Michelle Kwan Plots Return to the Ice

Juggling broadcasting, diplomacy and college, the skating champ takes aim at another Olympics

Last weekend, champion skater Michelle Kwan worked along side NBC broadcaster Bob Costas covering the figure skating world championships in Los Angeles – but at next year’s Vancouver Olympics, she could back on the ice competing again.

“There are all these rumors about me coming back, but yes, it’s a possibility,” she tells PEOPLE. “After college and the traveling I did for the state department, I came home to Los Angeles and I’m training again. I got back my triple jumps. I’m going to get in good shape and make my decision from there.”

Kwan, 28, is a five-time world champion and two-time Olympic medalist. (She won a silver in ’98 and a bronze in ’02). The skater, who was forced to withdraw from the 2006 Olympics due to a hip injury, would have to qualify by competing in January’s U.S. national championships, where she’d need to finish in the top two to solidify a place on the team. If she doesn’t compete, expect to see Kwan in Vancouver as a skating analyst for NBC and performing in ice shows. “Touring, competing – the possibilities are everything.

Hitting the Books

In the meantime, she is wrapping up her studies at the University of Denver and weighing offers from graduate schools to study international relations. Kwan recently returned from the Ukraine, where she met with youth groups and students as a special envoy for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, a role she began under the Bush administration.

“My job is to open a dialogue with the people I’m meeting with and to answer questions about life in America,” she says. “A lot of people I meet abroad think America is Hollywood, Vegas and New York. I tell them that that is not what life is all about here and we all have much in common, like love for family and valuing education.”

She also finds herself answering questions about another distorted version of American life: reality television. “People don’t understand that everyone has drama in their lives and TV can twist things a little.”

Any drama in her life? “I’m dating,” she says, coyly declining to share any more details.

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