Kristi Yamaguchi

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Kristi Yamaguchi
Kristi Yamaguchi 1996.jpg
Kristi Yamaguchi in 1996
Personal information
Full nameKristine Tsuya Yamaguchi
Country representedFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Born (1971-07-12) July 12, 1971 (age 47)
Hayward, California, U.S.
Height4 ft 11.5 in (151 cm) [1] [2]
Former partner Rudy Galindo
Former coachChristy Ness
Former choreographer Sandra Bezic
Skating clubSt. Moritz ISC

Kristine Tsuya Yamaguchi (born July 12, 1971) is an American former figure skater. In ladies' singles, Yamaguchi is the 1992 Olympic champion, a two-time World champion (1991 and 1992), and the 1992 U.S. champion. As a pairs skater with Rudy Galindo, she is the 1988 World Junior champion and a two-time national champion (1989 and 1990). In December 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 2008, Yamaguchi became the celebrity champion in the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars .

The figure skating events at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games were held at the Halle Olympique located next to the Théâtre des Cérémonies, two kilometres southwest of downtown Albertville.

The World Figure Skating Championships ("Worlds") is an annual figure skating competition sanctioned by the International Skating Union. Medals are awarded in the categories of men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dancing. Generally held in March, the World Championships are considered the most prestigious of the ISU Championships, which also include the European Championships, the Four Continents Championships, and the World Junior Championships. With the exception of the Olympic title, a world title is considered to be the highest competitive achievement in figure skating.

U.S. Figure Skating Championships

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships is a figure skating competition held annually to crown the national champions of the United States. The competition is sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating. In the U.S. skating community, the event is often referred to informally as "Nationals". Medals are awarded in four disciplines: men's (boys') singles, ladies' (girls') singles, pair skating, and ice dancing in four colors: gold (first), silver (second), bronze (third), and pewter (fourth) on five levels, senior, junior, novice, intermediate, and juvenile. The event is also used to determine the U.S. teams for the World Championships, World Junior Championships, Four Continents Championships, and Winter Olympics, however, U.S. Figure Skating reserves the right to consider other results.



Kristi Yamaguchi was born on July 12, 1971, [3] in Hayward, California, [4] to Jim Yamaguchi, a dentist, and Carole (née Doi), a medical secretary. Yamaguchi is Sansei (a third-generation descendant of Japanese emigrants). [5] Her paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from Japan, originating from Wakayama Prefecture and Saga Prefecture. [6] [7] Yamaguchi's grandparents were sent to an internment camp during World War II, where her mother was born. Her paternal grandfather, George A. Doi, was in the U.S. Army and fought in Germany and France during World War II during the time his family was interned at the Heart Mountain and Amache camps. [8] Research done in 2010 by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for the PBS series Faces of America showed that Yamaguchi's heritage can be traced back to Wakayama and Saga prefectures in Japan and that her paternal grandfather, Tatsuichi Yamaguchi, emigrated to Hawaii in 1899. [9]

Hayward, California City in California, United States

Hayward is a city located in Alameda County, California in the East Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a 2014 population of 149,392, Hayward is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area and the third largest in Alameda County. Hayward was ranked as the 37th most populous municipality in California. It is included in the San Francisco–Oakland–Fremont Metropolitan Statistical Area by the US Census. It is located primarily between Castro Valley and Union City, and lies at the eastern terminus of the San Mateo–Hayward Bridge. The city was devastated early in its history by the 1868 Hayward earthquake. From the early 20th century until the beginning of the 1980s, Hayward's economy was dominated by its now defunct food canning and salt production industries.

Dentist healthcare occupation

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry, the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and in some states, dental therapists.

Sansei(三世, "third generation") is a Japanese and North American English term used in parts of the world such as South America and North America to specify the children of children born to ethnic Japanese in a new country of residence. The nisei are considered the second generation; grandchildren of the Japanese-born immigrants are called Sansei; and the fourth generation yonsei. The children of at least one nisei parent are called Sansei. Sansei are usually the first generation of whom a high percentage are mixed race, since their parents were usually born and raised in America themselves.

Yamaguchi and her siblings, Brett and Lori, grew up in Fremont, California. In order to accommodate her training schedule, Yamaguchi was home-schooled for her first two years of high school, but attended Mission San Jose High School for her junior and senior years, where she graduated. [10]

Fremont, California City in California, United States

Fremont is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It was incorporated on January 23, 1956, from the annexation of Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San José, and Warm Springs. The city is named after John C. Frémont, an American explorer and former US Senator from California, Governor from Arizona, Major General in the Union Army, and the first Republican presidential candidate, in 1856.

