Getting to Know: Sarah Hughes

Who could forget this figure skater’s victory smile and classic underdog triumph when she shocked the world and won gold in 2002? In front of the Salt Lake City home crowd, Sarah Hughes jumped, spun and dazzled her way into Olympic history with her ladies’ singles Olympic gold medal. But did you know that the Yale graduate is the fourth of six children and that her younger sister, Emily, competed at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turino? We caught up with Sarah at the 33rd Annual Salute to Women in Sports last month and learned some more about her life off the rink.

1. Who is your hero? Tell us why.

     My mom and my dad. My mom because she fights for what she believes is the best for herself and her family no matter what. My dad because he taught us that hard work pays off - and he is ALWAYS there for his family. They lead by example. Love them both!

2. You've just finished your biggest competition of the year. With what food or dessert do you reward yourself for all your hard work and training?

     Ice cream sundae :-)

3. What advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?

     It's okay to be different. (As you can imagine, being a competitive figure skater is not the norm in high school.)

4. There is a fire blazing inside your house. What one item do you grab to take with you?

     A pin my paternal grandmother gave me.

5. What quote do you live by?

     It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

6. What is the hardest workout you've ever completed?

     Hard to say - the hardest workouts aren't necessarily always the most strenuous. The most difficult workouts are the ones you do on the days you're not feeling up to par. I remember quite a few of those...although mostly, I try to forget them!

7. Scariest moment in your career? Most thrilling/rewarding/proudest moment in your career? 

     Scariest: When I hit my head on the ice and had to wait to see if I'd be okay.
     Rewarding: When I won the National Junior Championships on my first trip to Nationals. My mom was going through chemotherapy at the time and my skating uplifted her spirits!

8. When did you realize you had extra-special athletic abilities? 

     Maybe when I was the only female in the guy's group number because I could do a jump as well as them. But not sure if I have extra-special athletic abilities or just the support & perseverance to keep working hard and pushing my own boundaries.

9. Were you ever the victim of bullying or peer pressure? How did you handle the difficult situation?

     The best way to deal with those situations are just to keep to yourself and have faith that you are on the right path for you. I try to avoid negative people, places and things, but sometimes you have to deal with what you're faced with.

10. If you could travel back in time, what one event in sports history would you want to witness? How about general history?

     Oh gosh! That's a difficult one. It's hard to imagine something as special as winning the gold in Salt Lake City with my whole family there. Being from NY, the Olympics were just five months after 9/11, so it felt like more than just a skating victory.

11. What is the best thing about being an accomplished, elite athlete? The worst?

     Best: Achieving your goals and dreams. The confidence and self-esteem that comes with mastering a new move. Inspiring others!
     Worst: The early mornings and overcoming injuries.

12. Favorite thing about your sport. Favorite thing about being a female athlete?

     Sport: the combination of athleticism, grace, music and precision. 
     Female athlete: the best part is the empowerment you get from sports and meeting other strong women!

13. If you could solve a social issue, what issue/need/concern would it be?


14. In 10 words or less, why are sports (physical activity) so important for girls to participate in?

      Fun way to learn the skills to succeed in life!

15. Complete this sentence: "The Women's Sports Foundation is important because:"

     It provides the opportunity for women and girls around the country to engage in positive activities that can enhance their lives.

Our Mission

The Women’s Sports Foundation is a non-profit that advances the lives of women through sports and physical activity.

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