It doesn't figure

I'd love to see Michelle Kwan skate again--graceful, elegant, megawatt smile as she glides into her final spiral.

And Sasha Cohen, the saucy vixen with porcelain-doll exterior and blow-torch soul? Absolutely.


How about three-time world champion and 2006 Olympic gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko? Hey, the more the merrier.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics less than a year off and the world championships taking place in Los Angeles this week, all three athletes are making noises about coming out of retirement.

Russia's Plushenko might be able to pull it off; there's not a skater in his country who even approaches his old skills. But for the sake of their bodies and our memories, here's hoping Kwan and Cohen get on with the rest of their lives.

It was about a year ago that Kwan told me she was finally pain-free when she put her feet on the floor each morning getting out of bed. Years of practice had left her with a ton of hurt that only healed with surgical intervention and time.

At 28, the five-time world champion and nine-time national champion has earned a college degree and a future chock-full of whatever she wants. But apparently her to-do list might include reaching for the Olympic gold that eluded her.

Cohen, 24, runnerup at the 2006 Olympics, endured a lifetime of pounding that left her with a creaky back, hips and neck.

The sport that they left is not what they're thinking of stepping back into. Kwan is a virtual stranger to the new scoring system and Cohen isn't much better versed. Believe me, it's a jungle out there, and with more mandatory elements, more critical judging and slo-mo instant replays, it's getting meaner every season.

And while each woman might have a shot at making the U.S. team going to Vancouver next February, the likelihood of them leaping over Japan's Mao Asada and Korea's Yu-Na Kim (not to mention Canada's Joannie Rochette and Carolina Kostner of Italy) to the podium isn't great.

It's not surprising that each woman still feels the desire to compete. You don't become great by being passive.

Would I love to see Kwan and Cohen skate again? Absolutely. In the same way I'd love to watch Johnny Unitas hit Raymond Berry down the sideline or the "Showtime" Lakers of Magic Johnson and James Worthy run the court or Sandy Koufax retire the side.

Speaking of retired, that's where Kwan and Cohen should stay.