Mission San Jose High School

Mission San Jose High School is a public, co-educational, four-year secondary school founded in 1964. It is located in the Mission San Jose district of Fremont, California, United States. It is one of the five comprehensive high schools of Fremont Unified School District. Mission San Jose High School is the 3rd largest high school in Fremont.

Yamaguchi began skating and taking ballet lessons, as a child, as physical therapy for her club feet. [11]

Skating career

Kristi Yamaguchi at The Heart Truth fashion show in 2009. Kristi Yamaguchi at The Heart Truth 2009 (cropped).jpg
Kristi Yamaguchi at The Heart Truth fashion show in 2009.

Pairs career

With Rudy Galindo she won the junior title at the U.S. championships in 1986. [1] Two years later, Yamaguchi won the singles and, with Galindo, the pairs titles at the 1988 World Junior Championships; Galindo had won the 1987 World Junior Championship in singles. In 1989 Yamaguchi and Galindo won the senior pairs title at the U.S. Championships. They won the title again in 1990.

Rudy Galindo figure skater

Val Joe "Rudy" Galindo is an American figure skater who competed in both single skating and pair skating. As a single skater, he is the 1996 U.S. national champion, 1987 World Junior Champion, and 1996 World Bronze medalist. As a pairs skater, he competed with Kristi Yamaguchi and was the 1988 World Junior Champion and the 1989 and 1990 U.S. National Champion. He is the first openly gay skating champion in the United States.

The World Junior Figure Skating Championships is an annual figure skating competition sanctioned by the International Skating Union in which figure skaters within a designated age range compete for the title of World Junior champion. The ISU guidelines for junior eligibility have varied throughout the years – currently, skaters must be at least 13 years old but not yet 19 before the previous 1 July, except for men competing in pair skating and ice dancing where the age maximum is 21.

As a pairs team, Yamaguchi and Galindo were unusual in that they were both accomplished singles skaters, which allowed them to consistently perform difficult elements like side by side triple flip jumps, which are still more difficult than side by side jumps performed by current top international pairs teams. They also jumped and spun in opposite directions, Yamaguchi counter-clockwise, and Galindo clockwise, which gave them an unusual look on the ice. In 1990, Yamaguchi decided to focus solely on singles. Galindo went on to have a successful singles career as well, winning the 1996 U.S. championships and the 1996 World bronze medal.

The flip jump is a figure skating jump.

Singles career

Yamaguchi won her first major international gold medal in figure skating at the 1990 Goodwill Games.

In 1991, Yamaguchi moved to Edmonton, Alberta, to train with coach Christy Ness. There, she took psychology courses at the University of Alberta. [12] The same year Yamaguchi placed second to Tonya Harding at the U.S. championships, her third consecutive silver medal at Nationals. The following month in Munich, Germany, Yamaguchi won the 1991 World Championships. That year, the American ladies team, consisting of Yamaguchi, Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, became the only national ladies team to have its members sweep the Worlds podium. In 1992, Yamaguchi won her first U.S. title and gained a spot to the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Joining her on the U.S. team were again Kerrigan and Harding. While competitors Harding and Japan’s Midori Ito were consistently landing the difficult triple axel jump in competition, Yamaguchi instead focused on her artistry and her triple-triple combinations in hopes of becoming a more well-rounded skater. Both Harding and Ito fell on their triple axels at the Olympics (though Ito successfully landed the jump later on in her long program after missing the first time), allowing Yamaguchi to win the gold, despite errors in her free program, including putting a hand to the ice on a triple loop and a double salchow instead of a planned triple. Yamaguchi went on to successfully defend her World title that same year.


Kristi Yamaguchi turned professional after the 1991–92 competitive season. [13] She toured for many years with Stars on Ice and also participated in the pro competition circuit.[ citation needed ]

In 1996, Yamaguchi established the Always Dream Foundation for children. The goal of the foundation is to provide funding for after school programs, computers, back-to-school clothes for underprivileged children, and summer camps for kids with disabilities. Commenting in 2009, she explained her inspiration for the project: "I was inspired by the Make-A-Wish foundation to make a positive difference in children’s lives. We’ve been helping out various children’s organizations, which is rewarding. Our latest project is a playground designed so that kids of all abilities can play side by side. That’s our focus now." [14]

