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December 6, 2005 > Hometown girl to be inducted into Olympic Hall of Fame

Hometown girl to be inducted into Olympic Hall of Fame

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, a native of Fremont, will be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2006 on Dec. 8 in Chicago. The event will be aired on Sunday, Jan.1, on NBC beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Yamaguchi is known for her elegant charm and graceful style on the ice, however, as a young child, that grace did not come easily. She began figure skating as physical therapy for her clubbed feet and soon discovered that she had natural talent. After several years of success competing in pairs, Yamaguchi placed her focus solely on singles, winning back-to-back World titles in 1991 and 1992. To top off a seemingly fairy-tale year, Yamaguchi won the gold medal in ladies singles at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games, becoming the first American woman to win gold since Dorothy Hamill.

Married to Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Bret Hedican and mother of two, this gold medal winning figure skater is also an active humanitarian. She has discovered innovative ways of providing funding for a diverse range of programs to inspire and embrace the hopes and dreams of children and adolescents through her "Always Dream Foundation."

Other Hall of Fame inductees include sprinters Evelyn Ashford and Bob Hayes, swimmer Rowdy Gaines, gymnast Shannon Miller; Paralympian skier Diana Golden-Brosnihan; ice hockey coach Herb Brooks; speedskater, Jack Shea in the Veteran's Category; the 1984 men's gymnastic team including Bart Conner, Tim Daggett, Mitch Gaylord, Jim Hartung, Scott Johnson and Peter Vidmar, with alternate Jim Mikus and Special Contributor Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics.

The U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to celebrate the achievements of America's premier athletes in the modern Olympic Games. The first U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1983 during ceremonies in Chicago. That Charter Class, which included Olympic greats Jesse Owens, Jim Thorpe and Muhammad Ali, remains the largest group ever inducted. In 2004, after a 12-year hiatus, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame was revived through the support of Allstate Insurance Company.

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