That was Michelle Kwan's announcement. She gave up her last chance (most likely) to ever win an Olympic Gold Medal. That takes courage.
If you haven't followed the story, Michelle has spend the better part of the Figure Skating season injured and had to petition to the United States Figure Skating Association for a medical exemption to compete in the Olympics. She was provided an opportunity to prove her fitness to and USFSA panel, passed and was granted her exemption.
With the news of her withdrawl there are, of course, detractors.
Ed Swift of Sports illustrated has an article in which he writes about the United States Figure Skating Association never should have granted her the exemption. He writes of how "Strained groins -- right hip adductor was the exact term used by Dr. Moeller -- are notoriously slow to heal and easily re-injured, which is exactly what happened to Kwan when she attempted a triple flip 15 minutes into her first Turin practice."
USOC Doctor Jim Moeller had a different opinion.
"She was cleared medically and told she had a complete recovery from the prior injuries. Based on my assessment at this moment, I would have to say it's an acute new injury."
He did not believe the injury to be related. But he's just a doctor for the United States Olympic Committee.
He also writes of how the exemption was also a bad decision for the USFSA, how it goes against everything they stand for. Funny thing. In 1994 Nancy Kerrigan was granted an Olympic exemption after she was assaulted by Tonya Harding's partner Jeff Gillooly. Under normal circumstances the top 2 finishers at the 1994 US Championships would have been on the Olympic Team headed for Lillehammer. But for that year the 2nd qualifier became the alternate. The 2nd qualifier was Michelle Kwan. She did pay her way to Lillehammer as the alternate just in case the opportunity arose, it didn't.
The skeptics will also remark about how Michelle Kwan's exemption took away an opportunity for one of figure skatings up and coming young to stars to compete in the Olympics. How the opportunity of a lifetime was taken away from Emily Hughes. How she may never know what it feels like to compete in the Olympics, to compete for the pride of your country. Michelle Kwan may be the only person who actually knows how she felt. She's the only other American figure skater to have ever been in that position.
Michelle Kwan has dominated Figure Skating for over a decade. In 1995 she won her first US and World Championships. From 1997 to 2004 she won 8 straight US championships and 5 World Championships, never placing lower than fourth.
Unfortunately, the detractors will always come back to the fact that she has never won Olympic Gold. Michelle Kwan has done more for American Figure Skating that anyone in history. Her legacy should be one of success and accomplishments, not a single missing trophy.
"I have no regrets. I tried my hardest. And if I don't win the gold, it's OK. I've had a great career. I've been very lucky. This is a sport, and it's beautiful."