Nov 13 2009, 04:08 AM
- July 22, 2008
And the full text appears below. It's very exciting. I could really do without the writer's patronizing reference to Emily looking "fit and toned," though. (Classic example of a serious problem in the skating world -- commentators equating looking a certain way with being ready, skating-wise. One could be ready and not look the way they want, or one could look the prescribed way and be a pathetic skater. I swear, these people judge skaters as if they were fashion models. It's disgusting.)
On the other hand, the article confirms an opinion that's been posted on this forum quite often -- which is that it is NOT possible to be a full-time Harvard student and a professional skater. I wish someone had told Emily this before she tried to do both. I knew it from my own university experience -- you simply cannot be a great student and have a whole second career. One or the other, schooling or skating, will suffer.
But at any rate, now is Emily's opportunity. I hope, with all my heart, that she shines this weekend. And makes to to the Olympics!!
For Emily Hughes, an Opportunity to Impress at Skate America Sign in to
By JULIET MACUR
Published: November 12, 2009
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — When Emily Hughes received the news that she would be replacing the injured Sasha Cohen at this week’s Skate America, she could not help screaming into the phone.
“This isn’t the first time I’ve been called upon to fill in for someone at the last minute, so I should be used to it, right?” Hughes said Thursday, laughing. “But obviously, I’m not. I’m just so excited to have the opportunity to prove myself in front of a large crowd.”
The last time Hughes, 20, faced an opportunity like this, she made the most of it. At the 2006 Turin Olympics, she was a last-minute fill-in for Michelle Kwan, a five-time world champion, after Kwan dropped out with an injury.
In a whirlwind, Hughes — the sister of the 2002 Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes — traveled to Italy after the Games had already begun. She finished seventh over all and was pleased with her performance — as well as her ability to deal with the chaos and pressure.
Now, Hughes, who has competed only once since last November, is back, taking the year off from Harvard to try to make her second Olympic team. At first glance, she appears prepared for the effort.
Hughes practiced her short program here Thursday, looking fit and toned in black leggings and a black sleeveless top. The women’s event at Skate America begins Saturday, while competition in the other disciplines in this international figure skating event starts Friday.
In an Olympic year when the United States women have no clear-cut favorite to make the team, Hughes may have returned at the right time.
“It’s such an open field and this is a golden moment, a perfect moment for Emily to sign back up,” her coach, Bonni Retzkin, said. “She has as good a chance as anybody.”
Cohen, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, has not competed in three and a half years. Kimmie Meissner, another 2006 Olympian, is out with an injury.
The other contenders to make the United States team — including the perky 17-year-old Rachael Flatt — are still trying to find their footing on the international stage of the senior level.
At Skate America, Hughes will compete against Flatt, who finished fifth at the world championships last March, the top finish for an American woman.
Hughes will also have the chance to test herself against South Korea’s Kim Yu-na, the reigning world champion. Kim, who broke her own scoring record this season, is the favorite to win the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
“Being seen at Skate America will be important because she’ll have the chance to show that she’s prepared and that she could put on a strong performance at the Olympics,” Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic champion, said of Hughes’s return. “If she has regained her performance levels that she had two years ago, then fantastic. But she’ll still need to prove herself at nationals.”
All along, Hughes knew she would have to work hard to make this Olympic team — and that her skating work and her schoolwork could not mix if she wanted to succeed. For the last two years at Harvard, where she is majoring in government and sociology, she juggled college with skating. She trained in Massachusetts with the choreographer Elin Schran, who is the daughter of the 1956 Olympic champion Tenley Albright. She also worked with Retzkin long-distance.
Around campus, Hughes said, she was just another student. One day, though, she found a photograph of herself in her physics textbook and pointed it out to her professor. That led to her demonstrating her spins for a class of 250 students.
At the same time, though, Hughes’s connection to elite skating was slipping. There simply was not enough time in the day to balance both parts of her life, she recalled.
The more packed her days became, the more her off-ice workouts suffered. Injuries kept her out of the last two national championships. But as the Vancouver Games approached, she found herself daydreaming of the Olympics.
So, at the end of April, Hughes headed back to the rink with a purpose: making the United States team bound for Vancouver.
“I realized that I love skating and competing so much that I couldn’t pass up this chance; I missed it so much,” she said, adding that she would have returned to competitive skating, no matter what her chances are to make the team.
Her plan was to work her way to nationals by performing well at regionals and then sectionals.
Last month, she was second at the North Atlantic Regional Championships and was preparing for next week’s Eastern Sectional Championships when the call came, summoning her to Skate America.
“I’ve worked from the bottom up to the top to get here,” she said. “This is a huge leap that I’ve taken, but I’m ready for it.”
Edited by kioewen
, Nov 13 2009, 04:09 AM.