Currently her Always Dream Foundation is focused on early childhood literacy with a statement of "Empowering Children to reach their dreams through education and inspiration." ADF has partnered with "Raising a Reader" to launch a reading program in schools throughout California and eventually nationwide. The foundation is also providing a language arts program "Footsteps to Brilliance" to kindergarten and first grade. Both programs integrate innovative technology into the classrooms. [15]

Yamaguchi is the author of Always Dream, Pure Gold, and Figure Skating for Dummies . In 2011, she published an award-winning children's book, Dream Big, Little Pig, [16] which was #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and received the Gelett Burgess Children's Book Award; a portion of the proceeds went to the Always Dream Foundation to support early childhood literacy programs. [17] A sequel, It's a Big World Little Pig, [18] was scheduled to be published March 6, 2012. [19]

Yamaguchi made a fitness video with the California Raisins in 1993 called "Hip to be Fit: The California Raisins and Kristi Yamaguchi". She has appeared as herself on Everybody Loves Raymond and in D2: The Mighty Ducks , Frosted Pink, and the Disney Channel original movie Go Figure . Yamaguchi has also performed in numerous television skating specials, including the Disney special Aladdin on Ice, in which she played Princess Jasmine.

In 2006 Yamaguchi was the host of WE tv series Skating's Next Star , created and produced by Major League Figure Skating. Yamaguchi was a local commentator on figure skating for San Jose TV station KNTV (NBC 11) during the 2006 Winter Olympics. [20]

On May 20, 2008, Kristi Yamaguchi became the champion [21] of the sixth season of ABC's reality program Dancing with the Stars , in which she was paired with Mark Ballas, defeating finalist couple Jason Taylor and Edyta Śliwińska. Yamaguchi made a special appearance in the finale of the sixteenth season where she danced alongside Dorothy Hamill.

Kristi Yamaguchi received the Inspiration Award at the 2008 Asian Excellence Awards. Two days after her Dancing with the Stars champion crowning, she received the 2008 Sonja Henie Award from the Professional Skaters Association. Among her other awards are the Thurman Munson Award, Women's Sports Foundation Flo Hyman Award, and the Great Sports Legends Award. She is also a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee Olympic Hall of Fame, World Skating Hall of Fame, and the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame.[ citation needed ]

In 2010 Yamaguchi worked as a daily NBC Olympics skating broadcast analyst on NBC's Universal Sports Network. During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Kristi was also a special correspondent for the Today Show. [15]

In early 2012, Yamaguchi created a woman's active wear line focused on function, comfort, and style to empower women to look good and feel good. The lifestyle brand is called Tsu.ya by Kristi Yamaguchi. Tsu.ya donates a portion of its proceeds to support early childhood literacy through Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation. [22]

In November 2017, Yamaguchi returned to Dancing With the Stars' 25th season in Week eight, [23] to participate in a trio Jazz with Lindsey Stirling and her professional partner Mark Ballas. [24]

Personal life

On July 8, 2000, she married Bret Hedican, a professional hockey player she met at the 1992 Winter Olympics when he played for Team USA. Yamaguchi and Hedican reside in Alamo, California [25] with their two daughters, Keara Kiyomi (born 2003) and Emma Yoshiko (born 2005). [26] In 2011, she authored a children's book with illustrator Tim Bowers. [27]

Competitive highlights

Kristi Yamaguchi's figure skates at the Museum of American History Kristi Yamaguchi's Figure Skates, 1990's.jpg
Kristi Yamaguchi’s figure skates at the Museum of American History


Winter Olympics 1st
World Championships 6th4th1st1st
Skate Canada 1st
Skate America 3rd1st2nd
Nations Cup 1st
International de Paris 2nd
NHK Trophy 2nd2nd
Goodwill Games 1st
International: Junior
World Junior Champ. 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd J.10th2nd2nd2nd1st


Ice Wars 1st1st1st
The Gold Championships 1st1st1st
World Professional Figure Skating Championships 1st2nd1st2nd1st1st2nd


(with Rudy Galindo)

World Champ. 5th5th
Skate America 5th2nd
NHK Trophy 3rd4th
Skate Electric Challenge1st
International: Junior
World Junior Champ. 5th3rd1st
U.S. Champ. 5th J.1st J.5th5th1st1st
J. = Junior level


