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August 23, 2008


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Phil Cohen

Sarah Hughes no longer skates because her parents don't permit her to. The Hughes family(her parents,2 brothers & 3 sisters) are an upper middle class Canadian-American family, based on Long Island,New York, and the family has a rigid tradition that everyone in the family MUST study at an Ivy League University, specifically Cornell, Yale or Harvard.
Sarah & her family thought that she'd skate at the Olympics, wouldn't win anything, then she'd finish high school, and go onto her Ivy League studies, and certainly that's what Sarah herself expected. Going into the final round of the Olympic skating competition,she was in 4th place, but when she unexpectedly became an Olympic gold medalist, her family still wanted what they wanted, and Sarah couldn't bring herself to say "no" to her parents.
After two semesters at Yale(She's studying to be a doctor), her parents let her take one semester off to do the U.S. tour dates only of a "Stars on Ice" tour. This essentially marked the end of her skating career. Her only subsequent public skating was on a "Sarah Hughes & Friends" T.V. special. After skating in the opening ensemble number, she didn't skate again until halfway through a 2-hour show. Her two featured numbers had no jumps, because she was too far out of shape to do them.
And if her sister Emily Hughes ever gets into another Olympics, and even if she wins a medal, Emily(who's now studying at Harvard) won't be permitted to skate as a career either. It's a monumental waste of talent.
To precondition Sarah Hughes to think that it would be "normal" for an Olympic gold medalist figure skating champion to hang up their skates almost immediately after winning a gold medal, Sarah was introduced to Dr.Tenley Albright, a now elderly late 1940's Olympic gold medalist who went on to be a doctor. What Sarah wasn't told was in Dr.Albright's day, television was just starting, and there wasn't an opportunity for an Olympic gold medalist skating champion to earn millions of dollars per year through television performances, product endorsements, and ice show tours that play in big basketball arenas, and in Dr.Albright's day, a skater in a touring ice show was regarded not so much as a serious athlete, but as something more like a circus performer.
For every year that Sarah Hughes refuses to defy her parents, she loses approximately $2 million to $3 million of earnings that should be rightfully hers.


How about this: Sarah peaked at the right time, for that moment, like all athletes. After dedicating her life to skating, she was ready to move on. It's refreshing to see a skater have another focus other than touring.

Wow, I JUST watched this the other night in a fit of Olympic nostalgia. It's nice that Sarah has moved on, but I wonder if having skaters who stick around and become familiar (Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen) is better for the popularity of the sport. Maybe some of the newbies will also have staying power.


I truly hope Phil's comment is untrue. Also, who's to say that Sarah's goal is to make $$$? With their mother a breast cancer survivor, maybe Sarah wants to be a doctor or scientist and forego the $ part. I also heard that their father is Billy Joel's lawyer, so it's not like they need the $ like some skating families so.


Things went downhill after she started to gain weight aka once her body decided to actually be normal. Starving for 16 years can't be good for anyone.


I just hope Sarah is enjoying life. Is she on Facebook or MySpace?

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