Being a professional skater is a difficult balance for many. While some like Nancy Kerrigan have the attitude that the hard work is over and act as though they are on an extended summer vacation, that will only get them roles in 'Alice In The Looking Glass On Ice' that they produce themselves. (Was anyone else embarrassed to come across that on television yesterday?)
One skater who knew how to have a pro career was Kristi Yamaguchi, who maintained her technical skills for a decade and continually improved her artistry, skating skills and performance ability.
Sandra Bezic feels that one of the roles of a choreographer is the ability to continually stretch and access areas of a skater's personality that haven't been tapped before. Kristi Yamaguchi broke out of her shell in a big way when she skated to En Vogue's ''Never Gonna Get It'' her first year as a professional. It was a Kristi that no one had seen before or expected. Mountain Mouse was flirty, sassy and even a little sexy (all with some fierce hair). Kristi was NOT a Sasha Cohen who likes to mix up her repertoire by skating to 'Hurt,' 'Imagine,' and 'God Bless America.' For what it is worth, Kristi did skate to Imagine on the '95--96 SOI Tour and it blew Sasha's out of the water.
There is little doubt that Ms. Yamaguchi would've wiped the floor with the skaters at the 1994 Olympic Games. As a professional, she remained the top ladies skater until Michelle Kwan rose to prominence in '95-96.
As a pro, Kristi Yamaguchi reached the Ice Queen status she had always sought. The quietly tenacious competitor from hell was center stage in the spotlight, glitzed out from head to toe, with enough hair spray to cause ozone depleting over Antarctica. Other ladies would join Stars On Ice during her decade on the tour, but none would ever come close to challenging her role as Professional Skating's HRH. Even Ms. Witt bowed down to her.
Oh Yama, how we miss you! Even Carole is continually impressed by how you blow everyone out of the water.