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Rudy Galindo: 1969—: Ice Skater

Paired With Kristi Yamaguchi

In 1982 Galindo's skating career took off. He started training with a new coach, Jim Hulick, who was the best coach in the San Francisco Bay area. He also met Kristi Yamaguchi at a skating rink in Pleasanton, California. After watching his sister skate pairs and noticing how well Kristi skated, Galindo approached his coach with the idea of skating pairs with Yamaguchi. At first his coach did not take him seriously because Galindo did not have the tall, strong build of a pairs skater. However, Galindo persisted and finally convinced Hulick to arrange a meeting with the Yamaguchis. "Singles skating is extremely isolating," Galindo explained in Icebreaker. "And I thought it might be fun to work with someone, especially someone who was as full of energy and charm as Kristi."

Galindo's persistence paid off and soon he and Yamaguchi were competing as pairs skaters. In just two years they won their first competition at the Central Pacific junior pairs event. In 1985 they placed fifth in the United States National Championships for junior pairs, and only a year later, they won first place at the same event. Galindo not only gained a new skating partner, but he also found a second family. By this time his sister Laura had stopped skating and she was working to contribute to the family income. She also became Galindo's manager. His father still attended competitions, but he was not involved in the daily decisions that were involved in his son's skating career. Galindo's mother was still battling her illness and she was only marginally involved in her son's career. The Yamaguchi family treated Galindo as one of their own. He considered Kristi to be his best friend and her mother, Carole Yamaguchi, was like a mother to him.

Galindo stopped attending public schools after junior high. Since the principal at Independence High School was not willing to accommodate his morning skating practices, Galindo hired a tutor rather than attend high school. For three years Galindo was taught by a tutor twice a week and then studied on his own for the rest of the time. He did not feel he was getting a quality education this way, so he chose not to pursue a high school diploma. Instead he earned his general equivalency diploma. In his autobiography Galindo wrote that he regretted not getting a proper education, but he felt that he and his family were making the best possible choices given the circumstances.

Galindo and Yamaguchi continued to skate pairs through the late 1980s. Carole Yamaguchi was concerned that their partnership might not last because of Galindo's small stature. To convince the Yamaguchis that he was completely dedicated to pairs skating, Galindo briefly gave up his singles career. Galindo and Yamaguchi placed fifth at their first United States National Championships in the senior division and they repeated their fifth place win the following year. However, in 1989 the couple won their first United States National Championship and they held their title in 1990 as well. Despite their success, their relationship as a pairs team was deteriorating. Yamaguchi was doing extremely well in the singles competitions and found it difficult to continue training for both events. To make matters worse, their coach, Jim Hulick, died of AIDS complications in 1989.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyRudy Galindo: 1969—: Ice Skater Biography - Followed His Sister Into Skating, Paired With Kristi Yamaguchi, Struggled To Build A Singles Career