Olympic Gold Medalist, Figure skating 2002
Sarah Hughes astonished the world on February 21, 2002 when she skated a joyous, near perfect, program to capture the 2002 Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Figure Skating — and our hearts. Her seemingly effortless and exuberant performance was the culmination of years of training and thousands of hours of practice, practice, practice. That night she became the first person to rebound from fourth place to win the gold medal since the short program-free skating scoring system was instituted in 1992.
Ms. Hughes skated the most technically demanding long program ever seen in women’s Olympic figure skating competition — including two triple-triple combinations (triple salchow/triple loop and triple toe/triple loop). With her win, she became, at 16, the fourth youngest Olympic women’s figure skating champion ever and only the seventh American woman to capture figure skating’s most coveted prize.
The grace and aplomb that Ms. Hughes has exhibited since her unforgettable winning moment have made this Great Neck, Long Island athlete a role model for young people everywhere. She has met at the White House with President Bush to discuss the plight of Afghan women and children. In an interview broadcast worldwide on Voice of America, she stressed her view that we should make more immunizations, textbooks and school supplies available to rebuild society for these victims of Taliban oppression. She has been hired as the spokesperson for General Electric Corporation, the first person to be entrusted with this position since former President Ronald Reagan in the 1950′s. NBC hired her to produce two, prime-time specials portraying her experiences both as a skater and a teenager. She rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange and received the Key to New York City from Mayor Bloomberg. In addition to the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence, Sarah has received numerous prestigious awards. She was nominated for five ESPY awards and won an ESPY for Best Olympian. She has also been chosen as the March of Dimes Sportswoman of the Year, USOC Olympic Athlete of the Year and Women’s Sport Foundation 2002 Athlete of the Year. She received the Robert Moses Master Builder Award, the New York State Broadcasters Association Carol Riley Award and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Spirit of Achievement Award. She was featured as one of the “10 Most Fascinating of 2002” in Barbara Walter’s ABC special. She was the 2002 Sullivan Award recipient as the best amateur athlete in the United States.
In 2006, Sarah directed and starred in a two hour NBC prime time special entitled Sarah Hughes and Friends. She broadcast for CBS from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and for NBC and MSNBC from the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.
On January 21, 2010, Sarah was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Earlier this month, Sarah was inducted into the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame.
Sarah is now 26 years old and a graduate of Yale University. While studying, she continued to dedicate herself to community well-being. While at Yale, Sarah resumed her role as the spokesperson for the Campbell Soup Labels for Education program, where she appeared at numerous schools to promote the program which provides supplies and equipment for participating schools. She has been an organizer and co-host for charitable events for the National Center for Disabilities at the Henry Viscardi School since 1998 and continues to resume that role as well as serve on the Athletic Committee.
Ms. Hughes also works with the Women’s Sports Foundation to help girls and women benefit from a healthy lifestyle. Most recently, Ms. Hughes was named as an Honorary Member of Figure Skating in
Harlem’s Board of Directors. She has been involved in FSH’s mentoring, education and skating program since its inception. This past April, she was honored for her contributions to the Figure Skating in Harlem organization over the past 12 years at their Gala in April.
Clearly, Sarah Hughes is a young woman of extraordinary talent, depth and compassion.
Read Sarah’s blog about mentoring the students of Battery Park school in New York.
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