The Washington Post

Michelle Kwan on resilience

Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan, now an adviser at the State Department, joins the Post’s “Micro Management Stories” video series, sharing a personal story of learning about resilience at a young age. Kwan spoke to On Leadership editor Lillian Cunningham. (AJ Chavar and Lillian Cunningham/The Washington Post)

Every other week in the On Leadership section, we publish a video interview for our series “Micro Management Stories.” The latest is a conversation with Michelle Kwan, the former Olympic figure skater who now works as an adviser at the State Department.

We asked Kwan what we ask each of the prominent figures who sit down for this series — tell us a story from your life that has had a lasting impression on the way you think about leadership and character. The story Kwan shared comes from her teenage years, when she was competing for a spot at the Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. Kwan would later go on to become America’s most decorated figure skater.

Yet she remembers a specific moment of getting off the ice, at a point when she was emotionally and physically exhausted, and bursting into tears. Kwan asked herself right there whether she was going to keep saying “poor me” or change her frame of mind. The answer she found still sticks with her 15 years later.

Watch Kwan’s video.

Lillian Cunningham is the editor and feature writer for The Washington Post's 'On Leadership' section.
Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.