Kristi yamaguchi
It is truly amazing to stand on top of the podium and hear the national anthem. There are so many thoughts that you think about but I always think about all the people who helped me along the way. [1]

Kristine Tsuya "Kristi" Yamaguchi- Hedican (born July 12 1971) is an American figure skater and the 1992 Olympic Champion in women's singles. Yamaguchi also won two World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 and 1992 and a U.S. Figure Skating Championships in 1992. She won one junior world title in 1988 and two national titles in 1989 and 1990 as a pairs skater with Rudy Galindo. In December 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Yamaguchi was a local commentator on figure skating for San Francisco-area TV station KNTV (NBC 11) during the 2006 Winter Olympics.

On May 20, 2008, Yamaguchi became the celebrity champion in the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars with pro dance partner Mark Ballas, defeating finalist couple Jason Taylor and Edyta Śliwińska. The judges commented that she was the most consistent competitor of any dancer in any season of the show. According to the host of the show, she had the highest scores of any competitor in the show's history.


1986 Skate America Yamaguchi Galindo LP06:00

1986 Skate America Yamaguchi Galindo LP

Kristi Yamaguchi 1992 Olympics LP06:36

Kristi Yamaguchi 1992 Olympics LP

Kristi Yamaguchi, age 14, performing with Rudy Galindo in their long program for Skate America '86 1992 Olympic Long Program
Yamaguchi's perfect scoring jive

Image GalleryEdit



Yamaguchi in the Stars on Ice program

Kristi got milk
  • Yamaguchi keeps her Dancing with the Stars trophy on a shelf in her movie room, next to her husband's Stanley Cup trophy. [2]
  • Kristi Yamaguchi is the 2008-2009 spokesperson for the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza Campaign. [3]
  • Summer is Kristi's favorite season, because she gets to wear flowy fabrics. [4]
  • Yamaguchi's favorite designers are Rebecca Taylor, Nannette Lepore, Robert Rodriguez and Moschino. [4]
  • Yamaguchi's worst fashion mistake was taking on the 80s Madonna look with the lace leggings, gloves and teased hair. [4]
  • Yamaguchi did not have a fitness routine before starting Dancing with the Stars. [4]
  • Yamaguchi usually wears a platinum heart necklace with pave diamonds that was given to her by her husband when their first daughter was born. [5]
  • Yamaguchi and her husband are open to the possibility of having more kids and would love to have a son. [4]
  • When Yamaguchi first heard about Dancing with Stars she initially thought it was a "hokey idea". [6]
  • When Yamaguchi had her agent suggest her name to producers of Dancing with the Stars, they initially did not want any skaters. [6]
  • Yamaguchi has only skated with her husband once, when he was playing for Carolina and they had family day for all the kids and parents on the ice. [6]
  • The samba was the hardest dance for Yamaguchi. [7]
  • Yamaguchi was born with duck feet, which made her feet go outwards, but she go ther feet fixed, so she could skate.



Yamaguchi with husband Brett Hedican and their two daughters at the World Premiere of Wall-E

A year before the Olympics was kind of a tough year. I had a lot of doubt. I placed second three times in the U.S. Championships, and a lot of doubts popped up. To overcome that, I went back to simplicity. Why was I skating? Why was I doing all of this? Because I loved it, and couldn't imagine life without it. It reinspired me skate for myself rather than for my judges or other people. It brought back the joy of skating. [5]
My kids ground me. When you're a mom, you're so excited to get sleep, but I can't wait to get up in the morning and see them. [4]

On her Olympic gold medal:

It's become my identity, my title that I carry around. [8]

On her relationship with Bret Hedican:

We understood each other's lifestyle. He was right in the middle of his NHL career and traveling, and I was right in the middle of my professional career and on tour most of the year. Our personalities are compatible, too. He's more social than I am, but you need that -- the yin and yang -- to make it work. [4]

On what she enjoys most about Dancing with the Stars:

It's fun to push the body again and learn how to dance. I've showed that I could still go out there and do it. [4]

On winning Dancing with the Stars:

It's a huge honor. This is a great gift from the fans. We danced our hearts out for them -- and for the judges, too. [2]


Kristi Yamaguchi was born on July 12, 1971 in Hayward, California, to Jim Yamaguchi, a Dentist, and Carole Doi, a medical secretary, who is of Japanese and Filipino descent. Kristi is Yonsei (fourth-generation Nikkei). Her paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Japan.

