NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
March 21, 2012 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909) 595-1261 ext. 31204
Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi Visits Walnut Elementary
Figure skater and best-selling author reads new children’s book during school-wide assembly
DIAMOND BAR, CA--Olympic gold medalist and best-selling author Kristi Yamaguchi visited Walnut Elementary on March 20.
During a school-wide assembly, the champion figure skater and winner of “Dancing with the Stars” read her new book “It’s a Big World, Little Pig“, hosted a question and answer period, and autographed copies of her two children’s books and even a few pairs of ice skates!
She explained that the book’s theme with lead character Poppy the Pig, also a skater, “is never giving up, always dream big, and always try your best.”
Then she read the story to over 450 students, staff, and parents excited to see the famous world champion.
Afterward several youngsters lined up to ask questions about her skating, the book, and her life.
Yamaguchi was very sweet and genuine with the children, answering every question.
She told students that she began skating at age 6 and was inspired to write her books because of her own young daughters, who are 6 and 8.
It took 14 years of practice before making it to the Olympic Games. It was exciting to be there and to have the honor of representing our country, she said.
She told herself, “I’ve worked hard, I’ve earned my spot here, just do the best you can, give it a 100%, and leave no regrets, and it was a proud moment obviously in the end!”
Book illustrator Tim Bowers re-created the gold medalist’s skating poses for Poppy and other characters from photographs she provided him.
One student asked if she ever got nervous before performing and Yamaguchi said that she always did.
“That’s a good thing because it meant I cared. And as long as I knew I was prepared it calmed me down,” she said.
Her latest book in the “Little Pig” series is set in Paris where she won World Championship in 1989.
“It has a special place in my heart,” she said. She won the gold medal in Albertville in 1992.
“France has been good to me!”
“You’re pretty!” one little girl exclaimed when it was her turn to ask a question.
The champion giggled and said “thank you!”
While introducing the gold medalist, Principal Janet Green held up her son’s pair of little black skates. She shared that when he about five he announced, “that’s what I want to do” after watching the Winter Olympics with Scott Hamilton.
Ice skating helped him become braver, stronger, and a little more athletic and Kristi Yamaguchi has inspired kids in the same way, she said.
The special appearance was made possible through Mrs. Nelson’s Bookstore in La Verne.
Yamaguchi said she only went to the Olympics one time.
“I tried to make the most of it!”
Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi visited Walnut Elementary on March 20 to share her new book “It’s a Big World, Little Pig”.
The gold medalist read during a school-wide assembly with over 450 students, staff members, and parents.
The Olympian and best-selling author answered questions from about 20 students after the reading.
Students lined up for autographs and photos with the famous skater and author.
Kindergartener Riley Phan shows off her autographed copy of Yamaguchi’s first children’s book “Dream Big, Little Pig”.
Second grader April Park was excited to get her copy of “It’s a Big World, Little Pig” autographed during the book signing. Also shown: Parent Michelle Teng helped during the signing event.
2nd grader Yanitza Belan Sainz shows off her book autographed by Kristi Yamaguchi. 2848