It was 2002, and Czisny was about to launch her senior career at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. As luck of the draw would have it, Czisny — then 14 — was the first to skate her short program, just ahead of Kwan.
"I was thrilled to be able to sit in the Kiss & Cry and watch her," Czisny, the reigning U.S. ladies champ, said Monday. "The longer I skate, the more I've learned to admire what she did because it's not easy getting to the top, and it's not easy staying at the top."
Ten years later both women have come full circle, in their own distinctive ways.
Kwan, 31, will take center stage at a ceremony Friday in San Jose for her induction into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. San Jose was the site of her first of nine U.S. titles in 1996, when she was just 15.
Revered as one of the greatest figure skaters of all time, Kwan's career also included winning five world titles and two Olympic medals (silver in 1998, bronze in 2002). Last summer she received her master's degree from Tufts University's Fletcher School of Diplomacy.
"Who's more deserving of being inducted in the Hall of Fame than Michelle Kwan?" Czisny asked. "She was so consistent, and she had that presence on the ice that set her apart from her competitors that made us all love her and believe in her."