Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on July 8, 2001

I love to watch figure skating, and Kristi Yamaguchi is my favorite. Is it true she was born with clubfeet?
—Nicole C., California

Yes. Kristi Yamaguchi, who turns 30 July 12, had to wear casts and foot braces the first few years of her life to straighten her feet. But that didn't stop her from becoming one of the world's top figure skaters. She became interested in skating after watching Dorothy Hamill win an Olympic gold medal in 1976 and started taking lessons that year. Yamaguchi is an Olympic gold medalist, two-time world champion, and four-time world pro figure skating champion. In the 1992 Olympics, Yamaguchi became the first woman from the United States since Hamill in 1976 to win the singles gold medal. She went pro in 1992 and toured with Target Stars on Ice earlier this year. In addition, she wrote Figure Skating for Dummies and co-authored Always Dream, a children's book. Always Dream also is the name of the foundation Yamaguchi established in 1996. The foundation supports organizations in California, Nevada, and Hawaii dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children. Yamaguchi married Bret Hedican, a defenseman for the Florida Panthers, last July.