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"There may be two or three performances in your life that are absolutely on, where all the planets are lined up for you, and you feel that you are invincible."

— Kristi Yamaguchi

Skating dress, 1990s
Artifact Detailsview larger

Yamaguchi wore this dress, designed by Lauren Sheehan, during her professional career.

— Gift of Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi
First Asian American woman to win Olympic Gold in Figure Skating

Kristi Yamaguchi skated her way to a gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville and went on to be one of the most beloved ice skaters in America. Yamaguchi was born with a foot condition and started skating to strengthen her feet and ankles. She excelled at both singles and pairs, a rare achievement, winning multiple world junior and national championships with partner Rudy Galindo. She followed with individual victories at the 1991 and 1992 World Figure Skating Championships and the 1992 U.S. Nationals. Her 1992 Olympic gold-medal performance—in which she became the first Asian American woman to win a gold medal in figure skating—crowned her amateur career.

Following Albertville, Yamaguchi took the professional skating world by storm, winning the World Professional Figure Skating Championship four times between 1992 and 1997. Touring with Stars on Ice for over a decade, the effervescent Yamaguchi continues to win fans and attract product endorsements.

Name: Kristi Tsuya Yamaguchi
Born: Hayward, California, 1971–
  • First Asian American woman to win Olympic gold medal in figure skating, 1992
  • First Asian American inducted into World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, 1998
  • U. S. Junior Pairs Champion, 1986, 1988; U.S. Pairs Champion, 1989– 1990
  • Amateur World Figure Skating Champion, 1991– 1992
  • Professional Figure Skating Champion, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1997
  • Founder of Always Dream Foundation, a children's advocacy group

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National Museum of American History   Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service