The world of figure skating is always changing. New skaters come and go but, there is one skater who has managed to keep her edge for over 40 years.
Kristi Yamaguchi's humble personality and bright smile made her an easy target for cameras, but it was her elegance on the ice that earned her a seat on the 1992 US Olympic team.
Yamaguchi skated alongside Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan and Midori Ito.
That year, the triple axel jump became the main focus for spectators. At the time, it was a complicated stunt. One that Tonya Harding was known for, but Yamaguchi struggled with.
"I knew it was a risky thing for them," Yamaguchi said. "I knew they had to land it in order to get the edge on me but, I knew I had other things to bring to the table."
Yamaguchi's gut feeling was right. Tonya did not land the triple during her Olympic performance.
It was Yamaguchi's consistently flawless performance that allowed her to become the first Asian-American to win an Olympic gold medal and roll model status.
"After the Olympics, there was a lot going on and the Asian-American community was the first to reach out and offer assistance and help," Yamaguchi, a third generation descendent of Japanese emigrants, said. "That's when I first realized what it meant to especially the Japanese-American community and my parents history."
Her grandfather served in WW2 and her mother was born in an internment camp. Kristi grew up in Hayward, Calif., where her parents supported her dream of skating since she was six years old.
"I was really one generation off from a family that lost everything," Yamaguchi said. "So that’s when it started to sink in."
Yamaguchi's Olympic win forever changed the face of ice skating, paving the way for other Asian-American skaters like Michel Kwan and Karen Chen.
Today, she is still living an active lifestyle. After appearing in a number of movies, she made her way onto Dancing with the Stars.
In 2011, she wrote an award winning children's book. The following year, she started her own clothing line which helps supports her early childhood literacy program called "Yamaguchi's Always Dream Foundation."
Kristi is still active in the skating world. She trains with her daughter and mentors the next generation of skating stars.
"It is hard now a days," Yamaguchi said. "Skaters are so exposed. You have to have sort of a thick skin because you are so exposed."
The world of figure skating is always changing, but for Yamaguchi, life after skating has offered up a world of change.
"I am busy being mom," Yamaguchi exclaimed. "Just like any mom out there you are just trying to get through the day and making sure you are getting everyone where they need to be. This is the best time of my life."
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