Kristi Yamaguchi inspires Barbie's new Olympic figure skater doll

This photo provided by Mattel in April 2024 shows Kristi Yamaguchi with the company's Barbie doll based on the figure skater. Yamaguchi became the first Asian American to win an individual gold medal for figure skating at the 1992 Winter Olympics. (C

OIympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi has inspired Mattel to release its latest Barbie doll part of the  "Inspiring Women Series." 

"It’s a huge, huge honor. I think a lot of pride comes along with it, not just recognizing the Olympic achievement, but also being recognized during AAPI Month and following in the footsteps of some incredible women that I idolize — Anna May Wong, Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks," Yamaguchi told The Associated Press. "It's hard to see me put in the category with them."

Yamaguchi was the first Asian American to win an individual figure skating gold medal, at the 1992 Winter Olympics. 

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The doll's release is timed for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, in May.

This isn't Yamaguchi's first doll depiction. In the '90s, touring show Stars on Ice put out a line of dolls modeled after notable skaters. The Barbie version is a lot more detailed.

Mattel duplicated everything the then 20-year-old medalist wore at the Olympics in Albertville, France: the sparkling black-and-gold brocade outfit designed by Lauren Sheehan, the gold hair ribbon and even a red-and-white bouquet like Yamaguchi held atop the podium.

Yamaguchi said both she and Sheehan are "just so tickled pink."

She is also happy with the doll's visage.

"It looks like me for sure. You know, the eyes and just the shape of the face. And then, of course, the hair, for sure. I mean, it has the bangs that are the '90s," Yamaguchi said, chuckling.

When Yamaguchi became a household name in the '90s, most Asian American children were growing up feeling like toys-aren’t-us kids. If you were an Asian parent looking for an Asian doll in the U.S., you likely turned to independent mail-order companies or waited until you were visiting your country of heritage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.