1994You Must Remember ThisHerself / Madame X
1995Aladdin on IceJasmine
1998The Great Skate Debate IISkater
1994 D2: The Mighty Ducks Herself (Cameo)
1997 Everybody Loves Raymond Herself (Cameo)Episode: (Episode 19, The Dog) [28]
2001On EdgeRegionals Judge #4
2003Freedom: A History of UsHaruko ObataEpisode: "Depression and War"
2005 Go Figure Herself (Cameo)
2012Pandora Unforgettable Holiday Moments on IceHerself - Host
2013 Hell's Kitchen Herself (Dining room guest)Episode: "17 Chefs Compete"
2018 Fresh Off the Boat Herself / First Lady Kristi Yamaguchi-HuangEpisode: "King in the North"

Selected books


  1. 1 2 "Kristi Yamaguchi". Sports Reference . Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  2. Creef, Elena Tajima (2004). Imaging Japanese America: The Visual Construction of Citizenship, Nation, and the Body. USA: New York University Press. pp. 159–160. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  3. "Kristi Yamaguchi". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  4. "Kristi Yamaguchi: First Asian American Woman to Bring Home the Gold". "Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers", National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  5. Nomura, Gail M. (1998). "Japanese American Women," in The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History (Mankiller, Barbara Smith, ed.), pp. 288–290. , p. 288, at Google Books
  6. Edited by Richard Demak (1992-03-23). "Scorecard : Sports Illustrated vault". Retrieved 2010-04-23.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. "Kristi Yamaguchi | Faces of America". PBS. Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  8. Komai, Chris (2015-05-01). "Family Members Connect Secretary Mineta, Kristi Yamaguchi To Smithsonian's Congressional Gold Medal Digital Exhibition Broader Military Story" (PDF) (Press release). Torrance, California: National Veterans Network. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  9. "Faces of America: Kristi Yamaguchi". PBS, Faces of America series, with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 2010.
  10. Crooks, Peter (May 2010). "Kristi & Company: Olympic champ Kristi Yamaguchi juggles celebrity and philanthropy with her favorite role: being a mom". Diablo Magazine. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  11. Suzanne Riss (2010-02-23). "'92 Olympian Yamaguchi balances road, family". CNN. Retrieved 2014-01-28.
  12. "Off-ice advice: Kristi Yamaguchi relies financially on family, friends". Market Watch. 2001-11-12. Retrieved 2009-01-28.
  13. Hersh, Phil (August 30, 1992). "Urbanski, Marval Melt Ice, Reunite". Chicago Tribune.
  14. "Ability Magazine: Kristi Yamaguchi Interview" (2009)" . Retrieved 2012-04-03.
  15. 1 2 Interview with Kristi
  16. Yamaguchi, Kristi (2011). Dream Big, Little Pig. Illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. ISBN   978-1-4022-5275-4. OCLC   662405424.
  17. Wengen, Deidre (March 29, 2011). "Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi turns best-selling children's author". Archived from the original on April 1, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  18. Yamaguchi, Kristi (2012). It's a Big World, Little Pig. Illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. ISBN   978-1-4022-6644-7. OCLC   747529286.
  19. "It's a Big World, Little Pig!". Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  20. "Jan. 25, 2006: Bay Area Gold Medalist Kristi Yamaguchi Joins NBC11's Olympic Broadcast Team". Retrieved 2010-04-23.
  21. "Kristi Yamaguchi Wins Dancing with the Stars". Pacific Coast News. 2008-05-21.
  22. "Our Story: Always Dream Foundation". Tsuya by Kristi Yamaguchi. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  23. Montgomery, Daniel. "'Dancing with the Stars' trio dances will invite back Kelly Monaco, Alfonso Ribeiro, Laurie Hernandez, Corbin Bleu". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  24. Brozyna, Emily. "'Dancing with the Stars' trio dances will invite back Kelly Monaco, Alfonso Ribeiro, Laurie Hernandez, Corbin Bleu". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  25. Golden Girl Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  26. Rutherford, Lynn (April 15, 2012). "Kristi Yamaguchi Looks at The Sport". IFS Magazine. Archived from the original on April 18, 2012.
  27. Dream Big, Little Pig!, by Kristi Yamaguchi (Author) and Tim Bowers (Illustrator).
  28. Romano, Ray; Rosenthal, Phil; Caltabiano, Tom; Havrilesky, Heather (2004). Everybody Loves Raymond: Our Family Album. Pocket Books. p. 148. ISBN   9780743496476. OCLC   475680761.

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Further reading

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Hélio Castroneves & Julianne Hough
Dancing with the Stars (US) winners
Season 6
(Spring 2008 with Mark Ballas)
Succeeded by
Brooke Burke and Derek Hough