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At UN and Olympics exhibition, Ban highlights role of sports in advancing shared goals for peace

Speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition entitled ‘The UN and the Olympics,’ at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General remembered that the day had been defined by stark contrasts, having first spent the morning in Srebrenica, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, among the mothers of those slain there in the 1995 massacre. Later that day, Mr. Ban said he arrived in London, where “the joy of our common humanity was evident in the faces of all the spectators and competitors I saw.”

“The swing of emotions, and the sense of common purpose in both places, was deeply moving, both personally and because of the work of the United Nations,” he told those gathered for the inauguration, which included the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, as well as US Olympic gold medallist in figure skating, Sarah Hughes.

As part of a wider effort to promote the positive role of sport and athletes in fostering inter-cultural understanding, reconciliation and peace – particularly under the auspices of the UN Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace – the ‘The UN and the Olympics,’ exhibition will remain in the UN Headquarters’ visitors lobby until next year.

Afterwards, the items on exhibit – which include the torch carried by the Secretary-General as well as his track suit – will be donated to a charity event for the benefit of peace and development projects around the world.

“I cannot match the legacy of the Games, but wanted to make my own small contribution to Sport for Development and Peace by offering the Olympic Torch and tracksuit to charity,” Mr. Ban stated.

Returning to his experience running with the torch, the UN chief underscored the importance of the Olympic Truce in an effort to bring a universal end to hostilities, “even for a day.”

Although it may seem a dream, he continued, “it is a dream we must resolutely pursue each day just as Olympians follow their own dream.”

Based on the ancient Greek tradition whereby athletes, artists, their relatives and pilgrims could travel safely to the Olympic Games and afterwards return home safely, the Olympic Truce called for the cessation of all conflicts during the sports event.

The modern-day version of the Truce has been promoted annually through a General Assembly resolution since 1993, and it was extended to the Paralympic Games for disabled athletes in 2006.

The resolution for this year’s Games was the first time that all 193 UN Member States co-sponsored it and passed it unanimously. Member States exhorted nations to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively, starting with the opening of the XXX Olympiad on 27 July and ending with the closing of the XIV Paralympic Games, on 9 September.

“This year’s resolution set a record,” Mr. Ban said. “It was co-sponsored by every one of our 193 Member States – the first time this has ever happened.”

The Secretary-General thanked the Government of the United Kingdom, the City of London and the Games’ Organizing Committee for “raising the bar for future hosts” with their work on the 2012 Games and expressed enthusiasm regarding next year’s UN-organized International Forum on Sport for Peace and Development, to be held in June 2013 in New York.

“This will be a further opportunity to explore what more we can do together to use sport to advance our shared goals for the world’s people,” Mr. Ban added.

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Olympics a busy season for 2002 gold-medalist Sarah Hughes


January 30, 2014 1:25 PM

It may seem odd to have Sarah Hughes at a Super Bowl meet-and-greet with Jets fans near Penn Station.

But as the 2002 Olympic gold medal-winning figure skater exclaimed with typical gusto on Thursday, "I'm a New Yorker!"

That she is. Now 28, the Great Neck native arrived at One Penn Plaza from Rockefeller Center after an appearance on "The Today Show" in preparation for her work for NBC at the upcoming Sochi Games.

Hughes breezed in wearing a red, white and blue scarf and mingled with Olympians from 2010 who were also present for the event.

"I'm the oldest one here!" Hughes said with a laugh.

Hughes has a lot going on. First up is appearing on a figure skating wrap-up show during the Olympics on

"We'll talk about what happened, what to look for, we'll have special guests," she said. "There's three more days of figure skating this year. So a lot of figure skating."

Hughes is also going to appear on an "American Legends of the Ice" show on NBC this Saturday with skaters such as Brian Boitano, Dick Button and Nancy Kerrigan. Hughes skated in matching outfits with her 9-year-old niece, Alexandra Parker.

