Having achieved my own dreams, I want to give to kids who are less fortunate, who struggle with everyday obstacles. I want to give them something positive in their lives: support.
I don't mind the sparkle - I think it's kind of a tradition in skating. I don't think the men really need sparkles, but for the women it's part of the glamour of our sport.
I've realized how precious life is. When I was younger, I was more adventurous. I felt invincible. I was game for everything. As a mom, I don't want to get injured because then I can't take care of my kids.
Dorothy Hamill was my big idol as a kid. She'd won the Olympics in 1976. She was America's sweetheart with her personality, her talent, her haircut.
Growing up as an athlete, I started skating very young. My parents didn't know anything about the sport, so they went with the flow. I had two great coaches who gave great advice and gave guidelines for my parents. My parents let the coaches dictate what was going on on the ice.
I learned to put 100 percent into what you're doing. I learned about setting goals for yourself, knowing where you want to be and taking small steps toward those goals. I learned about adversity and how to get past it.
At 6 years old, the ice became a place for me to express myself. Because I was so shy off the ice, it became my safe haven, with music and freedom and self-expression. That was my emotional outlet.
With 30,000 deaths and 200,000 hospitalizations from the seasonal flu, those numbers are certainly higher than what we've seen of the swine flu. Protecting yourself from both viruses is very important.
I always try to start out with some type of goal. Then I work backward and think of what I need to do to get there, and give myself smaller goals that are more immediate.
There are two or three performances in your life that are absolutely on, where all the planets are lined up for you and you feel you're invincible.
Skating was something I really wanted to do; my parents knew nothing about it. They said they'd support me as long as I was trying my hardest and enjoying it.
As a professional, I think we're not being judged solely on technical ability anymore. People really want to be entertained and enjoy what they're watching.
In terms of my career, having the gold definitely changed my life. The Olympics are different, you know? They're every four years and it's such a small group.
I've always worked closely with the designers and whoever's making the costumes. Comfort is the last thing you want on your mind when you're competing. In an ideal situation, you'll have something where you'll put it on and you're fine and you don't have to worry about it at all.
Probably a few weeks after I was born I started having casts put on my legs to straighten them out. After that corrective shoes and with a brace in between.
I don't know how many people really knew who I was before the Olympics and that's the fun thing of the Olympics - you get to know someone who captures your heart, hopefully.