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Fourth-Place Medal

Nearly two decades since gold, Yamaguchi still going strong

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

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It's been nearly 20 years since she dazzled us and won a gold medal at Albertville, France, and three years since winning "Dancing with the Stars," but Kristi Yamaguchi is still one of America's most liked athletes. However, she's not sitting back, eating bon-bons and enjoying how much you like her. She is still pursuing success in different arenas. In fact, she's so good at everything she does, you almost want to dislike her. Almost.

Yamaguchi, who will turn 40 this summer, is now a New York Times best-selling author and the star of a new workout DVD.

For the first time, she's venturing into the world of children's books, with a picture book about a pig who learns how to ice skate. Released at the beginning of the month, it's already No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list among children's books.

She also just released a workout DVD, so that you can follow her fitness regime. On the cover, Yamaguchi is every bit as adorable as she was when beating Midori Ito in the '92 Olympics.

OK, so she's an author, an Olympic gold-medalist, a prize-winning dancer and a workout maven. Anything else?

Of course. She's also the mom of two daughters, and has been married for more than 10 years to Bret Hedican, a recently retired NHL player. In this interview, she talks about how "mom" is the role she identifies with most. Her daughters helped her with writing her children's book.

See? At face value, you want to hate Yamaguchi. She is successful at everything she does. Blech. But then you follow her on Twitter, and she shares articles about finding happiness and links to cute, affordable kids clothing. She uses her book and foundation to inspire kids to dream big. She answers questions from children honestly, and her foundation has already donated $10,000 to tsunami survivors in Japan.

Taking all of that into account, it's no surprise that she is still one of the most likable athletes around, nearly 20 years later.

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