Kristi Yamaguchi: Skating her way through life
We all remember when Kristi Yamaguchi won Olympic gold for figure skating in 1992. So what is America’s darling-on-ice up to these days? We caught up with Kristi and learned about her clothing line, her children’s book and why you’ll never see her on America’s Got Talent…
Kat: Good grief, girl, you are busy! Let’s start with your clothing line, tsu.ya. Whatever inspired you to design clothes?
Kristi: Where I am in my lifestyle right now — being an active, busy woman and a mom and wanting to look for clothes that are functional and comfortable but fashionable too — I wanted something I’d feel comfortable working out in, and yet continue on with my day running the kids or grocery shopping or whatever. I wanted to create an active women’s clothing line with feminine details to it.
Kat: When can we expect to see that?
Kat: And then in your spare time, you went right ahead and cranked out a children’s book, It’s a Big World, Little Pig! Again, what motivated you?
Kristi: My kids motivated me to attempt to write a children’s book. Bedtime reading is a real tradition in our household and it’s fun to see the same books that they read over and over again, so I wanted to add to that collection.
Kat: Was writing a children’s book something you always wanted to do, or just since you’ve had kids?
Kristi: It was something I always had in the back of my mind, and then when they got to an age that they started reading picture books I was like, “Okay, that day is here. Let’s give it a try.”
Kat: Give us some insight into what it’s like when the Olympics are over. For example, some athletes go into the games in relative obscurity, and then go home as household names like Michael Phelps, Gabby Douglas and yourself. So what’s that like? What should someone like Gabby prepare for?
Kristi: It’s quite a whirlwind. Gabby is an amazing girl and it was thrilling to watch her and I think so many were excited to see her win the gold. She’s pretty young, so I think you rely on your family a lot and enjoy the ride, you never know how long it will last. Stay grounded. It’s a little different — you have to get used to the attention. It’s a bit intimidating and daunting at first.
Kat: Having been an Olympic champion, what is your general take-away from the Summer Olympics?
Kristi: I think it was amazingly successful for the U.S. You know they won so many medals, and there’s so many incredible, positive stories that came out of it.
Kat: You have two little girls. Do either of them show any interest in following in Mom’s footsteps?
Kristi: Not the older, but the younger one who is six is enjoying skating, but we’re taking it slow. She’s just a beginner.
Kat: What is your older daughter interested in?
Kristi: She likes softball and dancing and she’s really into art.
Kat: You also, among a zillion other things you’ve won, are a Dancing with the Stars champion. How was the transition from the ice to the dance floor? It has to be easier, right?
Kristi: I wouldn’t say easier — I didn’t have to worry about falling as much and it was nice to have a professional partner. It was fun — it was competitive and stressful.
Kat: You seem to be really good at all the things you do. Can you make the rest of us feel better and share something you’re really terrible at?
Kristi: Oh yeah, lots of things. I can’t sing at all.
Kat: So we won’t see you on America’s Got Talent any time soon?
Kristi: Oh no. But I guess I least know I can’t sing.
Kat: That does separate you from a lot of other people. Anything else?
Kristi: I always tell people that for being an Olympic athlete, I’m not good at any other sport.
Kat: So the kids aren’t wowed by your baseball performance?
Kristi: No, not at all.
Kat: Describe your idea of a lazy day.
Kristi: Sleeping in and being around the house is a dream, do something fun with the kids or just relaxing. I probably wouldn’t answer any e-mails.
Kat: Finish this sentence for me: “In ten years I will be…”
Kristi: Old. (Laughs).
Kat: You’ll be running a successful clothing line, you’ll probably write a couple more books. How about starring in any blockbuster movies?
Kristi: Yeah, probably not. Unless I can pick my co-star.
Kat: Before we wrap up, tell us a little bit about the Smuckers Uncrustables Unstoppable Family Photo Contest...
Kristi: People can go to www.smuckersuncrustables.com, and enter a family photo of themselves being unstoppable as a family, doing something fun and energetic showing where they like to enjoy their Uncrustables with a short caption and then they have a chance to win $15,000 that would go toward a family adventure or vacation or whatever. People can go online and vote for their favorite photo. Families should definitely check it out.
Image courtesy of Smuckers