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When skater Michelle Kwan was 13, the junior skater went behind her coach Frank Carroll¡¦s back, submitted her application for senior competition for the next Olympics, and prepared herself for a spot on the team. Kwan then pleaded with her coach to allow her to compete with skaters older than her, with more savvy, and proper conditioning to peak at the right moment.

At that time, Carroll was still an unknown coach, Kwan an obscure skater, and the coach was caught in an awkward dilemma of sending the precocious but eager teenager early to senior competition, where maturity is the standard of excellence, and girlishness, play, and braces are frowned upon.

Coach Carroll, worried about, horrified for and protective of his prized student at the same time, set the youngster aside, gazed seriously at his prized student, and told her: ¡§If you want to be a senior, you have to...

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