Asked if she considered herself a legend, Hughes chuckled and said, "They consider me a legend. I just always consider myself a figure skater, a fan and now for NBC I'll be doing some analysis and commentary. But first and foremost I'm a Long Islander!"

Hughes is also working with former Rangers great Mark Messier on a project to bring a massive ice skating rink complex to the unused Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx.

"We're looking to build nine ice skating rinks," she said. "It'll be the largest ice rink facility in the world. It's an exciting project. We've been working on it for a long time."

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For Hughes, Gold Medal Never Trumped Family Life

By George Vecsey

Feb. 9, 2010

Sarah Hughes rarely looks at the video of her marvelous four minutes. She does not have to. It was implanted in her mind, a permanent chip that contains the crowd’s reaction to her near perfection.

Hughes is not living in the past. As a recent Yale graduate, she sometimes has to confront what she accomplished that night in 2002.

No matter what happens in the next few weeks at the Winter Games, can any event ever be as stunning as the long program in Salt Lake City skated by the girl in fourth place?

That’s a lot to live up to. Fortunately, Hughes, 24, is well grounded in her large and active family, the fourth of six Hughes children, with John and Amy Hughes still treating everybody equally. And then there is her grandmother Estelle down in Florida.

“She says she watches the video all the time,” Sarah said recently.

Most of the Hughes clan was gathered in its hometown, Great Neck, on Long Island, to celebrate Sarah’s induction into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in January.

Her sister nominated her. It is that kind of close family. Emily Hughes, who recently turned 21 and is back at Harvard, wrote the letter of nomination from her vantage point of fellow Olympian. Emily turned in one of those Hughes-style surprises at the 2006 Olympics an energetic seventh-place finish, just off the plane, as a last-minute addition to the team.

Sarah Hughes staged her own surprise in 2002, defying the groupthink that it was time for Michelle Kwan to win a gold medal.

Hughes understands just how improbable it was for her to pass all three skaters. In the arcane mathematics of figure skating, Irina Slutskaya had to finish ahead of Kwan, who had to finish ahead of Sasha Cohen, with just enough flubs all around to give the girl from Great Neck the slightest opening.

“We didn’t think about it,” Sarah said the other night, her party clattering around her. “There were so many variables. But I knew it was possible.”

The Hughes family deals in the possible. Amy Hughes survived breast cancer, came back from the hospital and started running the family all over again. Possible. John Hughes was captain of the 1969-70 Cornell team that remains the only undefeated national hockey champion. (He is heading back for the 40th reunion later this month.) Possible. That’s how they think.

Arthur Kaminsky, a prominent sports lawyer, was reminded of this mentality in 2002 when he and his Cornell friend John Hughes awaited the long program. The so-called experts had been saying the family had done it all wrong, that Sarah should have gone far away to train with a big-time coach, not play the violin in the middle school orchestra in Great Neck.

Kaminsky asked his friend if Sarah had a chance for a medal. The athlete said that as far as he was concerned, Sarah hadn’t botched a triple in weeks and in fact had a chance for a gold medal.

“I’m astounded by what I actually accomplished,” Sarah said the other night, a young woman who likes to laugh turning serious for the moment.

“I trained for those four minutes, but afterward, I couldn’t believe what I did. I know I did the two triple-triples. I remember them well. I nailed each one. But there were so many things I did. I forgot about all those things.”

Once in a great while, her friends at Yale she lived in a dormitory all four years would play the video, and she would be reminded just how long the four minutes were, just how many maneuvers she had to nail. But the memory chip had been planted that night in 2002 when her coach, Robin Wagner, did one of the wisest things a coach could ever do.

“Afterward, Robin told me to turn around and soak it all in,” Hughes said, recalling how she faced the rink, watched the fans celebrate, not knowing how the judges would vote. “I let it go on, just enjoying it.”

She placed herself backward, one third of her lifetime ago: she was going back to high school, was applying to colleges; this was liable to be her only Olympics.

“In the end, it became more memorable because I was able to take a mental snapshot,” Hughes said.