Kristi's grandparents were sent to an internment camp during World War II, where her mother was born. Kristi and her siblings, Brett and Lori, grew up in Fremont, California, where Kristi attended Mission San Jose High School her freshman year and transferred to Willow Glen High School in San Jose, California, where she graduated. Yamaguchi began skating as a child, as physical therapy for her Club feet.

Pairs careerEdit

Kristi wpartner350

Yamaguchi, 18, skating with Rudy Galindo at the 1990 US Nationals

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

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.

Singles careerEdit


Yamaguchi endorses Harlick ice skates

In 1991, Yamaguchi moved to Edmonton, Alberta to train with coach Christy Ness. There, she took psychology courses at the University of Alberta. 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 Figure Skating Championships. That year the American ladies team, consisting of Yamaguchi, Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, became the only national ladies team to have its members place first, second and third at Worlds. In 1992, Yamaguchi won her first U.S. title and gained a spot to the 1992 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 it 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.


49b5 2

Yamaguchi's image graces a box of Honey Frosted Wheaties

Though Yamaguchi won the gold medal, she would be overshadowed in publicity and endorsements by Nancy Kerrigan who later endured the highly publicized attack staged by associates of teammate Harding. Yamaguchi never expressed any dissatisfaction with her lack of endorsements as she had one of the most successful professional skating careers since Sonja Henie, performing with such shows as Champions on Ice and Stars on Ice for over ten years. Yamaguchi received endorsements deals from Wendy's and DuraSoft Colors contact lenses, but not high-profile, multimillion-dollar deals with corporate giants like Campbells, Disney or Pepsi. Some suspected that her Asian heritage may have put her at a disadvantage. Bill Imada, whose firm advises companies on marketing to Asian Americans observes that for marketers "People like Kristi Yamaguchi don't represent, at least with marketers, the wholesome all-American image".

She later received contracts with high fashion firms like Celanese Acetate, appeared in a "Got Milk" ad, and was featured on a Wheaties Box. And in 2008, she became the first woman to drop the green flag to start the Indianapolis 500.

On July 16, 2008, a Harris Poll quoted by MarketWatch put Kristi Yamaguchi in the top 10 of US Favorite Female Sport Stars even 16 years after her Olympic win. Fellow figure skater Michelle Kwan, who also is "Asian American" is on the list too.

Professional & Personal lifeEdit

Kristi Yamaguchi at the '94 Winter Olympics

Kristi Yamaguchi at the '94 Olympics

Kristi Yamaguchi turned professional after the 1992 competitive season. She toured for many years with Stars on Ice and was also a fixture on the pro competition circuit, where she continued to be technically competitive with the younger ladies that had only recently retired. In recent years she has cut back on her skating schedule to concentrate on family life. Since July 8, 2000 she has been married to Bret Hedican, a professional hockey player she initially met at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Yamaguchi and Hedican, who is currently with the Anaheim Ducks, reside in Raleigh, North Carolina with their two daughters, Keara Kiyomi, born on October 1, 2003 and Emma Yoshiko, born on November 17, 2005 in Raleigh.

In 1996, she established the Always Dream Foundation for children. Kristi is the author of Always Dream, Pure Gold, and Figure Skating for Dummies, as well as the children's picture book Dream Big, Pig!. She made a fitness video with the California Raisins in 1993 called, "Hip to be Fit: The California Raisins and Kristi Yamaguchi".

As an actress, she appeared in the PBS series, Freedom: A History of Us portraying Haruko Obata, one of the first teachers of ikebana in the San Francisco Bay Area. As herself, she appeared on Everybody Loves Raymond, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Frosted Pink, and the Disney Channel original movie Go Figure. Kristi has also appeared in numerous television skating specials including the Disney special Aladdin on Ice, portraying Princess Jasmine.

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 Awards. 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.

