Kristi Yamaguchi may be an Olympic gold medalist and mirrorball trophy winner, but to her kids, the figure skater is just mommy.
So Yamaguchi wrote a book, Dream Big, Little Pig! (Jabberwocky, $16.99), with her daughters in mind. Since Keara,7, and Emma, 5, aren’t totally into the sport yet, Yamaguchi thought the book – about a pig named Poppy who defies the odds and becomes a figure skater – might give them a little push.“They go to group classes, but that’s about it for the moment,’’ said Yamaguchi, 39.The cutely illustrated book is slightly autobiographical. Growing up in California, Yamaguchi couldn’t find a hobby that stuck.“I did try a lot of things – ballet, baton twirling, gymnastics, and none of it caught my fancy,’’ she said. “It wasn’t interesting until I tried skating. Poppy goes through the same journey.’’Why would someone so skinny use a pig as a main character? “I’ve always loved pigs. I’ve collected stuffed animals, Miss Piggy was my childhood idol and even know I have pig figurines all over the house. I guess you could say,’’ Yamaguchi revealed, adding with a laugh, “But my husband [former hockey player Bret Hedican] has just cut me off. He told me, ‘No more pigs!’’’Though her daughters may not be future ice skaters, Keara and Emma did watch mom avidly during her time on Season 6 of Dancing with the Stars.With the new season starting up March 21, does Yamaguchi have any advice for the contestants? “The pressure will start to build, for sure,’’ she said, “but if they can continue to enjoy it and do it because you’re winning something and you’re with all these great people, you can look back on the experience and say, ‘Wow, that was worthwhile.’ ’’Yamaguchi doesn’t put on her dancing shoes — or ice skates — so much anymore. “I’ve got a lot of aches and pains. Plus I don’t have [partner] Mark Ballas to help me!’’She does exercise, though, and is coming out with a DVD.“It’s a combination of aerobics and free weights, broken up into chapters,’’ she explained. “You can do just 20 minutes, according to your needs. It’s great for busy moms like me.’’ Madeleine Marr