Rudy Galindo

Rudy Galindo’s story began when he was born into a blue-collar family in San Jose in 1969 – and his journey to figure skating stardom would take him around the world – but would ultimately be found only miles from where he grew up, lived, and trained.

Galindo won the novice singles title at the 1982 U.S. Championships, and beginning in 1985, he began competing in both singles and pairs, with partner Kristi Yamaguchi. The two won the junior pairs competition at the 1986 and 1988 U.S. Championships, and Galindo took the men’s junior singles title at the 1987 World Championships. Galindo and Yamaguchi graduated to senior competition and stole the show at back-to-back U.S. Championships, taking home pairs titles in 1989 and 1990.

Soon thereafter, both skaters focused on their singles careers, with Yamaguchi finding almost instant solo success, Galindo won several regional and minor national competitions, but struggled to dominate at the U.S. or World Championships. During this time, Galindo also suffered three tragic losses; his father Jess died of a heart attack in 1993, his brother George passed away a year later, and a former coach and trainer, Rick Inglesi, in 1995.

Following a fifth place finish at the 1995 U.S. Championships, Galindo stopped training and was considering retirement as a skater, when he learned that the 1996 U.S. Championships would be held at two-year old San Jose Arena (now HP Pavilion).

In what many consider one of the sports’ all-time Cinderella-stories, Galindo stamped his name into U.S. figure skating history with a breath-taking performance for the ages, set to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

“It was the most exciting sports event that I ever witnessed,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed during a press conference announcing that the 2012 U.S. Championships would return to San Jose.

The feat gave Galindo the distinction as the oldest male to win a singles championship title in 70 years, as well as being the first Latino and openly gay skater win a U.S. title. He followed-up his performance with a bronze medal at the 1996 World Championships.

In 2000, Galindo announced that he was living with HIV, and has become an advocate and spokesperson for several AIDS charities and support organizations. He continued to skate professionally until 2007 – despite multiple hip surgeries – and a total hip replacement – during that time.

Galindo was a member of the Bid Committee and is a member of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which will return to the South Bay for the first time since Galindo thrilled the hometown crowd in 1996.

Now a coach in the South Bay, Galindo is helping the next generation of skaters find the inner strength and confidence that he exemplified during his extraordinary journey.

Kristi Yamaguchi

Kristi Yamaguchi has redefined herself in her post-Olympic career in a way few Olympians are able to; as a spokesperson, TV star, media contributor, author, and philanthropist.

Born in Hayward in 1971, Yamaguchi grew up in Fremont and trained in San Jose.

In 1986, she and Rudy Galindo won the junior pairs title at the U.S. Championships, and in 1988, she won singles and teamed with Galindo to win pairs at the 1988 World Junior Championships. Advancing to the senior level, the dynamic duo continued to dominate for the next two years, winning back-to-back pairs titles at the U.S. Championships in 1989 and 1990. After a transition to focus on her singles skating, Yamaguchi won the 1991 World Championships, and in 1992, on a U.S. Olympic team that included Nancy Kerrigan and Tanya Harding, Yamaguchi became the first American to win gold in singles competition since Dorothy Hamill in 1976. She went on to defend her Worlds title later that year in Oakland, CA.

Yamaguchi was named to the U.S. Hall of Fame by the United States Figure Skating Association and to the World Skating Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2005, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Committee Olympic Hall of Fame.

In 1996, she founded the Always Dream Foundation, an active fundraising and support organization for children’s charities in Bay Area. Yamaguchi was a local commentator on figure skating for KNTV (NBC Bay Area) during the 2006 Winter Olympics and joined NBC as a national analyst during the 2010 Games.

In 2008, Yamaguchi became the celebrity champion in the sixth season of Dancing with the Stars. She is the author of Always Dream, Pure Gold, and Figure Skating for Dummies. In 2011, she published a children’s book, Dream Big, Little Pig, which was #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. She was a member of the Bid Committee and is a member of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Almost 20 years after she won Olympic gold, Yamaguchi’s star dances in the public eye – for all the right reasons – as bright as ever.

