Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi (born on July 12, 1971 in Hayward, California) is a former American figure skater.

In ladies' singles, Kristi is the 1992 Olympic champion, a two-time World champion (in 1991 and 1992) and the 1992 U.S. champion.

As a pairs skater with skater Rudy Galindo, she is the 1988 World Junior champion and a two-time national champion (1989 and 1990).

In December of 2005, Kristi was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.


Pairs CareerEdit

With Rudy Galindo, Kristy won the junior title at the U.S. championships in 1986.

Two years later, she won the singles and (with Rudy), the pairs titles at the 1988 World Junior Championships; Galindo had won the 1987 World Junior Championship in singles.

In 1989, Kristy and Rudy won the senior pairs title at the U.S. Championships. They won the title again in 1990.

As a pairs team, she and Rudy 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, Kristy counter-clockwise, and Rudy clockwise, which gave them an unusual look on the ice.

In 1990, Kristy decided to focus solely on singles and Rudy went on to have a successful singles career as well, winning the 1996 U.S. championships and the 1996 World bronze medal.

Singles CareerEdit

In 1991, Kristy moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to train with coach Christy Ness. While there, she took psychology courses at the University of Alberta.

During that same year, she placed second to Tonya Harding at the U.S. championships, her third consecutive silver medal at Nationals. The following month in Munich, Germany, Kristy won the 1991 World Championships.

That year, the American ladies team (which consisted of of Kristy, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan) became the only national ladies team to have its members sweep the Worlds podium.

In 1992, she 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, Kristy 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 Kristy 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.

Kristy went on to successfully defend her World title that same year.


Kristi turned professional after the 1991–92 competitive season and she toured for many years with "Stars on Ice" and also participated in the pro competition circuit.

Post-Skating CareerEdit

In 1993, Kristy made a fitness video with the California Raisins in 1993 called "Hip to be Fit: The California Raisins and Kristi Yamaguchi".

In 1996, she 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.

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.

Kristy is the author of the books "Always Dream, Pure Gold" and "Figure Skating for Dummies."

In 2011, she published an award-winning children's book "Dream Big, Little Pig" 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

A sequel, "It's a Big World Little Pig" was scheduled to be published March 6, 2012.

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

On May 20, 2008, Kristi became the champion 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.

She made a special appearance in the finale of the sixteenth season where she danced alongside Dorothy Hamill.

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

In early 2012, Kristy 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.

In November of 2017, Kristy returned to the 25th season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in Week eight to participate in a trio Jazz with Lindsey Stirling and her professional partner Mark Ballas.


Kristi 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.

Kristy 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.

Competitive HighlightsEdit

Singles Edit

Event 1986–87 1987–88 1988–89 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92
Winter Olympics 1st
World Championships 6th 4th 1st 1st
Skate Canada 1st
Skate America 3rd 1st 2nd
Nations Cup 1st
International de Paris 2nd
NHK Trophy 2nd 2nd
Goodwill Games 1st
International: Junior
World Junior Champ. 1st
U.S. Championships 2nd J. 10th 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st

Professional Edit

Event 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02
Ice Wars 1st 1st 1st
The Gold Championships 1st 1st 1st
World Professional Figure Skating Championships 1st 2nd 1st 2nd 1st 1st 2nd

Pairs Edit

(with Rudy Galindo)

Event 1984–85 1985–86 1986–87 1987–88 1988–89 1989–90
World Champ. 5th 5th
Skate America 5th 2nd
NHK Trophy 3rd 4th
Skate Electric Challenge 1st
International: Junior
World Junior Champ. 5th 3rd 1st
U.S. Champ. 5th J. 1st J. 5th 5th 1st 1st
J. = Junior level

Medal RecordEdit

Olympic Games

  • Gold medal: 1st place (1992 Albertville)

World Championships

  • Gold medal: 1st place (1991 Munich)
  • Gold medal: 1st place (1992 Oakland)

World Junior Championships

  • Gold medal: 1st place (1988 Brisbane)

World Junior Championships (in pairs)

  • Gold medal: 1st place (1988 Brisbane)
  • Bronze medal: 3rd place (1987 Kitchener)

Personal LifeEdit

Kristy was born to Jim (a dentist) and Carole Yamaguchi (a medical secretary); she has two siblings: brother Brett and sister Lori.

She is Sansei (a third-generation descendant of Japanese emigrants). Her paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from Japan, originating from Wakayama Prefecture and Saga Prefecture.

Kristy's grandparents were sent to an internment camp during World War II, where her mother was born. Her paternal grandfather was in the U.S. Army and fought in Germany and France during World War II.

Kristy and her siblings grew up in Fremont, California. In order to accommodate her training schedule, she 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.

As a child, Kristy began skating and taking ballet lessons as physical therapy for her club feet.

On July 8, 2000, she married professional ice hockey player Bret Hedican; they met at the 1992 Winter Olympics when Bret played for Team USA. They have two daughters: Keira Kiyomi (born in 2003) & Emma Yoshida (born in 2005) and reside in Alamo, California.