Kristi Yamaguchi: “No Prouder Moment in my Life than Becoming a Mom”
A chat with the Olympic Gold Medallist and Dancing with the Stars winner at the Winter Olympics.
-April Daniels Hussar
The first thing I notice about Kristi Yamguchi is how petite and pretty she is, with a warm smile that puts me right at ease. This was a relief, because by that point I was pretty keyed up at the thought of meeting her and from the whirlwind of my day – the long flight, the tour of the P&G Family home, the sheer Olympic energy and excitement in the air everywhere, all the people saying “aboot”… (just joshing ya, Canada!). The next thing I notice is her awesome glittery purple nail polish. This is a lady I could hang out with.
Kristi’s two daughters, Keara, 6 and Emma, 4, visited the Winter Olympics in Vancover with her for a while (that photo above is Kristi and Keara in the P&G family home), but now they’re home –they had to get back to school, sighs their mom, who obviously misses them. She may be an Olympic gold athlete, the winner of Dancing with the Stars, the head of a charitable organization and a sought-after spokesperson, but it’s obvious that these days, she’s first and foremost a mom. How can I tell? At the end of our interview, I ask her what she’s looking forward to next. Her answer? “Sleep!”
How did becoming a mom change you?
It changes everything, being a mom. There’s no prouder moment in my life that the birth of my two daughters. And I think you connect with your own parents a little more, seeing what they’ve gone through and finally understanding that unconditional love.
Is there any part of yourself – or your career – you feel like you’ve had to give up?
I really need to be more conscious of scheduling, and making sure that my family has what they need. And then anything that’s extra then I try to make it work. My focus now is definitely on being a mom and my family. Being here at the Olympics is the exception, where I’m away for such a long period of time. I feel like I’ve really done everything in the skating world that I set out to do. [heck yeah – Editor]
Do your daughters skate?
Not yet – just for fun! Neither of them takes lessons.
What is something your parents taught you that you want to pass on to your daughters?
Hmmm .. there are a lot of things. Giving a hundred percent, to whatever you do. And following through, and not giving up. Its kind of cliché, but if you do that you’re learning a lot of different things – respect and determination. … It all stems from that one thing, of focusing on something and not giving up.
And just to be a good person. Ultimately, you want them to be good people. No matter what path they choose in life, whether an athlete, a scholar, a musician, a painter, you just want them to be good people, with integrity.
What’s a typical day in your life like?
There’s not usually a typical day. But if I’m not traveling somewhere, it’s, you know, getting up, getting the kids ready for school, and taking care of their other activities, whether it’s gymnastics or ballet… But I do still travel a little bit here and there, but I try not to do stuff more than twice a month or so.