Peter Ueberroth

Peter Ueberroth was drawn to sport as a young man, and excelled athletically when his family settled in the South Bay…but he found his niche blending business and sport – and would go on to be one of the most influential sports executives of our time.

He graduated from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale where he lettered in football, baseball and swimming, and went on to attend San José State University on a water polo scholarship. He competed in the 1956 United States Olympic Water Polo Trials, and as top scorer in 1957, he led San Jose State to its seventh straight college water polo championship.

Upon his graduation from San Jose State with a business degree, Ueberroth began a career in the travel industry and founded his own company – First Travel Corporation – in 1962. When he sold the company in 1980, it was the second largest travel business in North America with over 300 wholly owned retail travel agencies.

From 1980 to 1984, Ueberroth served as president of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee (LAOOC), the private non-profit organization responsible for staging and operating the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Under his leadership and management, the first privately financed Games resulted in a surplus of $238 million that continues to support youth and sports programs throughout the United States. He was named Time’s “Man of the Year” in 1984.

On October 1, 1984, Ueberroth took office as the sixth Commissioner of Major League Baseball. During his tenure, he arbitrated successful resolution to a looming labor dispute with MLB umpires, and also limited a 1985 players’ strike to one day by negotiating a new agreement with the Players Association. When Ueberroth began his work as Commissioner, 22 teams were annually losing money. By the time he left in 1989, all were profitable. He also increased attendance, led MLB to its first overall profitable year since 1973, and negotiated a four-year, $1.1 billion contract with CBS, and a four-year $400 million national cable contract with ESPN.

In 2004, Ueberroth was named chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, a position he held until 2008.

Ueberroth now serves as the managing director of Contrarian Group, Inc., an investment and management company. The group invests in small and medium size companies and takes a management role providing strategic guidance. In July of 1999, Ueberroth successfully orchestrated the purchase of the Pebble Beach Company; bringing it back to United States ownership after years of foreign ownership. Ueberroth now serves as an owner and co-chairman of the Pebble Beach Company.

Ueberroth is a member of the board of directors of The Coca Cola Company, Aircastle LTD, Easton-Bell Sports and The Irvine Company, and is a fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2010, he was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame. Ueberroth is a member of the San Jose State Athletics Hall of Fame and received the San Jose State’s highest honor, the Tower Award.

Dan Pastorini

Born in Sonora, CA, Dan Pastorini attended Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University, where he excelled as a quarterback for the Broncos. In his three seasons as a starter (1968-70), Pastorini was a second-team Associated Press Little All-America selection and ranked in the Top-10 in nine of the schools all-time passing records. He was named the most outstanding player in the 46th annual Shine East-West Classic at the Oakland Coliseum in 1971. Pastorini was selected third overall in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers – just behind top picks Jim Plunkett and Archie Manning.

Always regarded as a tough player, Pastorini only missed only five regular season games between 1971-1979, famously playing through the pain of broken ribs at various times during his career. He was named to the 1975 Pro Bowl, and had his best season statistically in 1978 when he threw for 16 touchdowns and 2,473 yards while leading the Oilers to a 10-6 record, the teams’ best record since entering the NFL in 1970. In the ’78 playoffs, Pastorini led the Oilers to wins over Miami and New England, advancing to the AFC Championship Game against the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. He led the Oilers to a second consecutive AFC Championship game again in 1979 against the eventual XIV Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 1980 Pastorini was traded to the Oakland Raiders, and although sidelined with a broken leg, the Raiders won Super Bowl XV over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Following his NFL career, Pastorini reengaged a passion for racing that he discovered while with the Oilers. While in Houston, Pastorini set four world records in Unlimited Drag Boat racing. His boat “The Quarterback Sneak” was the first to break the 8-second elapsed time barrier and later broke the world record four different times. As one of the premiere drivers on the NHRA Top Fuel Circuit, he won his first national event at the NHRA Southern Nationals in 1986 and finished 7th in NHRA Championship Points. Pastorini’s best career elapsed time was 5.18 seconds, topping out at 287 mph. He was the third man to break the 270-mph barrier in a Top Fuel Dragster.

He is a member of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the Santa Clara University Athletic Hall of Fame.