The most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, Michelle Kwan's skating brilliance and accomplishments have earned her a place among the all-time greats of the sport. For more than a decade (1995-2005) Kwan dominated the sport like no other skater in history, winning an unprecedented 43 championships, including five World Championships, eight consecutive and nine overall U.S. championships and two Olympic medals. In the nearly 100-year history of U.S. figure skating, no American man or woman has won more World titles, U.S. titles or Olympic medals.
Kwan's activities off the ice have been equally noteworthy. In November 2006, the U.S. Secretary of State appointed her the first U.S. public diplomacy envoy. In this capacity Kwan travels the world and meets with young people to speak about leadership and to engage them in dialogue on social and educational issues. In June 2010, President Obama appointed her to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, a group that advises the President on ways to engage, empower and educate all Americans to lead active, healthy lifestyles. In December 2010, Kwan was elected to the board of directors of Special Olympics International, the organization's ultimate governing authority responsible for global affairs and strategies. She graduated from the University of Denver in November 2008 with a degree in international studies. In May 2011, she received a master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, majoring in international relations.
Kwan's skating artistry and grace are without equal. In her career she received 57 perfect 6.0 marks, the most by any skater in history. No performances were better than her two at the 1998 U.S. Championships, where she earned a record 15 perfect 6.0 marks out of a possible 18.
Kwan has earned numerous awards and honors, including: 2003 U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) SportsWoman of the Year; 2001 Sullivan Award (top amateur athlete in America); 1998 Sportswoman of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation; 2002 and 2003 Kids' Choice Award and the 2002 Teen Choice Award as America's favorite female athlete. In 2000 she was selected one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World." In 2003 Kwan earned her seventh U.S. Figure Skating Skater of the Year award. In an unprecedented move, U.S. Figure Skating renamed the award in her honor; it is now called the Michelle Kwan Trophy. In May 2010, she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Southern Vermont College.