashing the sequined costumes they will wear for Tuesday's short program, Kwan is in black spandex pants and a black tank top, her hair pulled back in a neat but not particularly flashy ponytail. Perhaps, after all this time, she does not feel she needs to impress the judges with ruffles. Perhaps, she just doesn't care.
Winning a gold medal has been the No. 1 thing on her mind since the moment, four years ago in Japan, she suffered a stunning upset.
Still, when she steps onto the ice Tuesday and then again for the free skate Thursday, Kwan insists she will be in it for much more than just the hardware. She is here for the experience of trying, and in the end, as cheesy as she jokes that it sounds, that is going to have to be enough.
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