Kimmie Meissner Wins 2006 Readers' Choice Award
Photo by Paul Harvath
(8/7/06) - 2006 World champion Kimmie Meissner capped off her breakthrough season by winning SKATING magazine's Readers' Choice Award for 2006 Skater of the Year Michelle Kwan Trophy). Voters logged on to www.usfigureskating.org to submit their votes for the most deserving skater(s) in the United States based on the accomplishments of the past season.
Meissner's performance at the World Figure Skating Championships in Calgary, Canada, in March included a near-perfect free skate packed with seven clean triples including two triple-triple combinations. It was the first World title for the United States in any discipline since Michelle Kwan won gold in 2003.
Meissner, 16, also competed at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, where she finished sixth. She was the youngest member on the entire U.S. Olympic Team, and the event marked her first major international event. She won the silver medal at the 2006 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, her second straight medal at the event.
Following the season Meissner made several appearances, including throwing out the first pitch of the Philadelphia Phillies' home opener, speaking at the Association for Women in Sports Media national convention, being a spokesperson for the Cool Kids Campaign for children with cancer, and appearing at the ESPY awards, where she was nominated for “Best Breakthrough Athlete.” Meissner will be presented the Readers' Choice Award at the first ISU Grand Prix Series event, 2006 Skate America, in Hartford, Conn., Oct. 26-29.
The full title of the award is the “Readers' Choice Skater of the Year, Michelle Kwan Trophy.” In 2003 Kwan won her seventh Readers' Choice Award. She is the only skater in the history of the award to win it more than once. To recognize her accomplishments, SKATING magazine and U.S. Figure Skating named the trophy in her honor. Kwan is no longer eligible to win the award.
This year the top three included 2006 U.S. champion Johnny Weir and junior synchronized skating team the Chicago Jazz, which won the bronze medal at the 2006 World Challenge Cup for Juniors. Skaters eligible for the award included the top five finishers in all senior disciplines at the 2006 U.S. Championships and the 2006 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, and medalists at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships, the Junior Grand Prix Final and the World Challenge Cup for Juniors.
The Michelle Kwan Trophy, which represents both the sport of figure skating and SKATING magazine, is a one-of-a-kind crystal sculpture designed by Crystal Signatures of Pennsylvania. The Readers' Choice Award is given annually by SKATING magazine, the official publication of U.S. Figure Skating.
SKATING magazine Readers' Choice Award Winners
2006 Kimmie Meissner
2005 Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto
2004 Sasha Cohen, Haydenettes
2003 Michelle Kwan
2002 Michelle Kwan
2001 Michelle Kwan
2000 Michael Weiss
1999 Michelle Kwan
1998 Michelle Kwan
1997 Tara Lipinski
1996 Michelle Kwan
1995 Todd Eldredge
1994 Michelle Kwan
1993 Scott Davis
1992 Paul Wylie
1991 Tonya Harding
1990 Jill Trenary
1989 Kristi Yamaguchi