U.S. to test Kwan's fitness on Friday
Michelle Kwan must prove she is fit for the Turin Olympics Friday, when a U.S. Figure Skating committee will monitor her practices in Los Angeles.
Kwan will do run-throughs of her short program and free skate for the five-member committee.
If the observers determine she is healthy, she will remain on the U.S. squad for next month's Olympics. If not, she will be replaced by Emily Hughes, who finished third at this month's national championships.
Kwan, a five-time world champion and nine-time U.S. champ, skipped nationals with a groin injury. She petitioned for a berth on the team, which was conditionally granted by U.S. Figure Skating.
However, Kwan first must pass the monitoring test conducted by U.S. Figure Skating international committee chairman Bob Horen, technical controller Charlie Cyr, world judge Paula Naughton, international judge Lorrie Parker, and athlete representative Brittney Bottoms.
The U.S. Olympic Committee will make the final nomination of the 2006 team no later than Monday. But any member of the women's figure skating squad -- currently Sasha Cohen, Kimmie Meissner or Kwan -- could be replaced almost as late as three weeks from now because of injury or illness.
Kwan won the silver medal behind Tara Lipinski at the 1998 Olympics, then was the bronze medalist behind Sarah Hughes -- Emily's older sister -- and Russia' Irina Slutskaya in 2002.
The road to Turin has been an especially frustrating one for Kwan, 25. She stayed in the sport long after most U.S. women retired, but injuries have plagued her this season.
Kwan missed the Grand Prix circuit, and in her only appearance of 2005-06, she won a made-for-TV event judged by the public, but did not do any triple jumps.
Then she was sidelined for nationals and filed the petition to be placed on the Olympic squad.
"I'm my worst critic," Kwan said after Cohen won the U.S. title, which Kwan watched on television from her home in California. "If I feel that I can't be ready, I will pull myself off the team.
"I've said that before and I'm sticking to it. If I don't believe I can be 100 percent and at my best, I don't believe it's good for me to go."
Kwan has been through this before, but she was in Hughes' spot in 1994. Kwan finished second at those national championships, but was left off the team when Nancy Kerrigan was given a medical bye. Kerrigan was injured at a practice session for nationals by an attacker hired by associates of skater Tonya Harding.
Kerrigan finished second to Oksana Baiul in Lillehammer.
In 1992, Todd Eldredge was given a spot on the men's team for Albertville despite missing nationals because of injury. Eldredge wound up 10th at Albertville.
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