Dancing With The StarsEdit


Yamaguchi and dancing partner Mark Ballas dance the pasa doble to New Order's Blue Monday during week 4 of Dancing with the Stars's 6th season

Yamaguchi is the 2008 season winner on ABC's reality program Dancing with the Stars 6th season paired with Mark Ballas. In the first three weeks, they received scores of 9, 9, and 9 for a total of 27 for their Foxtrot, Mambo, & Tango. This was the highest first and third week score in the show's history. During the fourth week, she received 10, 9, and 10 to have a total of 29, and the fifth week she received 9, 10, and 10 of having another total of 29 on the Paso Doble & Rumba. On her April 21 performance she received a perfect 30 score from the judges for her Jive. This makes her holding the 1st place spot for 6 weeks in a row, which is a new record on the show. During the seventh week, she didn't come in first. She received a 26 out of 30 for her Viennese Waltz which the judges gave her 9, 8, and 9 which gives her first 8 ever given, and her Cha-Cha-Cha was a 28 out of 30. The judges gave her 10, 8, and 10. Yamaguchi ended up with a fifty-four out of sixty which put her in second, her first time not being first on the judge's leader board. On the eighth week of competition, they received a 29 out of 30 as the judges scored 9, 10, and 10 for their quickstep and 26 out of 30 for their sassy samba with the judges scored them for 8,9, and 9. In the ninth week of competition, Kristi got her "top spot" back after two weeks. On the Tango, the judges gave her a 29 and on the Jive, 28. On the tenth week of the competition (finals), she received the highest score once again, breaking the tie with Mario Lopez for the most times a celebrity placed first place. On her "Mambo and Hip Hop" mesh Freestyle to Michael Jackson's Working Day and Night, the judges gave her a perfect 30, her first since her Jive in Week 6. And on her Cha-Cha, she received another 30. She received all but one of the perfect 30s awarded in that season (Jason Taylor's finale dance being the other). The Cha-Cha was danced back-to-back for the finals.

Performances Edit

Week # Dance/Song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Foxtrot/ "The More I See You" 9 9 9 Safe
2 Mambo/ "Hey Baby" 9 9 9 Safe
3 Tango/ "Rio" 9 9 9 Safe
4 Paso Doble/ "Blue Monday" 10 9 10 Safe
5 Rumba/ "Say" 9 10 10 Safe
6 Jive/ "Rip It Up" 10 10 10 Safe
7 Viennese Waltz/ "I'm With You"
Cha-Cha/ "Don't Stop the Music "
8 Quickstep/ "Billy A Dick"
Samba/ "Volare"
Tango/ "Midnight Tango"
Jive/ "Nutbush City Limits"
Cha-Cha/ "Dancing on the Ceiling"
Freestyle/ "Workin' Day and Night"
Jive/ "Rip It Up"

Competitive highlightsEdit

Kristy Yamaguchi

Singles careerEdit

Event/Season 1987-1988 1988–1989 1989–1990 1990–1991 1991–1992
Winter Olympics 1st
World Championships 6th 4th 1st 1st
World Junior Championships 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st
Goodwill Games 1st
Skate America 3rd 1st 2nd
Nations Cup 1st
Trophée Lalique 2nd
NHK Trophy 2nd 2nd

Pairs careerEdit

(with Galindo)

Event 1984–1985 1985–1986 1986–1987 1987–1988 1988–1989 1989–1990
World Championships 5th 5th
World Junior Championships 5th 3rd 1st
U.S. Championships 5th J. 1st J. 5th 5th 1st 1st
Skate America 5th 2nd
NHK Trophy 3rd 4th
Skate Electric 1st
  • J = Junior level

Filmography Edit

Year Title Role
2005 Go Figure Herself


  1. Exclusive: Kristi Yamaguchi Today, Megan Southwick,
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kristi Yamaguchi Wins: Backstage Report, AOL Television.
  3. Kristi Yamaguchi Discusses the Faces of Influenza Campaign, Kristina Duda, R.N., February 5, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 OK! Interview: Kristi Yamaguchi, OK!. May 16, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kristi Yamaguchi answers your questions], TODAY Staff, February 12, 2009.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 In Step with Kristi Yamaguchi, James Brady, Parade Magazine. December 7, 2008.
  7. Kristi Yamaguchi on Dancing Her Way to the Trophy, Rhoda Charles, TV Guide. May 19, 2008.
  8. Kristi Yamaguchi, Dominick A. Miserandino,

External linksEdit

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