What's buzzing:

Michelle Kwan honored by Harlem Skating

AP - Sports
Michelle Kwan honored by Harlem Skating
.

View gallery

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2014 file photo, two-time Olympic figure skating medalist Michelle Kwan smiles …

NEW YORK (AP) -- As Michelle Kwan chats with members of Figure Skating in Harlem, she sees a whole lot of herself in the young girls.

And those girls hope to emulate Kwan.

The nine-time U.S. champion and five-time world winner has been active with the inner-city club almost since its inception in 1997. She was honored Monday night at the FSH gala for inspiring the hundreds of young girls who have been in the program.

''Michelle is the perfect role model for our students with the way she conducts herself as a person, as an athlete, as an employee of the state department,'' FSH founder Sharon Cohen said. ''Her career and life show where hard work and perseverance and talent can take you.''

Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist, now serves as a senior adviser for public diplomacy and public affairs and as an envoy at the Department of State. Her husband, Clay Pell, is running for governor of Rhode Island.

Kwan's success in and out of sports didn't come easily, and she can recall times when she was in a similar situation to some of FSH's students.

She received grants from U.S. Figure Skating and from the Women's Sports Foundation during her formative years as a skater - at a time when Kwan and older sister Karen weren't sure they could continue in the sport.

''These underserved young girls get an opportunity to skate they otherwise might not have,'' Kwan said. ''My personal background, both Karen and myself ... our parents were not well off. To be able to afford a used pair of skates and hand-me-downs in costumes and other stuff, I remember that vividly.

''Imagine if one of those times you have to tell your kids, 'We can't afford it.' I can relate to that.

''And these young girls benefit so much. It really is about the skills you learn from sports. Physical activity, being with friends, teamwork, but also the discipline it takes, the hours of dedication, being able to concentrate on one thing at a time. You have to learn in life how to juggle things; being a student-athlete is the same as in life.''

Kwan began her day with a visit to Haverstraw Elementary, a school in suburban Rockland County, where she spoke to fifth graders who just happened to be studying her career. She stressed the importance of opportunity, education and empowerment - all themes Figure Skating in Harlem embraces.

Then Kwan headed to Wolman Rink in Central Park, where dozens of her peers were on hand to not only honor her, but to skate with the youngsters aged 6 to 18 who make up FSH's roster. Olympic medalists Scott Hamilton, Sasha Cohen, Tim Goebel, Paul Wylie, Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner, Jason Brown and Jeremy Abbott showed up to support Kwan and Figure Skating in Harlem.

''Our students learn through the education programs and our skating program of the importance of working hard and asking for help when you need it,'' Cohen said. ''They see the changes in themselves that this leads to, in their confidence and in their abilities to achieve their goals.

''Someone like Michelle gives them an incentive to work hard because they see the rewards, the personal rewards, that Michelle embodies. She exudes sportsmanship and grace and an inner drive, as well as outer success. Michelle worked to be the best she can be in all aspects, and anybody can learn from that. She carries herself with such assurance and grace. Those are traits that will help anyone succeed in this world.''

View Comments (1)
  • Cycling-Clouds already hanging over Nibali after stormy day

    By Martyn Herman ZEELAND, Netherlands, July 5 (Reuters) - By the time Vincenzo Nibali reached the sanctuary of his team coach, it was a beautiful summer's evening, but a stormy second stage had already left a cloud over his hopes of following up … More »

    Reuters - 4 minutes 49 seconds ago
  • Martinez to take over as Spain Davis Cup captain - reports

    Conchita Martinez will take over as Spain's Davis Cup captain for the Group I tie away to Russia in two weeks following Friday's dismissal of Gala Leon, Spanish media reported on Sunday. A former Wimbledon champion who turned to coaching after she … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • NASCAR fans defend, display Confederate flags at Daytona

    NASCAR fans defend, display Confederate flags at Daytona

    Steven Rebenstorf has numerous flags flying atop his canopy tent inside Daytona International Speedway. The Confederate flag is front and center. ''They'd have to come and get it,'' Rebenstorf said Saturday, pointing out that his American flag … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 minutes ago
  • Golf-European Tour French Open scores

    July 5 (Infostrada Sports) - Scores from the European Tour French Open at the par-71 course on Sunday in Paris -13 Bernd Wiesberger (Austria) 68 72 66 65 -10 James Morrison (Britain) 71 68 68 67 -8 Jaco Van Zyl (South Africa) 68 71 64 73 -7 Martin … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago
  • Winslow asked to do a little of everything for Heat

    Before ever seeing him in a Miami uniform, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was already putting a fairly high expectation on the shoulders of rookie forward Justise Winslow. Big praise, considering Spoelstra has used that phrase for certain players before … More »

    AP - Sports - 14 minutes ago