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Alexa Petersen | Jeminist: A Jumbo Feminist

Marry me, Michelle

Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 08:09


The biggest news in my world this month: Michelle Kwan is getting married. A disclaimer should be that I highly considered making this entire 600-word column simply a proposal from me to Michelle — asking her to marry me instead of the guy she’s engaged to because I’m so in love with her it’s concerning. Our wedding would be like the one on “Glee” — we would dance down the aisle to “Marry You.” It would be in Massachusetts so it could be legal, and we could get married in Goddard Chapel on the academic quad. There would be calla lilies. Just brainstorming. 

Tempted as I was, I will settle for a column dedicated to the aforementioned woman — a staple of American sports in the last decade, an Olympian, a strong-willed and incredibly gracious athlete and, of course, a Jumbo. Attending Fletcher for two years, Michelle Kwan captivated our campus. Star-struck undergrads would peek into Ginn to see if they could see her studying — was this just me? I told every tour I gave for the last three years that she goes here, and would explain in detail to these prospective Jumbos just how amazing Michelle is — again, was this only me? And whatever person named their computer network “Michelle Kwan’s Computer” and spent a whole lot of time in Tower Cafe — I mutually hate you and love you — you captivated our campus too.

There’s a reason why people are captivated by Michelle Kwan. She is a two-time Olympian, five-time World Champion and nine-time National Champion, and her career has lasted over a decade. Michelle was the sole inductee in 2012 to both the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, among a plethora of other career awards and honors.

But it’s not just the achievements and awards that make this woman so special. Michelle Kwan has both won and lost with a grace that is unmatched in her sport and in her era. With the greatest prize possible — the Olympic gold medal — slipping twice from her reach, she came back to the ice with an increased will to win each and every time. Her work ethic spans over a decade and speaks for itself. She is insatiably relatable — when she skates, her joy is electric. When she steps on the ice, it doesn’t matter if the audience has never seen skating, has never liked skating or can’t tell the difference between hockey and skating. She pulls you in and captivates you, not just because she is an excellent athlete, but also because she loves what she does.

And when her competitive career came to a close, she enrolled as a student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy — holla! After graduating, she continued her work as a public diplomacy ambassador and also works on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the U.S.-China Women’s Leadership Exchange and Dialogue. She uses her influence among the American people and beyond to promote female empowerment, cultural exchange and self-improvement through athletics.

Michelle Kwan, I know you will not marry me — the other guy beat me to it — but know that you are among my most favorite women on the planet. I would put a stereo on my shoulder and sing to you at your window. I would put Mitt’s dog on my roof and drive you wherever your heart desired. And even though you can’t accept my proposal, know that the Tufts campus loves you, embraces you and wishes the absolute best for you. You make us beam with Jumbo pride.

But seriously. Do you like calla lilies? Call me, maybe.



Alexa Petersen is a senior majoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She can be reached at

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