Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes

Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes

by R. S. Ashby

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Ice Princess

Sarah Hughes was born to skate, and she proved to the world with her dramatic gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics. But the road to Olympic glory was not always easy for this Long Island teen.

Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes is the amazing true story of a brilliant skater's Olympic quest.

Here's what you'll find

…  See more details below


Ice Princess

Sarah Hughes was born to skate, and she proved to the world with her dramatic gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics. But the road to Olympic glory was not always easy for this Long Island teen.

Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes is the amazing true story of a brilliant skater's Olympic quest.

Here's what you'll find out about America's newest sweetheart:

  • Sarah's first time on the ice
  • How her family's support helped her through difficult times
  • How Sarah braved the rocky road to the Olympics
  • Sarah's hopes for the future

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Geared toward slightly older readers, Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes, America's Sweetheart by R.S. Ashby spotlights the 16-year-old champ in a chapter book format. Similarly, Going for the Gold: Apolo Anton Ohno, Skating on the Edge by Thomas Lang chronicles the 19-year-old speed skater's rise from troubled teen to Olympic icon. Both include full-color photograph insets. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sarah Hughes became America's sweetheart with her exhilarating performance at the 2002 Winter Olympics. The fourth of six children, Sarah's love for skating began when she was just a toddler. In addition to a passion for skating, Sarah also loved to perform and be the center of attention. By the time she was eight years old, Sarah had met some of ice skating's legends including Peggy Fleming and Scott Hamilton. When she was ten, she went to her first major competition and won third place. At age 12, Sarah began competing as a Junior, the second highest level of women's figure skating. Her family continued to support her even through difficult times when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. In 1998, Sarah won the gold medal at the Junior National Championships, earning her a chance at the Olympics. Sarah, destined to be a world-class figure skater, goes on to break the "junior title curse." An inspiring story of perseverance and courage, Sarah's road to the gold is a lesson for all of us. The book also includes vivid photographs as well as Sarah's profile and competitive resume. 2002, Avon Books/HarperCollins Publishers,
— Michele Wilbur

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Born to Skate

It all started with a little girl in a yellow snowsuit. She was three years old, and she wanted to ice skate more than anything in the world. She took a few steps and splat! down she fell. Determined, she got up and tried again. Splat! She gave a big grin. Already, Sarah Elizabeth Hughes loved the ice.

She was born on May 2, 1985, in the town of Great Neck, Long Island. Sarah was the fourth of six children, two boys and four girls. Her parents, John and Amy Hughes, had always wanted a big family. When he was a boy in Toronto, Canada, John's parents used to care for foster babies. John got used to having lots of kids-and toys and diapers-around. Home wouldn't be home without plenty of children.

So first there was Rebecca, then David, then Matt, Sarah, Emily, and Taylor. The future Olympian grew up in a very full and busy house.

From the beginning, the Hughes children were expected to excel in athletics and academics, just as their parents had. John and Amy met at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where John was captain of the ice hockey team. In 1970 the team won the national championship, and John thought about going pro. But when he didn't make the final cut for the Toronto Maple Leafs, he went on to law school instead. Amy, meanwhile, went to graduate school for accounting.

But John Hughes hadn't lost his love of hockey. So when the growing family moved to a big split-level home in Great Neck, he built a hockey rink in the backyard. He wanted his kids to enjoy pick-up hockey games whenever they wanted, just as he had growing up in Canada.

"It wasn't a great rink," Sarah toldLong Island daily Newsday years later. "The ice was bumpy. There was some wiring underneath and, for a little bit, we had a Zamboni. But it broke down, and my dad stayed up all night hosing the ice down."

Her oldest brother, David, who had already had some figure skating lessons, took to hockey immediately. So did his tag-along pal, Matt. But hockey wasn't Sarah's thing. "My mom bought me a pair of hockey skates at one point, but I don't think I ever played," Sarah remembers. The flying pucks scared her. And besides, she didn't want to be on the ice with a bunch of other pushy guys in uniforms and helmets.

She wanted to skate alone!

Already Sarah wanted to be noticed, to be the best. "I was always the one who demanded attention," Sarah told The New York Times. "I was always very competitive, regardless of what it was. I tried to skate faster than [my brothers and sisters]. I always wanted to be the first to do everything."

Luckily, there was a big local rink nearby. Sarah used to go along with her older siblings when they went for lessons and practice. The kids would sit on the bench to wait for their mother to tie their skates. Once, because Sarah was so impatient, Amy did hers first. As soon as she was finished, Sarah flew off the bench and onto the ice. Frantic, her mother had to call out to the attendants to catch the little girl before someone crashed into her. Next time, her mother put Sarah's skates on last. But Sarah couldn't stand to wait. So at age three, Sarah learned to tie her laces herself!

"It wasn't so important for me to tie my skates first," Sarah remembers. "It was because I was the only one who could do it right, how I liked it."

Sarah can barely recall when she started skating. "I remember being really young and taking group skating," she told Newsday. "We played red light, green light. The instructor was at one end, and whoever reached the other end won."

Others remember how happy the toddler always seemed on the ice. When her first coach, Patti Johnson, first saw Sarah she was wearing molded plastic skates. "She got on the ice, and she ran and fell and giggled and got up and ran again," Johnson told Newsday. "She had no fear."

Sarah took to the ice like a duck to water. In fact, she was a prodigy. She soon mastered moves it took other children many years to learn. Figure skating is a complicated and difficult art. It requires many years of dedicated training.

Skating itself is probably four thousand years old. People in Northern Europe, who needed to be able to get around on ice in cold weather, made crude skates out of animal bones. They tiedthe bones around their feet with leather thongs. The blades were usually made of reindeer, elk, or horse bones. But some were made of walrus tusks!

Skating was good transportation. Soon people discovered it was fun, too. By the 1400s, the Dutch had invented iron skates for use on their frozen canals. The rest is sports history.

Gradually blades got narrower and sharper. Today's blades are made of polished steel. The bottom of the blade has a slight inward curve to it, with a groove down the middle...

Going for the Gold: Sarah Hughes. Copyright © by R. Ashby. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Ruth Ashby is the author and editor of several titles for young readers, including Her Story: Women Who Changed the World. She lives in New York City.

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