When she finally left the ice, she ran into Scott Hamilton, a skater turned broadcaster.

“Scott appeared and said, ‘Your life will never be the same.’ ”

This needs to be remembered: when Hughes and her coach and her father materialized in the media center later, they thanked people for having been there along the way. There was no trace of the faux-underdog attitude of sports, when winning athletes whine, “You guys didn’t believe in us.”

That graciousness endures. At her party last week, Sarah thanked everybody, including Tim Murray, who in 1998 was hired to prepare the skates of the Americans in the Goodwill Games on Long Island.

Assuming everybody would be concentrating on Kwan, whom she admires, Hughes brought her own tiny screwdriver in case her skates went out of kilter.

Murray spotted the screwdriver and said, “I’ve got a good place for that,” and tossed it in a garbage can. Then he said, “Sarah, I’m here for you, I’ll take care of everything.” Murray seemed stunned that she would remember his attentiveness.

The family continues to explore the possible John as a tax and real estate lawyer; Amy, a Cornell grad, holding everybody together; Rebecca Hughes Parker, a litigator in Manhattan with twin daughters; David, expanding his gin-distribution business; Matt, a cinematographer; Emily at Harvard; and the youngest daughter, Taylor, a freshman at Tulane. Sarah is enjoying her first year out of Yale; her dad thinks her ultimate strength may be writing.

For her acceptance speech last month, she wrote a poem. She said she was the first inductee ever to recite a poem. Possible.

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Sarah Hughes named to the Figure Skating Hall of Fame


Updated December 17, 2009 9:55 PM

Four minutes of impractical perfection at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics have moved U.S. figure skating electors to name Long Island's Sarah Hughes to the sport's hall of fame, the organization announced Thursday.

Hughes, 24, who officially will be inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame during January's national championship event in Spokane, Wash., called the honor "exciting" and "very humbling." And she kidded, "This time of the year, I also have my immortality in Adam Sandler's 'Chanukah Song,' so I feel doubly blessed."

Then 16, Hughes produced one of the major upsets in Olympic history in Salt Lake City, becoming the first skater to levitate from fourth place after the short program to win gold. Her unblemished long program of style and power - the most technically difficult attempted by any in the women's field - served to slingshot her past heavy favorite, American Michelle Kwan, and Russia's Irina Slutskaya.

A native of Kings Point who pursued her international skating career while a student at Great Neck North High School, Hughes first was nominated for the hall last year. She said then" "When I got the letter, I told everybody about it, I thought it was so cool. But I wasn't in [chosen], so this year I didn't tell anybody."

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Sarah Hughes L’18, Olympic Gold Medalist, to attend Olympic Opening Ceremony in PyeongChang

February 05, 2018

Penn Law student Sarah Hughes L’18 has been named to the Presidential Delegation to attend the Opening Ceremony of this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, which kicks off on February 9.

Hughes won a gold medal in Ladies Figure Skating during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She is the most recent American woman to win Olympic Gold in Ladies Figure Skating. Since beginning law school at Penn Law, she has served as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and as a summer associate at Proskauer Rose LLP.

She is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Women’s Sports Foundation, whose mission is to help create leaders by ensuring all girls access to sports.

Hughes is a graduate of Yale University.

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Olympic skater returns to campus

ZIZI YU 5:43 AM, OCT 12, 2012

Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes ’09 did not want to let one accomplishment at the age of 16 define her for the rest of her life.

Drawing a crowd of about 50 at a Jonathan Edwards Master’s Tea Thursday afternoon, Hughes — the 2002 Olympic champion in figure skating — opened up about her childhood as a figure skater, the overnight fame that came with her Olympic success and her journey to build a new life away from the ice. Hughes currently works with a non-profit called the Women’s Sports Foundation where she aims to emphasize the link between an active lifestyle and academic success. She enrolled in Yale shortly after the 2002 Olympics ended and said she valued education throughout her career and hoped to make a fresh start upon arriving on campus.

