Monday, August 10, 2009

Emily Hughes' Long and Winding Road

I’m still tickled a bit when I think about the deep concern my dad had—for a day or two, at least—for Emily Hughes.

Remember how she ended up making her Olympic debut in 2006… how Kwan gave her final Olympic press conference, and then Hughes came on the scene in very short order to take her place? Around that same time, I got a note from Dad (who I think I’ve explained in previous posts as the pre-eminent hunting-and-fishing-type) inquiring about Kwan’s injury, whether she should have been in Torino in the first place, and “What chance does Hughes have coming in this late?” as if he’d been tracking her career from afar.

I think I got on the phone with him sometime shortly thereafter. “I wouldn’t worry about Hughes,” I assured him. “She’s young, there’s no pressure on her. She’ll be fine.”

“It just doesn’t seem fair,” he grumbled. “She barely has time to absorb this, get there, get acclimated… when do the ladies start (their short program) again?”

“It’s okay—no one expects her to skate like her sister did, especially at this point. All eyes are going to be on Cohen, anyway. SHE’LL… BE… FINE.”

And, considering all those “unfair” circumstances, the barely-17-at-the-time Hughes came away with a highly respectable 7th place…which, for that event at least, bested the likes of Miki Ando, Joannie Rochette, and Carolina Kostner, among others.

Like 5th place finisher Kimmie Meissner, Hughes appeared to have a bright future ahead. And considering her multiple medals and life as a Harvard co-ed, all seemed to be going according to—

Then AACK! Hip injury in 2008. No Nationals. No Worlds.

And UGH! Ankle injury in 2009. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Nowadays, just like Meissner, Hughes seems to be quite the longshot for another Olympic chance. But, like Meissner, that’s not stopping her from rolling the dice.
This new article from details Hughes’ recent appearance at the Ice Theatre of New York’s Summer Youth Concert Series, as well as more information about her decision to put Harvard on hold for a year and hunker down on her training instead.

Could she get another chance to skate among the Olympic Rings? Or might she—GASP—possibly find herself in the “alternate” position yet again?

Here’s a reminder of how she did in that
Olympic outing that almost didn’t happen.

No comments: