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Five favorite things with Kristi Yamaguchi

The best-selling children's author talks about her favorite children's books, DWTS and baking

Kristi Yamaguchi takes her lead character, Poppy the Pig, on another adventure in her latest book, <i>It's a Big World, Little Pig!</i>.
Kristi Yamaguchi takes her lead character, Poppy the Pig, on another adventure in her latest book, It's a Big World, Little Pig!. (icenetwork.com)

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By icenetwork.com
(05/07/2012) - Kristi Yamaguchi has built an impressive résumé: Olympic champion, U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer, winner of season six of Dancing with the Stars and, most recently, best-selling children's author.

Yamaguchi's first book, Dream Big, Little Pig!, was a New York Times Bestseller, and her second book, It's a Big World, Little Pig!, was released in stores Tuesday, March 6. The book follows Poppy the Pig as she travels to Paris to compete at the World Games ice skating championship.

In addition to these exploits, Yamaguchi has released workout DVDs and founded the Always Dream Foundation, whose mission is to support organizations that have a positive influence on children.

On top of all that, she is a full-time mother to two daughters, Keara and Emma, and wife of 2006 Stanley Cup champion Bret Hedican.

Icenetwork.com recently sat down with Yamaguchi to talk about the books she liked when was a child, her memories of the 1992 Olympic Winter Games and her favorite foods to bake.

Icenetwork.com: What were some of your favorite children's books growing up?

Yamaguchi: Green Eggs and Ham, Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables.

Icenetwork.com This year marks the 20th anniversary of your Olympic gold medal. Aside from actually winning the gold, what's your favorite memory from those Games?

Yamaguchi: The Opening Ceremony and taking part in that. You really feel like you're just one of the many athletes there representing your country. You feel so humbled and honored to be there, seeing the skiers and speedskaters, all different athletes. It was an amazing feeling, and to hear the roar when the United States team was announced in the stadium was pretty awesome.

Icenetwork.com: What was the favorite dance you and Mark [Ballas] performed on Dancing with the Stars?

Yamaguchi: This one's so hard; there were something like 14 dances. It's so hard to pick one. Our very first dance, which was our Foxtrot, was one of my favorites because it epitomized what ballroom dancing was all about. It was elegant. We practiced that the longest -- we had two weeks to practice it -- so I kind of got attached to that one dance. Our signature dance was our Jive to a Little Richard song. It was fun and high energy.

Icenetwork.com: We think we know the answer to this already, but what's your favorite memory from your husband's NHL career?

Yamaguchi: The 2006 Stanley Cup run! It was very exciting but most exhausting. Living through the Olympics, I had only myself to worry about. I was 20 years old, and I had 6 1/2 minutes on the ice. The 2 1/2 months leading to the Stanley Cup were so incredibly grueling. It was on a whole other level I didn't know existed.

Icenetwork.com: Do you like to cook?

Yamaguchi: I like to cook. I wouldn't say I'm a great cook. I like to bake.

Icenetwork.com: What are your favorite things to bake?

Yamaguchi: I love doing Christmas cookies. One favorite dessert is making the pound cake that's my mom's recipe that she would make for every test session I had, for the judges. Pound cake was the good-luck cake that my mom would make, and now I like to make it.