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Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi Says Her Daughters Were ‘Flabbergasted’ to Find Out About Her Barbie Doll (Exclusive)

Kristi Yamaguchi s Kids Were Flabbergasted to Learn About Her Barbie Doll
Kristi Yamaguchi. Momodu Mansaray/WireImage

Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi is a figure skating icon and will now forever be immortalized with a replica Barbie doll, news that initially shocked her teenage daughters.

“My daughters are 18 and 20 now and, of course, our whole household played with Barbies, but they’re at that age where they were so into and loved Barbie movie,” Yamaguchi, 52, exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month of daughters  Keara and Emma, whom she shares with husband Bret Hedican. “They were kind of flabbergasted.”

She added, “[They were] like, ‘What? Like, you?’ Kind of a little bit in disbelief at first, and kind of like, ‘Why you? You’re just our mom.’ But, I think maybe a small part of them was a little proud.”

Yamaguchi’s doll, available now, joins Barbie’s “Inspiring Women” collection of figures inspired by the likes of Maya Angelou, Anna May Wong and Jane Goodall. The miniature version of Yamaguchi comes dressed in the athlete’s iconic 1992 skating costume, which she wore when she won the gold medal in the Olympics.

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“It’s an amazing replication of it and, like, so many of the details were so much fun to work with Barbie [to create],” Yamaguchi told Us. “Even … the shininess of the gold on the black down to the bouquet of flowers, which was modeled after the bouquet of flowers I did receive on the podium, [was included]. So, it was really incredible the details that [Mattel] really, really finds important.”

Kristi Yamaguchi s Kids Were Flabbergasted to Learn About Her Barbie Doll

According to Yamaguchi, the black-and-gold outfit was chosen by doll designers since it was “so symbolic” of her Olympic experience.

It was the only time I wore that dress in competition so I think it was just almost a given for everyone,” she said, gushing it was “very cool” to see the final product for the first time. “The details were really looked after and even the little gold bow … on the back of the ponytail, it’s like almost the same material that mine was made of down to the brand of skates that I wore. So, it was really cool to see that [and] Lauren Sheehan, that’s the designer of this costume, I know [will] be tickled pink to see it.”

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Mattel launched Yamaguchi’s doll in celebration of the start of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month. (Yamaguchi was notably the first Asian-American athlete to ever win gold at a Winter Olympics.)

“It means a lot [to me] because I think AAPI month celebrates all kinds of culture all across Asian American, Pacific Islands and celebrating the different cultures, the diversity,” she told Us of the significance of the honor. “With my doll coming out [and] I think being the first Asian-American woman to win Olympic gold in the winter games, [it] is a huge honor.”

Kristi Yamaguchi s Kids Were Flabbergasted to Learn About Her Barbie Doll
Kristi Yamaguchi and her family. Courtesy of Kristi Yamaguchi/Instagram

Yamaguchi continued, “It was just something I was really proud of and to be able to celebrate that and hopefully become an inspiration to the next generation of young athletes or dreamers out there in general to go after their dreams as well and to see representation out there. ‘Hey, it can happen to anyone; it can happen to you.’”

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