“I was on the cover of Time Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Wheaties boxes and Campbell’s Soup cans,” Hughes said. “I could have kept doing that, but I wanted the space to grow as person and learn to think for myself.”

Hughes started figure skating at the age of three, following in the footsteps of her father and two older brothers who played hockey, she said. By age five, she added, she was skating in front of crowds of 20,000 people, eventually performing in ice shows across France and Switzerland during the summer she was eight. As a junior in high school, she won her Olympic gold medal, defeating more well known names such as Michelle Kwan and Russian World Champion Irina Slutskaya.

She said when she watches videos of herself at the 2002 Olympics, she realizes that the timing of her win worked well by allowing her to leave figure skating to further her education.

“I remember exactly every moment,” she said. “I paid extra attention because I knew I wouldn’t be back.”

At Yale, she stayed out of the public eye, she said, adding that she appreciated the “personal” experience associated with her residential college life in Timothy Dwight College.

After graduating with a degree in American Studies, Hughes has worked with several non-profit organizations such as the Women’s Sports Foundation and Figure Skating in Harlem. She added that she makes frequent trips to the nation’s capital to speak with policy makers to advocate for issues concerning female involvement in sports such as Title IX.

Hughes said she has found a high correlation between female leadership in the corporate world and early participation in sports.

“If you look at any of the women Fortune 500 CEOs, all of them played sports as a child,” Hughes said.

JE Master Penelope Laurans, who was close to Hughes during her Yale years, said she is not surprised by Hughes’ choice to enter a career in philanthropy, because she always “had a hunger to do good in the world.”

Other attendees said they were impressed by Hughes’ accomplishments both on and off the ice.

Michael Fischer, a computer science professor and president of the Yale Figure Skating Club, said he has noticed a division between Yale’s athletic and academic cultures and was impressed by Hughes’s ability to bridge that gap.

Liza Lebedov ’16 said she enjoyed the talk because she paid close attention to the 2002 Olympics and remembers Hughes’ win.

Hughes was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in January 2010.

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From the archive: Olympian Sarah Hughes' family keeps her grounded

By John Jeansonne

Updated May 7, 2016 12:34 PM


On Feb. 21, 2002, Sarah Hughes, of Kings Point, won the gold medal in women's figure skating at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. Hughes, who was born on May 2, 1985, celebrated her 31st birthday earlier this week. She was 16 years old when she traveled to the Olympics, and had the support of her large family, who were all in attendance at the games to see her compete. Former Newsday Reporter John Jeansonne profiled the entire Hughes family just more than a week before Sarah won her gold medal. A version of this story was originally published in Newsday on Feb. 11, 2002.

As long as we're talking about the apple, we should consider the tree. Sarah Hughes' family.

Long Island's 16-year-old Hughes will step into the klieg lights of the Salt Lake City Winter Games completely alone in about a week. Only she will control the athletic jumps, spins and precise curlicues that could land her a medal in the most widely viewed of any Olympic sport.

But no endeavor is truly solitary, and behind Hughes stands a team of teachers, advisers and supporters. There is her skating coach, of course: Robin Wagner, who also is her choreographer. There are experts to craft her music, design and create her dresses, cut her hair. There are artisans to custom-build her skate boots, specially sharpen her blades; exercise therapists to condition her every muscle and nerve. There are tutors to keep her up to speed on the weeks of classroom work sacrificed for full-time practice sessions and travel.

But before all that, there is family, which is where everyone begins, whether they become Olympians or not. In Hughes' case, her path toward a leading role in the slightly unreal world of figure skating is atypical, in that family and home have not been put in her rearview mirror on the way to celebrity. Unlike so many teenage girls pursuing Olympic dreams -- champions like Dorothy Hamill, Kristi Yamaguchi and Tara Lipinksi -- Hughes' daily routine regularly ends among what her father calls the "chaos of people coming and going and doing their own thing all the time, and she had to fit in."

