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Hughes withdraws from U.S. Championships

2007 U.S. silver medalist out of nationals with hip injury

Emily Hughes smiles after her silver-medal performance at the 2007 nationals.
Emily Hughes smiles after her silver-medal performance at the 2007 nationals. (Getty Images)

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By Todd Hinckley
(01/14/2008) - The 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships will be without its defending ladies silver medalist. 2007 runner-up Emily Hughes, who also won the bronze medal in 2006, has withdrawn from the 2008 nationals in Saint Paul, Minn., Jan. 20-27.

Hughes cited a hip injury as the cause for her withdrawal. The injury will keep her not only from competing at the U.S. Championships but also from training for the time being. She also will most likely not be available for the Four Continents Championships in February.

"This injury is just really bad timing," Hughes said. "I hope to be able to begin serious training again in four-to-six weeks."

Hughes has been making headlines this season because she is trying to maintain her full competition schedule while pursuing and Ivy League education. She enrolled at Harvard this fall and juggled her mid-terms during her two appearances in the ISU Grand Prix Series. She finished fourth at both Skate America and Skate Canada.

She has not competed since Skate Canada at the beginning of November, but she still had high hopes for nationals. Hughes was going to try to grab the national title, which she barely missed out on last year in Spokane, Wash., finishing just 0.82 points behind Kimmie Meissner.

"I'm extremely disappointed to have to miss the U.S. Championships," Hughes said. "This is a competition I've been looking forward to all season."

Hughes is part of a well-known skating family. Her older sister, Sarah, won the ladies gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City after barely making the U.S. team.

Four years later, Emily, just after turning 17, finished seventh at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. Hughes replaced Michelle Kwan on the Olympic team just before the competition after Kwan, the nine-time U.S. champion, had to withdraw.

Hughes has finished in the top 10 at each of the last two world championships and will hope to reach that level again when she returns from this injury.