Sport: Figure Skating Inducted: 2005 Country: United States Born: May 2, 1985, in Great Neck, New
In one of the major upsets in Olympic figure skating history,
Sarah Hughes, a 16-year old Great Neck North (New York) High
School junior, won the Women’s Championship and gold
medal at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The New York teenager surged from fourth place in her free
skate to defeat USA’s favored Michelle Kwan (bronze)
and Russia’s Irina Slutskaya (silver) to win the Olympic
title. The teenager’s best previous achievement was
a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships.
Hughes, who first put on skates at the age of three, earned
serious attention when she won the U.S. National Junior title
in 1998. One year later, just past her 13th birthday, she
won the Vienna Cup, the Individual gold at the “USA
versus The World Pro Am”, and was 7th at the 1999 World
As a high school freshman and sophomore, Hughes finished
in 5th place at the 2000 World Championships, 3rd at the
2001 World Championships, and was either 1st, 2nd or 3rd
at other international and U.S. national events throughout
Hughes was recipient of the 2002 Sullivan Award, presented
annually by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) to America’s
top amateur athlete; and was named 2002 Sportswoman of the
Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee. In January, 2010, she was elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.
Following her 2002 Winter Games triumph, Hughes completed
high school and enrolled at Yale University, eschewing the
tedious training regimen that dominated her everyday pre-Olympics
life. Nonetheless, she managed to medal at the few events
she entered, and finished second at the 2003 U.S. Figure
Skating Championships, and sixth at the 2003 World Championships. Sarah graduated Yale in 2009.
Hughes was a member of the media at the 2004 Summer Olympics,
as a reporter-interviewer for New York’s WCBS television.
In 2005, she again laced up her skates to headline the “Stars
On Ice” touring ice show.