Those people include Sarah's parents, John and Amy, both 52; older sister, Rebecca, 24, and brothers David, 20, and Matt, 18; and younger sisters Emily, 13, and Taylor, 10. The "chaos" ranges from helping with household chores and baking cupcakes with her younger sisters to joking around with her brothers and pitching in while Amy battled breast cancer four years ago. It all has been played out at the Hughes house in Kings Point.

"There was a TV piece during the national championships," said Bernard Kaplan, principal of Great Neck North High School, where Sarah is lately a junior-in-absentia, "and John Hughes said something like, 'We can't influence Sarah's skating. That's way beyond us. But we can influence the kind of person she is.' That kind of parenting is unusual."

The plan, all along, was that Sarah would continue to live at home, and continue to attend public school for as many hours a day as her training and traveling schedule would allow, for as long at it would allow. And it is among family that Sarah "has definitely kept her feet on the ground," said older sister, Rebecca. "I'm not going to say she's a normal kid, and if you've seen our family, you've seen we're not the average American family. We're all very busy. We run around. But when all of us are home, Sarah is just one of us, and that's a rare thing for an elite athlete. We're her friends. We're that many more people she can be close to."

All of them will be in Salt Lake City next week for Sarah's competition -- Tuesday night in the women's short program and Thursday night in the long-program final. All except Rebecca -- she was on her honeymoon at the time -- trekked to Los Angeles for last month's U.S. National Championships, where Sarah's third-place finish qualified her for the Olympics.

According to Sarah, her family takes all the attention she gets in stride. "My brothers are never jealous," she said. "They're happy to be with me when I'm around all these women."

Besides, this is her thing; they do theirs, and everybody is happy. "My brothers always wanted to skate at the same time I did when I was a little kid, but I wanted to be on the ice by myself," Sarah said. "They'd be playing hockey and I was afraid, so I'd talk them into playing without a puck. . . My mom bought me a pair of hockey skates at one point, but I don't think I ever played. They have penalties in hockey. What would they do that was so bad to have penalties? And my mom had my older brother figure skating when he was about 5. I've seen it on a video. Now he's 5-10, 210, a huge guy. But he was very small then and he would spin. Then my dad gave him a hockey stick."

The Hughes family gives the distinct impression of a jocular, content troupe, one for all and all for one, yet with a mix of personalities, nationalities -- even religions. John, a Protestant from suburban Toronto, married Amy, a Jew from Rosyln Heights, in 1976. And this past summer, Rebecca married News 12 Long Island news producer Doug Parker.

"He's Catholic," Amy said. "That makes three."

It sounds like a Hughes theme: The more the merrier. When John Hughes was growing up in Canada, the son of an Irish immigrant who worked in construction, his mother participated in home foster care for babies awaiting adoption. So, aside from his older brother, "There always was a baby around," John said. "Eighteen kids passed through, so we always had diapers in the house. And then I got married and we had six kids, and for 16 years there always were diapers in our house."

His father had played professional soccer in Ireland during the 1930s -- maybe that's how deep Sarah's athletic roots go -- though, at what level, John isn't sure. But John's own ice hockey skills were good enough that he wound up at Cornell University with the likes of future Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden. In John's three years of varsity participation, Cornell lost a total of four games, and he was captain of the unbeaten 1970 team that won the national title the year after Dryden graduated.

Already a year toward his master's in business administration and having been admitted to Cornell Law, John's other option at the time was the NHL, except the Toronto Maple Leafs made him their final roster cut before the 1970-71 season. "I'll never understand why they kept the other guy," he said with a little grin -- the other guy being future Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler.

At Cornell during his senior year, John had met Amy Pastarnack, daughter of a cosmetics and clothing exporter-importer from Long Island -- perhaps Sarah's interest in just the right skating duds goes back that far -- and a graduate of Wheatley High. They have been a couple ever since, with Amy going to business graduate school while John finished law school. When John was recruited by Eugene Nickerson's New York City law firm, Amy took a job as CPA for Price-Waterhouse in Boston.

"The shuttle cost $19.50 then," John said, easy for both of them to remember because that's what they spent every weekend for her to fly to New York for almost three years. In the meantime, another Hughes family theme already was at work: Optimism.

"I really believe," John said, "that things turn out for the better in life." It happens that, during his final semester of law school, John became aware that noncitizens were barred from admission to the bar in the United States. "But I liked it at Cornell Law," he said, so he went contentedly on, later learning that a citizen of the Netherlands, a woman named Fre Le Poole Griffiths, who had gotten her law degree at Yale and married an American, had brought legal action challenging the rule.

Griffiths' case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where she won. "Guess who," John Hughes asked, "was the first non-U.S. citizen to be admitted to the bar in New York State?" He was, of course.

Rebecca was born while John and Amy were living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, not far from where Rebecca and her husband currently reside. It was in 1981 that the young family, with second child, David, a year old, moved to the rambling house in Kings Point, where the den walls and shelves now are covered with family photographs, illustrating the kids' various endeavors and dispositions.

"All different," Amy said of her children. "Different needs, different interests." One photo shows Matt, waiting at Kennedy Airport for Sarah to return from the 1999 world championships in Helsinki -- "figuring the whole women's team would be on the same flight," John said -- wearing a large sign on his chest announcing: "I am Sarah's brother."

It is Matt who has emerged as the family humorist, the one with the "perfect timing to say funny things," according to Rebecca, the same boy who, doctors told his parents, "would never speak, would never read," John said. Born two months premature and weighing less than 2 pounds, he was so tiny that his grandmother "noticed that meat on the scales at the deli weighed more than him," Amy said. Matt was hooked up to a tracheotomy tube for his first 18 months.

"He finally said, 'More cake,' " Amy said. "And we thought, 'Albert Einstein! "More cake." ' He was probably 3."

"Then he called everything 'apple,' " David said.

Now, he does stand-up comedy. Virtually nonstop. But Matt's survival still was very much in doubt, John said, when Amy convinced him they should have another baby.

They named her Sarah because, in the usual discussions about names, "someone mentioned that 'Sarah Hughes' is a famous name already -- the judge that swore in Lyndon Johnson on the airplane," John said. Sarah Hughes, the federal judge from Texas who had been pictured with LBJ in the surreal hours after President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, had died on April 23, 1985, so her name was back in the news nine days before Sarah Hughes of Kings Point was born on May 2, 1985.

By then, skating already was a regular activity in the Hughes family. Pickup hockey in the cold outdoors being among John's fondest childhood memories, he had built a rink behind the family home so that his own children would have a taste of that kind of fun, and often would unwind from a day of lawyering by quietly skating late at night.

John still finds time for ice hockey competition twice a week at the Parkwood rink, across from Great Neck North Middle School, where Sarah first skated as a tot. The only difference now is that "one group I play with, on Friday nights, is all younger guys, and they all call me 'Mr. Hughes,' which I don't like very much."

Anyway, the backyard rink came "long before any thoughts of a serious figure skater in the family," he said. "There were probably more snowball fights on that rink than any serious skating."

"It wasn't a great rink," as far as Sarah can remember. "The ice was bumpy. We took our family Christmas picture on it once, so there are a lot of fond memories. 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. I was about 6 then" -- and already a three-year veteran of skating.

Sarah, like her brothers, had followed Rebecca's lead, Rebecca having started with skating when she was 6, competing at various rinks around Long Island and even traveling once to Lake Placid. Then David, starting at 5, "was the one who got us going to the rink regularly," John said.

David's first hockey team was the Bryan Trottier Skating Academy Bears in Port Washington. Almost immediately, little Matt, his eyeglasses the only obvious reminder of his early physical struggles, tagged gamely along.

