Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes
Sarah Hughes

Hughes at the 2001–2002 Grand Prix Final
Personal information
Full name Sarah Elizabeth Hughes
Country represented USA
Born May 2, 1985 (1985-05-02) (age 26)
Great Neck, New York
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Former coach Robin Wagner
Skating club Skating Club of New York
Retired 2003

Sarah Elizabeth Hughes (born May 2, 1985) is an American figure skater. She is the 2002 Olympic gold medalist and 2001 World bronze medalist in ladies singles.


Personal life

Hughes was born in Great Neck, New York. Her father, John Hughes, is a Canadian of Irish descent and was the captain of the NCAA champion 1969–70 Cornell University ice hockey team. Her mother, Amy Pastarnack, is Jewish[1] and is a breast cancer survivor. This led Sarah Hughes to become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. She appeared in a commercial for General Electric promoting breast cancer awareness and research. Hughes stated: "I always said that if I can get one person to get a mammogram, I've accomplished something."[2] Among the other causes Hughes supports are Figure Skating in Harlem, which provides free ice skating lessons and academic tutoring for girls in the Harlem community in NYC. Hughes has supported this program for over ten years.[3]

Sarah Hughes is the fourth of six children. One of her younger sisters, Emily, is also a figure skater and competed at the 2006 Winter Olympics.


Sarah Hughes began skating at the age of three under the direction of Robin Wagner who coached her until Hughes competed at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

Hughes won the Junior title at the 1998 United States Figure Skating Championships in the 1997–1998 season. The following season, she competed on the ISU Junior Grand Prix, winning the silver medal at the 1998–1999 Junior Grand Prix Final and at the 1999 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. At the 1999 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which were held after the World Junior Championships, Hughes won the pewter medal. It was her senior-level debut.

The U.S. had three spots to the 1999 World Figure Skating Championships, and Hughes, by placing fourth at Nationals, would not normally have qualified for the team. However, Naomi Nari Nam, the silver medalist, was not age-eligible to compete at Worlds. Hughes was also not age-eligible for the senior World Championships. However, Hughes had won the silver medal at the 1999 World Junior Championships, held in November 1998, and so was allowed by ISU rules to compete at the 1999 World Championships. She finished 7th at those World Championships.

In the 1999–2000 season, Hughes made her Grand Prix debut, winning the bronze medal at the 1999 Trophée Lalique. She won the bronze medal at the 2000 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed 5th at the 2000 World Figure Skating Championships.

In the 2000–2001 season, she won three medals on the Grand Prix circuit and won the bronze medal at the 2000–2001 Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. She won the silver medal at the 2001 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. At the 2001 World Figure Skating Championships, she won the bronze medal.

In the 2001–2002 season, Hughes competed again on the Grand Prix, winning the 2001 Skate Canada International and placing second at her other two events. She won her second consecutive bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final and then won the bronze medal at the 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championships to qualify for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The week before the opening of the 2002 Olympics, Hughes appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

At the 2002 Olympics, Hughes placed fourth in the short program. In her long program, she landed seven triple jumps, including two triple-triple combinations. She won the long program, and as the three contenders ahead of her after the short program all made mistakes in their respective long programs, Sarah jumped from fourth to first in the overall standings and won the event.

Hughes meets President George W. Bush on April 12, 2002.

After her Olympic win, Hughes was honored with a parade in her hometown of Great Neck. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at the event and declared it Sarah Hughes Day. She received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the U.S.

Hughes did not compete at the 2002 World Figure Skating Championships. She stayed in for the 2002–2003 season. She won the silver medal at the 2003 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and placed sixth at the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships.

In 2003, Hughes began her studies at Yale University. She took the 2004–2005 year off from college to skate professionally with the Smuckers Stars on Ice tour company. She was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.[4] On May 25, 2009, Hughes graduated from Yale and received a bachelor's degree in American studies with a concentration in U.S. politics and communities.[5]

Hughes' biography, Sudden Champion: The Sarah Hughes Story, was written by Richard Krawiec in 2002.

During her career she worked on quadruple jumps and triple axels but never did one in competition.[6]


Event 1997–98 1998–99 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Winter Olympic Games 1st
World Championships 7th 5th 3rd 6th
World Junior Championships 2nd
U.S. Championships 1st J. 4th 3rd 2nd 3rd 2nd
Grand Prix Final 3rd 3rd
Skate America 4th 2nd 2nd
Skate Canada International 1st
Trophée Lalique 3rd 2nd
Cup of Russia 3rd
Nations Cup 2nd
Vienna Cup 1st
Junior Grand Prix Final 2nd
Junior Grand Prix, Hungary 2nd
Junior Grand Prix, Mexico 2nd
  • J = Junior level

See also


External links

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