A BIG dreamer and do-er, two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Tsuya Yamaguchi (1971-) was born on this day in Fremont, California.
Yamaguchi was born with a foot deformity that required special shoes and nightly braces. Her handicap did not slow her down or stop her from dreaming big... And she never lost sight of her goals.
Dorothy Hamill's 1976 Olympic performances inspired Kristi to dream that she, too, could glide and twirl across the ice as a champion. Carrying a Hamill doll with her for good luck, at age six, she began the hard work and dedication to strengthen her legs... and believe in herself.
Yamaguchi's hard training paid off. She won the ladies' title and gold medal with partner Rudy Galindo at the 1988 World Junior Championships then realized her Olympic dreams in Albertville, France in 1992, winning gold.
"I've dreamed about this since I was a little girl and I first put on a pair of skates," she said of her victory. "To think about how far I've come, it's all still sinking in."
Beauty in motion, since her win, the hard-working role model has glided throughout the world as an ambassador for skating.
Kristi has continued to commit to make her dreams and the dreams of others come true. In 1996, she began the Always Dream Foundation to "create ways to make a difference for children in need." Her foundation serves the disadvantaged in California, Nevada, and Hawaii.
"Every child has a dream... Children need to know that there's someone who cares," said Yamaguchi, who in 2006 was named to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, the first Asian American inducted.