Kristi Yamaguchi will be honored with the 2008 Sonja Henie Award at the annual Professional Skaters Association Awards Dinner May 22 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Chicago. The honor is one of several “EDI’’ awards, a tribute to Edi Scholdan, an Olympic coach and the first president of the Professional Skaters Association.
Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist, has been one of the most recognizable people in the sport. Today— 16 years after she captured the gold medal in Albertville — she remains one of the most popular. These days, she can be seen off the ice, on the small screen on ABC megahit, “Dancing with the Stars.’’
A skater most of her life, Yamaguchi had to learn the nuances of ballroom dancing in a matter of a couple of months. Yet she has once again risen up to the challenge, and along with partner Mark Ballas, she has been among the frontrunners on the show.
Yamaguchi was selected as the winner of the Sonja Henie award this year because she has brought recognition to the sport of figure skating in a positive and favorable manner. The award is presented to a female, professional skater.
As a professional skater, Yamaguchi has appeared in numerous nationally televised skating shows, pro competitions and toured with Smucker’s Stars on Ice. She also has taken time to be involved with charitable organizations, most notably her own foundation, Always Dream. That organization’s goal is to help children fulfill their dreams and goals.
Yamaguchi lives in Raleigh, N.C., with her husband, Bret Hedican, an NHL player who has won a Stanley Cup title with the Carolina Hurricanes, and their two daughters, Keara and Emma.