Friday, February 21, 2014

Yamaguchi Wins Olympics Gold

On Feb. 21, 1992, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi won an Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating. It would be the first, and only, Olympic medal won by Yamaguchi during her figure skating career.

Going into the ’92 Albertville Games, the United State’s Tonya Harding and Japan’s Midori Ito held the advantage of being able to consistently land their triple axels, while Yamaguchi decided to concentrate on her artistry and her triple-triple combinations. That turned out to be a great decision, as she went on to win the competition, despite a couple of slip-ups during her free program. That was largely due to the fact that neither Harding nor Ito were able to land their triple axels.

United State figure skating star Kristi Yamaguchi on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1992 after winning the Gold Medal at the Albertville Winter Olympics.

After successfully defending her World title later that year, Yamaguchi would turn professional and tour with Stars on Ice for several years.

Yamaguchi also won another World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 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 pair’s skater with Rudy Galindo.

Yamaguchi was a local commentator on figure skating for San Francisco TV station KNTV (NBC 11) during the 2006 Winter Olympics. In 2006 Yamaguchi was the host of WE TV Series Skating's Next Star, created and produced by Major League Figure Skating, then in 2008, Yamaguchi became the celebrity champion in the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars.

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.

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.

Yamagucci has also seen the silver screen as an actress in both the 1994 film D2: The Mighty Ducks and 2005 film Go Figure. In both movies she acted as herself.

She also has graced the pages of novels, authoring three books including Figure Skating for Dummies, PURE GOLD and Always Dream.