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Thread: "Parallels"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Default "Parallels"

    I don't expect anyone reading this to believe me, for I find it hard to believe myself. But recently, and completely by accident, I established Internet contact with my counterpart in a parallel universe. It turns out that we were both logging onto our respective Michelle Kwan Forums simultaneously, as intense thunderstorms raged in San Jose both in this universe and in his. All I can figure is that, somehow, the lightning both here and there caused an energy surge that tore open a rift between the two universes. And the next thing I knew, I found myself staring in shock at my identical counterpart by virtue of our webcams, his shock mirroring mine.

    After getting over our shock, and then comparing general similarities and differences between our universes -- such as the red, yellow, and blue 57-star American flag in his -- we discovered the coincidence of our having been attempting simultaneously to log onto our respective Michelle Kwan Forums. Of course, recognizing one another as Michelle Kwan fans, we immediately began to exchange information about our universes' two Michelles. I thought you'd be interested in their differences -- and, more importantly, in their similarities.

    For the purposes of this account, I am "Rick In San Jose #1," and my other-universe counterpart is "Rick In San Jose #2."

    Rick In San Jose #2: Our Michelle was the greatest figure skater in history. She won Olympic gold medals in 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010. Her duel against Sonja Henie, her chief rival, in the 2010 Games at Lake Placid was a battle for the ages. Michelle won by 0.01 of a point. In addition, she won seven World Championships and Eleven National Championships.

    Rick In San Jose #1: Very impressive. Our Michelle was the greatest of all as well. She didn't win Olympic gold, finishing with the silver in '98 and the bronze in '02. Injury prevented her from competing in '06. And by 2010 she had retired. But in addition to her two Olympic medals, she won nine National and Five World Championships, and won a total of 43 championships. By the way, in my humble opinion, the Olympic judges here, particularly in 1998, must have been imbibing liberally of adult beverages.

    Rick In San Jose #2: I know what you mean. I'm still disappointed over the scandalous judging in the 1992 Sapporo Olympics that put the pairs team of Yamaguchi and Galindo in third place. Talk about adult beverages! So, was your Michelle disappointed over not winning Olympic gold?

    Rick In San Jose #1: I'm sure she must have been inside, because winning the gold was a great dream of hers in her youth. But she accepted the situation with the grace and class and humbleness she's always displayed from the first day she stepped into the public eye. I clearly recall her saying:

    "I've learned that it's not about the gold. It's about the spirit of it and about the sport itself. I have no regrets. I tried my hardest and if I don't win the gold, that's OK. I've had a great career. This is a sport. It's beautiful."

    Rick In San Jose #2: Interesting. Our Michelle said the exact same thing just before the 2010 Olympics. Sonja Henie was the favorite coming in, and Michelle was considered a long shot that year.

    Rick In San Jose #1: In a book by a journalist here named Katie Couric, our Michelle also said:

    "In the end, your finest moments in life aren't necessarily those in which you finish first but, instead, the times when you know that you simply gave it your best -- when you did it heart and soul, and held nothing back."

    Rick In San Jose #2: I read the same quote by our Michelle in a book here; only it was by Katie Horvick.

    Rick In San Jose #1: I must ask you: Did your Michelle's Olympic success ever go to her head in any way?

    Rick In San Jose #2: No, not in the slightest bit. Never. In fact, right after winning her fourth gold medal in 2010, she stated:

    "But, in the bigger picture of my life, I have always wanted to find a career that will allow me to make a positive contribution and difference in the world. Representing the United States as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy the past three years has been very rewarding, and I want to do more."

    Rick In San Jose #1: That's amazing. Our Michelle made the same statement, word for word.

    You know, given how both Michelles share the same desire to make a difference, maybe Olympic gold -- winning it, in your Michelle's case, and not winning it, in my Michelle's case -- is irrelevant. In fact, this just confirms something I've realized of late: Michelle Kwan, being the exemplary person she is, having lived the life she has, and having already begun working to make the world a better place, has gained a status decidedly above and beyond that of "Olympic gold medalist." To be honest with you, I used to think that winning the Olympic gold medal was a stellar accomplishment, and maybe at some level it is. But to me, at least, Michelle has rendered the Olympic gold medal an insignificant, shiny bauble. So now, whenever I hear about someone winning the gold medal, I think, "Okay, so now what are you going to do?" In some cases, the answer is nothing; and those Olympic champions are soon forgotten.

    I guess I'd sum it up by saying that there are any number of Olympic gold medalists -- but only one Michelle Kwan. And that a heart of gold trumps a medal of gold any day.

    Rick In San Jose #2: I certainly agree there is only one Michelle Kwan -- one per universe, that is! I think our Michelle significantly elevated the status of "Olympic gold medalist" with her uncommon grace, class, and humbleness, and by never forgetting who she is and where she came from. But at the same time, like your Michelle, she's also demonstrated her awareness that there are dreams and aspirations, ideals and achievements, far above and beyond athletic victories, and far more important and worthwhile to the world and humanity.

    I contrast this with athletes who win Olympic gold when they're fifteen or sixteen, and then never accomplish anything more of note for the rest of their lives. How sad for someone to achieve their greatest accomplishment in life as a teenager, only to then fade away into obscurity and be forgotten.

    Rick In San Jose #1: Yes indeed. I know a few examples of this.

    Rick In San Jose, #2: Whatever incredible fluke has allowed us to establish contact, I'm so glad that we've been able to compare notes on our two Michelles, and…

    NOTE: At this point, I suddenly lost contact with "Rick In San Jose #2." In the time since, I've tried to reestablish contact with him, particularly during thunderstorms, but with no success.

    But even if I never communicate with my parallel-universe "Doppelganger" ever again, I'm gratified to know that Michelle Kwan is Michelle Kwan -- in whatever universe she dwells.
    “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light from a single candle.”
    --Saint Francis of Assisi

  2. #2

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    OMG!! Two Ricks!! Thanks to you "both" for this unique and heartfelt tribute to our Michelle. She is indeed the greatest "in whatever universe she dwells" and in the lives of all she has touched! Love this fiction/nonfiction story!

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