She's one of America's most beloved figure skaters. Now, Kristi Yamaguchi talks to NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai about what life is like after winning Olympic gold.
Her dazzling spins and jumps on the ice in 1992 catapulted Kristi Yamaguchi into stardom. Now, 22 years later, the Olympic gold medalist dazzled her daughters by decorating her East Bay home with life sized cutouts of Harry Potter characters for a recent birthday party. It's proof that when Yamaguchi sets her mind to something, be it figure skating or planning a kids birthday party, she does it 100%. What she didn't plan however, was falling in love and marrying retired hockey star, Bret Hedican. "I never knew who I would marry, probably skater wasn't high on my list," Yamaguchi said. "Definitely hockey player was very low on the list."
From skating to dancing and everything in between, the 42-year old Fremont native is very honest about the Olympic lifestyle. "I wouldn't say it's easy, it's never an easy road," Yamaguchi said. "I think there are adjustments and there are things you have to be ready for in life, but I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of great people."
Knowing the good and bad of competing at an elite level gives Yamaguchi a unique perspective when helping her daughters decide what's right for them. "If my daughters decide to skate, and actually the younger one does skate recreationally now, I'd be like o.k. lets try it," Yamaguchi said. "If she really wanted to be competitive I would sit her down and tell her this is what it takes. I'm certainly not going to push either one of them in that direction because I want them to find their own path."
As sweet and geunine as Yamaguchi is, she says she can get mad. Click on the video link at the top to see Raj's full interview with Kristi and what can set her off.