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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Asian American Figure Skaters: Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan

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For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I wanted to look at different parts of the culture. I decided to do something with sports. Since we have already read books about martial arts, I decided to go with something I love: figure skating. I went back to my younger days and found some books about Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan. 



Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi at 2010 Winter Olympics 2010-02-20
Kristi Yamaguchi at the 2010 Olympics By Parke Brewer
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Kristine Tsuya Yamaguchi is a Japanese American figure skater. She was born and grew up in California. Her father is a dentist and her mother is a medical secretary. She has two siblings. Kristi was born with club feet. She began figure skating and ballet classes as physical therapy for her feet.

She won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in the woman's singles. She also won world championships in 1991 and 1992. As a junior skater she also won a world title in 1988 and national titles in 1989 and 1990 as a pairs skater with Rudy Galindo. To be both a singles skater and pairs skater, Kristi had to practice twice as long. She loved both, but decided her focus needed to be on her singles performances so she could try for the gold at the Olympics. 

After the Olympics and world championships, Kristi joined Stars on Ice for many years and she won the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars.


To teach Hazel a bit about Kristi Yamaguchi I found some relatively easy books to read and understand at the library. Then we watched a few of her performances on Youtube like the one above.

Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan
Michelle Kwan in 2002 By Photo by en:User:Vesperholly
(Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Michelle Kwan was born in 1980 in California. She is a Chinese American. Her parents came from Hong Kong. Her interest in figure skating began at age five when watching her older siblings on the ice. She and her sister, Karen, began to train together seriously when Michelle as eight. They practiced for three to four hours using their time outside of school in the early morning and late afternoons. Their training caused a financial hardship on the Kwan family. With some financial assistance they were able to train at the Ice Castle International Training Center in Arrowhead, California.

She is a two time Olympic medalist and five time World Champion and nine time U.S. Champion. From 1997 to 2005, Michelle Kwan was the highest paid skater in the U.S. Figure Skating Association. After leaving the competing world of figure skating, Michelle Kwan has done many things from being appointed a U.S. Ambassador and helping with skating at the Special Olympics. 

Since Michelle Kwan had a longer public skating career there is more around about her. One of the things I enjoy is a song called "Just Like You (I'm an American)" by Kevin So. I played the song from his Along the Way CD for Hazel. You can listen to a clip of the song here it is number 4. His song is in reaction to the 1998 Olympics when Tara Lipinski beats Michelle Kwan. We read the books and enjoyed the song and videos. 
http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/asian-pacific-american-heritage-month-blog-hop-and-giveaway-2015/

This was our continued exploration of the Asian American cultures. We will be posting one of our posts for the Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Series & Giveaway on Monday. Be sure to enter the giveaway!! There are some amazing prizes!

1 comment:

  1. I just commented but it disappeared! Michelle Kwan's story is very touching. Glad to hear she succeeded in the end :)

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