Kristi Yamaguchi

Wednesday - March 22, 2006
By Kerry Miller | Share

Kristi Yamaguchi
Kristi Yamaguchi

Dressed comfortably in a tank top, capri pants and shoes that add a good three inches to her tiny frame, Kristi Yamaguchi was preparing for a day of autograph-signing and promoting Aloha Shoyu at Foodland Market City in Kaimuki when she spoke with MidWeek.

Since gracing MidWeek’s cover in June of 1994,Yamaguchi’s family, her foundation, promoting Aloha Shoyu and her upcoming TV shows have kept the 1992 Olympic figure skating champion on her toes.

“I have a 3-month-old at home,“Yamaguchi says with a smile, adding that with a 2-year-old to care for as well, “I’ve been a mom for the past couple of years.”

More recently, however, she’s managed to squeeze in time as a spokesperson for Aloha Shoyu. The Hawaii-based company chose Yamaguchi as its new face, and she was happy to accept, considering a portion of the proceeds from Aloha Gold Shoyu would go to her foundation, “Always Dream,” an entity dedicated to helping children fulfill their dreams.

“I think the company shares the same values as my foundation. It’s a great fit,” she says.

Also on the horizon for Yamaguchi is hosting the reality show Skating’s Next Star. The show premieres March 20 on the Women’s Entertainment Network and is a competition to find the next big figure skating star. Also this year, NBC will broadcast a special titled Kristi Yamaguchi Friends and Family. Later this year,Yamaguchi joins hands with Wal-Mart’s “Steps Across America” campaign, an incentive to get people walking to benefit their health. A group of walkers start in New York and are scheduled to travel by foot to California, stopping at Wal-Mart stores along the way.

Yamaguchi and her husband, Bret Hedican, a defenseman for the NHL Carolina Hurricanes, spend some of the year in Raleigh, N.C., and after the hockey season is over, reside in Northern California. The 34-year-old is not from Hawaii, as she says most people think she is, but was born in Fremont, Calif. But she does love Hawaii and spends time here vacationing to visit friends.

“Everyone thinks I’m from here,” laughs the California native. “I’m just an honorary kamaaina. I have an extended family here now.”

After spending about a year away from the ice, the gold medalist recently laced up her skates, just to “get my heart rate and everything going again.”

- Kerry Miller

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