Twenty-two years after winning an Olympic gold medal for figure skating, Kristi Yamaguchi sat down with HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski to discuss her successful career, parenting, and the upcoming Sochi Olympics in February.
"I will be going to Sochi. I'm excited to go," Yamaguchi said. "Obviously, [the Olympics are] such an exciting and exhilarating experience, and to watch is so inspiring.
Yamaguchi added that aside from figure skating, she was excited to watch hockey (her husband Bret Hedican was a member of the U.S. hockey team at the 1992 Winter Olympics, where the couple met), speed skating and some of the new events at these games.
"It's exciting -- there's women's ski jumping for the first time in the Olympics this year, I'm excited to see. And figure skating has the new team event that's being incorporated, so another opportunity to win a medal, an additional medal in figure skating. So a lot of fun things that will be debuting."
The skater, who was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005, offered some advice to this year's athletes. "I think it's all about putting the work in, and putting the time in -- not leaving anything to chance. And knowing it's going to take time. It took me 14 years to get to the Olympics, and like all the athletes you'll see in Sochi, it was a lifelong pursuit. So it's being able to focus and to face the challenges and keep believing in yourself."
Yamaguchi, now 42, also discussed how she got started with figure skating as a remedy for her club feet. "The doctor said yes, it might help with the strength and coordination, and it's a very good athletic activity, especially me being so small and all that. So yeah, I think it helped."
She also talked about her daughter's skating aspirations. "My younger one does skate a little -- she goes twice a week. And it's kind of recreational right now and fun, and it's a great activity for her. If she chooses to be competitive with it, I'll support it. I love skating, and if that's the path she chooses, I'll fully support it. But I know I can't push her because I know what it takes and it has to come from her."
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