WASHINGTON - Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan has found a new way to
represent her country on the international stage.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) smiles as figure skating champion
Michelle Kwan speaks at the Treaty Room of the State Department in
Washington November 9, 2006. Rice named Kwan the public diplomacy
ambassador to represent American values especially to young people and
sports enthusiasts. [Reuters]
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced her appointment Thursday as the
nation's first public diplomacy envoy - part of program to help improve the
nation's image abroad.
"She is devoting her good name and her patriotism to help further our
nation's public diplomacy efforts," said Rice.
Rice said Kwan's experiences as a world class figure skater, who won her
first world title at 15, are "a deeply American story" admired by many.
"As an athlete, I've always been very proud to represent the United States,"
said Kwan, 26, who began competing internationally when she was 12. The
California native's parents immigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong before she was
Since the 1990's Kwan has won practically every major figure skating title,
except an Olympic gold medal. She was forced to withdraw from the 2006 winter
games because of injuries.