Olympians going for startup gold

They pursued Olympic glory, now these entrepreneurs are chasing their startup dreams.

Kristi Yamaguchi
Kristi Yamaguchi
Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi in her new clothing line, Tsu.ya, set to launch this fall.
Company: Tsu.ya
Olympic achievement: Gold medal for women's figure skating, 1992

After retiring from competitive skating in 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi moved into other arenas: She started the Always Dream Foundation, a nonprofit geared for kids, in 1996, and wrote two children's books, "Dream Big, Little Pig" and "It's a Big World, Little Pig."

Now, the figure skating champ is jumping--or doing a triple axel--into the fashion world, as she plays the role of owner and designer.

Yamaguchi will launch her clothing line, Tsu.ya, at upscale department store Lord & Taylor this fall. The activewear line will feature 18 pieces, including T-shirts, jackets and yoga pants.

Yamaguchi said the line was inspired by her athletic career and a desire to have clothes that were both comfortable and fashionable.

The Olympian infused her taste into the pieces, discussing her vision with the head designer. Yamaguchi says she always had a "feminine streak," so the pieces have details like ruffles, zippers and ruching.

Another motivation for starting the business was her foundation, which supports organizations that positively influence children. A portion of the sales from Tsu.ya will go to the Always Dream Foundation in order "to make a difference in children's education," she said.

Yamaguchi says she draws many parallels between athletics and entrepreneurship, like "being able to set goals and having the patience to put the work in ahead of time."


- Last updated August 03 2012 11:42 AM ET
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