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6 facts you didn’t know about Kristi Yamaguchi

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi holds many titles — U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer, “Dancing With the Stars” winner — and now, Vancouver special correspondent for TODAY. But what do you really know about her? Here, she shares some interesting tidbits with, including the identity of her celebrity crush.
/ Source: TODAY staff

Figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi holds countless titles — Olympic champion, U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer and “Dancing With the Stars” winner among them. And now she has a new title to add to her list: She’ll be a special correspondent for TODAY during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. But what do you really know about her? She talks with and shares some interesting tidbits about herself.

1. The best advice Yamaguchi has ever received came from her coach, Christy Ness, who taught her that there’s no secret to success. “She had just come back from coaching some other people in the Olympics and she was giving us a pep talk,” says Yamaguchi, who was 15 at the time. “She told us that success is based on hard work, and I’ve seen how true that is over the years.”

2. With all of her performances and competitions, Yamaguchi has to look as good as she skates and dances. The worst thing she’s had to do to make that happen, she says, was getting spray tans week after week while she was on last year’s “Dancing With the Stars.”

“After a while you can just feel it on your skin. It was nice to finally scrub it all off!”

3. While training, Yamaguchi has to keep her diet in check, but when she does get the chance to take a cheat day, her favorite comfort meal is spaghetti Bolognese.

HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 29: Dancer Mark Ballas and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi perform at the Dizzy Feet Foundation's Inaugural Celebration of Dance at The Kodak Theater on November 29, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Dizzy Feet Foundation)Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

4. Growing up, Yamaguchi had eyes for Johnny Depp, one of her celebrity crushes. “He’s People’s Sexiest Man now, but I remember having a crush on him way back when he was on ‘21 Jump Street,’ ” she says. Her dream-boy on the side? Jordan Knight, front man of New Kids on the Block.

5. Right before she gets out on the ice or on stage, Yamaguchi gives herself a pep talk. “I always try to tell myself that I’ve prepared and worked hard for this,” she says. “I’ve done this a hundred times — now I’ve just got to go out there and have fun. I always feel that if I’m having fun, I must be doing something right.”

6. Yamaguchi may have traveled the world, but her favorite place to be is home, sweet home. “I’m kind of a homebody,” she laughs. “My husband says I like to just stay home and do nothing, but that’s just how I am. I like to watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy” and ‘Glee,’ and I watched every episode of ‘ER.’ ”