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Q&A: Olympic Gold Medalist (and Mom) Kristi Yamaguchi
Just over 20 years ago, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi won the gold medal for her ladies' singles performance at the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Although you won't catch the 40-year-old competing on the ice nowadays, she's not slowing down: She took the top spot on the sixth season of ABC'sDancing with the Stars, she's launching a new active-wear line, Tsu-Ya, and she's working with Smuckers on their Uncrustables Unstoppable Family Photo Contest. Plus, she's a mom of two, to eight-year-old Keara and six-year-old Emma, and wife to Olympic hockey player Bret Hedican. After the 2012 London Games came to a close, Kristi caught up with WomansDay.com to share how she helps her family stay well and how her own mother contributed to her success.
How do you keep your children healthy?
I try to have an overall healthy outlook, from keeping them physically active to allowing them plenty of sleep and rest. I also maintain a balanced diet for them and try to surround them with nutritious food options.
How did your mom motivate you as an athlete?
It didn't matter what my siblings and I did: Whether it was school or skating, my mom expected us to commit to it 100%.
What words of wisdom did your mom like to share with you?
I think doing your best was something both my parents encouraged. You learn that early on in skating because it's a subjective sport and you don't have ultimate control over the outcome. So my parents would say that doing your personal best is more important than the judges' scores.
How did your mom boost you up when you were feeling down?
My mom knew that if I didn't win, but skated as well as I could, then that was all that she and I could've asked for—that's a reward in itself. I was definitely upset if I did something wrong or out of the ordinary during my routines, but that just motivated me to work and train harder in the future.
How do you keep your children feeling good about themselves?
I try to be as positive as I can around them. My older child, Keara, is more apprehensive at trying new things, so I always tell her, "Give it a try!" It helps that I sign her up for activities with her friends so she benefits socially as well. Both girls are young enough that I can encourage them to just have fun, but in the future I will probably teach them to take pride in and responsibility for themselves.
Do you want your daughters to play sports?
My husband and I would love to see them active in a sport or hobby—no matter which activities they end up choosing. Right now, my older one is in soccer, and the younger one is skating. I definitely tell them all about committing and giving their all toward their activities. Sports were good to my husband and me, and they taught us how to respect our bodies and teamwork—especially while working on Team USA. So we want our daughters to learn all of the great things that come out of being involved with sports.
What did you think about the London Olympic Games? Did you watch it with your daughters?
Yes, we all watched it and it was fun! This year the girls understood the competition more, and it was great to see Team USA win so many medals. The team was definitely strong.
Tell us about your upcoming fashion line, Tsu Ya.
Tsu Ya launches September 6thduring Fashion Night Out. The line has been a few years in the making, and it's been fun traveling down this industry road. The line encompasses fashionable active wear—the material is functional and comfortable for physical activity. I wanted to integrate details that depict a feminine look and help women feel good about what they're wearing post-workout.
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