Peter Ueberroth, Chairman, U.S. Olympic Committee "The United States Olympic Committee announces today that five-time world champion and nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan has made a decision to withdraw from the 2006 Olympic Winter Games due to a new injury. Michelle Kwan injured an adductor muscle in her right hip, commonly called a groin strain, at a practice Saturday morning at the Palaghiaccio practice ice rink in Torino, Italy. The second part of this announcement: at 7:30 this morning, the U.S. Olympic Committee submitted a Late Athlete Replacement Form to the Torino Organizing Committee and to the IOC. We submitted Emily Hughes as a replacement athlete in the ladies figure skating competition. At 11 o'clock this morning, that athlete was accepted and will be eligible to compete."
"Michelle Kwan means more to the United States Olympic Committee than maybe any athlete that's ever performed for the United States Olympic Committee. She a leader, she's been gracious, she's somebody to cherish forever. She's a real loss to all of the United States Olympic Committee, to the United States of America and, I think, to the world. She's made a courageous decision."
Ron Hershberger, President, U.S. Figure Skating "Michelle Kwan is truly a great champion. She has been and still is a great champion. I think I can say she is widely admired and, in fact, adored by figure skating fans everywhere. She has been a true champion in every sense of the word. She sustained this new injury during the first day of practice. She had followed the process carefully and we had followed the process carefully of the criteria for the selection to the Olympic Team. She had been examined by her own physician after sustaining an injury earlier in the year and was certified to be healthy. She then submitted her petition to be nominated to the Olympic Team. The Figure Skating Association exercised its option to have her evaluated again by a physician selected by us. That physician did examine her and certified that she was healthy. She then continued to train. She was monitored by a five-person monitoring committee that we selected, who saw her run through her short program and her long program. Clearly she was ready to compete. Then she was seen again by monitors on the second of February, again confirming her readiness, and then finally by her own doctor, who also is a U.S. Figure Skating physician, on the seventh of February, just before coming to these Games, again, ready to compete. It's really regrettable that on the first day of practice that she sustained a new injury and is forced to withdraw. She is a true champion and she will gut through this. We are delighted that Emily Hughes has continued to train and be ready and she will be sometime later this week."
David Raith, Executive Director, U.S. Figure Skating "[Michelle Kwan] is a great champion and has been one of the faces of U.S. Figure Skating. I was the one who called last night to the Hughes family at 2:45 a.m. local time. They were at dinner -- I heard the clatter of forks and knives in the background. I spoke with John Hughes first, then I spoke to Emily Hughes, who expressed her wishes for a recovery for Michelle, and also is very, very excited that she will become a member of the U.S. Olympic Team, pending the approval that was received this morning. She's very excited. They are evaluating their options on when to come here and we will be in touch with them later today regarding those logistics."
Dr. Jim Moeller, M.D. (Troy, Mich.) "Shortly before 2:00 this morning, I was contacted by our Medical Director to report to our training room in the Village to perform an assessment on Michelle. She met us there about 2:15. Along with the medical director, together we obtained a medical history regarding her injury which occurred on Saturday at practice, an injury such that she was unable to continue her practice and cut it short. We then proceeded to perform a physical examination of both hips, assessing her amount of discomfort, motion and strength. We made the assessment of an acute groin strain or adductor strain, in which this type of injury at her sport, at her level, we felt that to continue to train and compete would put her at risk for further injury. So it was our recommendation that she consider withdrawing at that point. In total it took roughly 15 minutes to obtain the information and make the assessment. I do want to be clear on one point: this type of injury is not career-threatening. We do expect her to make a full recovery with time and proper rehabilitation."
Scott Hamilton, 1984 gold medalist and NBC analyst "For me personally, from '80 to '84 was a lifetime to wait for my chance at Olympic gold. She waited from '94 to '98, '98 to 2002, 2002 to 2006, with the eyes of the world being on her as an icon of the sport, being a nine-time U.S. Champion, five-time world champion, two-time Olympic medalist."
"She's probably the most significant athlete at these Olympic Games. And so for her to pull out is a gigantic story, and a loss for the U.S. team because so much of the focus was going to be on her."