|Michelle Kwan visits Moscow orphanage
[ 2007-06-20 09:44 ]
This year marks 200 years since the United States and Russia
established diplomatic relations. The U.S. Embassy is coordinating several
events to mark the anniversary. VOA Correspondent Peter Fedynsky reports from
the Russian capital as part of the program, American figure-skating champion
Michelle Kwan engaged in some people to people diplomacy with a visit to a
"I am afraid to sleep on the top
so that I do not fall. I think I am afraid of heights, or something."
Kwan, Olympian and five time world figure skating champion, visited a bedroom at
Moscow's Orphanage Number 23. Kwan engaged the children in their classrooms,
playground, and basketball court, which is flooded in the winter to serve as a
"When I first started skating, I was five years old and
I remember the teacher telling me, 'this is how you fall.' And I looked at her
and said, 'why are you teaching me how to fall? Shouldn't you teach me how to
skate first? Then I soon realized that you do a lot of falling, but it is how
you come up after a fall and keep on going," she recalled.
Kwan said making connections with children, trying to inspire them, is her
form of public diplomacy.
Commenting on 200 years of U.S.-Russian relations, orphanage director Vlada
Volokhatova said there is no direct connection between traditional diplomacy and
Michelle Kwan's visit.
Nonetheless, Volokhatova says diplomacy is not just about diplomats. She
notes that communication between ordinary Americans and Russians is also part of
Throughout this bicentennial year, U.S. diplomats in Russia will be
celebrating other areas of Russian-American cooperation since 1807, including
health, philanthropy, space, business, and rule of law.