If you, like most of the United States, regard the '90s as a sort of golden era of figure skating, then you'll likely be delighted by this news: famed Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan was back in the headlines on Wednesday, as it was announced that Kwan will join the Hillary Clinton campaign, working out of the former Secretary of State's Brooklyn headquarters. And maybe this gets you thinking: hey, if Michelle Kwan entered the world of presidential politics, what about her fellow 1990s figure skaters? Have any of them made similar forays, pledging their support to a certain candidate through the years?
As it happens, there have been a bunch who've spoken out in recent election seasons, although the depth of their support in one direction or another varies pretty wildly. Suffice to say, not everyone is officially hitching themselves to a campaign like Kwan has.
Obviously, Kwan jumping aboard the Clinton bandwagon fits in neatly with her 1990s appeal — she won one of her two Olympic medals at the 1998 games in Nagano, Japan, as well as securing two of her five World Championships late in the Bill Clinton years. In short, she's a face from a past when the Clintons were still on top, and now she'll be trying to help restore that reality for Hillary.
Here are some prime examples of figure skaters getting political.
Tonya Harding Is Not Down With Obama (2009)
Make no mistake, the highly controversial Tonya Harding wasn't hot on the McCain campaign. Although, you can kind of understand why she was upset — as detailed by Newsweek, during his 2008 run Obama insisted he was running a positive campaign by using Harding's name as a pretty unflattering verb.
Folks said there’s no way Obama has a chance unless he goes and kneecaps the person ahead of us, does a Tonya Harding. We decided that’s not the kind of campaign we wanted to run.
Harding, of course, is probably most famous (or rather, infamous) for her then-husband Jeff Gillooly's 1994 attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan, which badly bruised Kerrigan's leg, forcing her out of the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championship. Harding would eventually plead guilty to conspiring to hinder the prosecution, and her reputation was pretty well shredded by the incident. She was evidently angry at being brought up by Obama, as she related in a 2009 interview with HBO's Real Sports.
...Because obviously, he doesn't have enough people looking at him? He has this country to think about, he has the candidacy to think about, the war to think about, and he has to bring me up?
Kristi Yamaguchi Comes Out For Mitt Romney (2012)
Former Olympic medalist and figure skating World Champion Kristi Yamaguchi went a lot further than just lashing out at President Obama in 2012 — she cut an ad for his Republican rival Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor had a role in the world of figure skating, as he was widely credited as a savior of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, a fact which Yamaguchi shouted out in her spot.
Tara Lipinski Wants President Obama To Lace 'Em Up (2015)
Earlier this year, while in Washington, D.C. for the White House Correspondents' Dinner, former figure skater extraordinaire Tara Lipinski said that she wanted to hit the ice with President Obama. Although she conceded that she wasn't a terribly political person, as detailed by The Hill, she still thought it was an "honor" to be attending the dinner.
I really think the president, probably should look into that. We could do doubles. ... Maybe we’d go through the Blades of Glory soundtrack, something like that.
Michelle Kwan Teams Up With Hillary (2012, 2015)
This recent news isn't the first time Kwan has joined with Hillary Clinton on a political gig. Back in 2012, she accepted a position as a diplomatic envoy in the Clinton State Department, according to CNN. Now, she'll be a paid, full-time campaign staffer, which speaks to the key difference between her and the other three women on this list — she's clearly a very political person. According to The New York Times, she'll be focusing on directing campaign surrogates on how to talk about issues that matter to working families.
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