Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Delicate Balance For Yamaguchi

Things are about to get mighty hectic in North Raleigh's relatively tranquil Hedican-Yamaguchi household.
Dad Bret Hedican is looking to help his Carolina Hurricanes get to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Mom Kristi Yamaguchi is hoping to tango to victory on television's "Dancing With the Stars."

And daughters Keara Kiyomi, 4, and Emma Yoshiko, 2, are about to have their routines disrupted.

"I'm a little anxious now," said Yamaguchi, the gold medal-winning figure skater, who was announced this week as a contestant on the ABC show's sixth season. "It's a whole different world."

She's a fan of the program, in which celebrities are paired with professionals to perform ballroom dances. One couple is voted off each week, based on judges' scores and viewers' votes. Celebrities are paid for taking part, and the winner gets a trophy.

Yamaguchi, 36, was inclined to say yes when she got the offer around Christmas. But there were considerations, such as where her daughters will stay while she's in Los Angeles for the show and Hedican is traveling with the Hurricanes. That's still being worked out.

"Yeah, it's going to get a little crazy," admits Hedican, a defenseman. "But you know what? ... Kristi's really sacrificed a lot for me, obviously, the last four years -- having our kids, and kind of putting her career on hold. For me to be able to support her in what she wants to do is great."

Already, Yamaguchi is scrambling. This week, she's flown to Chicago and back for an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Media inquiries have been relentless. And she's begun practicing with the professional dancer she'll be paired with, Mark Ballas.

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