Shield’s Scott, Raider Rumbler’s Martin interview Olympic figure skater, children’s author Kristi Yamaguchi at SXSW EDU

Gold medalist, two-time world champion discusses lessons of trailblazing athletic career, vital importance of support systems for children


Dave Winter

Martin and Scott teamed up to interview Yamaguchi at SXSW EDU for PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs.

I wanted to create something that was that support system out there for kids to go after their dreams … The most important piece of the program is we provide a book coach who is really the person in contact with the family.”

— Kristi Yamaguchi, explaining what motivated her to create the Always Dream Organization

Thanks to Macjournalism’s involvement in PBS News Hour Student Reporting Labs, Shield co-editor in chief Alice Scott partnered with Pierce Martin of Rouse High School’s Raider Rumbler to interview Olympic figure-skating legend and children’s author Kristi Yamaguchi at SXSW EDU.

Yamaguchi talked about the lessons learned during her decorating figure-skating career that included a Olympic gold medal and two world championships. The main takeaway, Yamaguchi said, was the importance of resilience and never giving up on your dreams despite adversity.

Martin asked Yamaguchi how it felt to be a groundbreaking Asian American athlete, the first to win a Winter Olympics gold medal. Yamaguchi admitted that she did not think of her role that way at first but upon reflections sees it as honor to blaze a trail for future Asian-American athletes to follow.

Scott asked Yamaguchi what motivated her to found the Always Dream organization that provides literary resources to underprivileged children. She said her young life and her career as a world-class athlete taught her the vital importance of family and support systems to enabling success. While the organization provides literary resources and digital tablets, she said the key to the organization’s success is provided a book coach for each young reader.