At 6, "I was the youngest guy on the Bears," Matt said. "I wore No. 99. They called me 'The Secret Weapon.' "

Rebecca stayed with the sport until she was 15, when her passion turned to writing, and she became editor on the Great Neck North High School newspaper. Meanwhile, she dabbled in ice dancing and later taught skating, even when she went off to Harvard to study government. After a year as an associate producer at Long Island's News 12, taking time to produce an award-winning feature on Sarah before working another year as writer and copy editor at WPIX-TV, Rebecca now is seeking her law degree at Columbia University with an eye toward becoming a legal reporter.

She was only 12 when she penned a poem in praise of little sister Sarah, an ode that John saw as much a demonstration of Rebecca's writing skills as Sarah's skating ability.

"I think, for me, it was hard to have a little sister who was so good," Rebecca said, "especially when you're 12 or 13 years old. By the time she was 7, she was already amazing. You could already tell how athletic she was. And she just loved it."

David followed his hockey to St. Mary's High in Manhasset, which he led to a pair of state championships. Then to a season playing Junior A -- the top amateur rank in the sport -- with the Chicago Freeze, even as Cornell was recruiting him. Once at Cornell, where he now is a sophomore studying business and finance, David left the hockey team and walked onto the varsity football team, preferring to play on the school's club hockey team.

On that level, he occasionally played opposite brother Matt, a freshman on the club team at crosstown Ithaca College, this past season. "And together," Matt said, "we paint the town red." Matt had gone to high school at Portledge in Locust Valley, his family seeking smaller classes for him, and added tennis and golf to his list of activities.

And, in answer to "Why Ithaca?," where his interests are film and communications, Matt offers the precisely timed explanation: "Well . . . when I didn't get into Harvard. . . . One thing they asked was what book I read in the last six months and I thought, 'Uh-oh.' "

Sarah, by comparison, "is more complex, more like I am," Rebecca said. "We worry about things more than we seem to. A little neurotic, but not in a bad sense." For instance, "I love to perform," Sarah said. "I love to be onstage and have people watch me skate. I enjoy being the center of attention. Although, sometimes, it's not so good."

"This is a child," said Wagner, Sarah's coach, "who wants results."

The Hughes child who followed Sarah, Emily, also went into skating. But if there are comparisons to Sarah's accomplishments on the ice, they are neither obvious nor troublesome. Emily this year qualified for the junior national championships, where she finished 11th.

"It's amazing to me how Emily handles that, and I think that's my father's influence," Rebecca said. "My mother and father always are running around for Sarah, but my mother and father always are running around for all of us. Sarah's just one of six, and I think that makes it more a normal thing." Emily -- "the perfect kid," Rebecca said, "the most obedient kid, very neat and organized and almost always happy" -- also has math, English and violin to hold her interest.

And then there's Taylor -- "A lot like me," Rebecca said. "She loves to read. She can beat me at Scrabble and she loves puzzles and games."

And all of them clearly see Sarah's arrival at the Olympics as a point of joy and pride. "I've been bragging about Sarah for years," Rebecca said. "She's my friend, and the older I get, the more I realize it."

Yet Sarah's big event, so thoroughly public, hardly is the first time they have pulled together. When Amy's breast cancer was diagnosed in 1997, John proved again that "he is the rock," Amy said. "He is the anchor of this ship."

Rebecca assumed some of the mothering role, "especially for Emily and Taylor," she said. "I flew home from school about every weekend." There was that Boston-New York shuttle again, no longer $19.50. That was when Sarah, 12 at the time, began to get to know her older sister better, and the idea of going to Harvard or Columbia, her sister's two schools, has begun to appeal to Sarah as she approaches her senior year of high school.

And it was David, Amy said, "who gave me his [blood] platelets when I was in the hospital. We had to get a court order to do it because he was so young [then 16]."

"That was hard, and a hard age for Sarah," Rebecca said, "because she was old enough to understand."

Still, the Hugheses had all those numbers on their side, all that optimism, all those religions. And, when Amy's illness was at its worst, Sarah had her first major skating breakthrough, winning the U.S. junior national championship, and John kidded that such good medicine for Amy caused them to call her "Dr. Sarah" for a while.

Sarah, in fact, said she is thinking she might study medicine in college.

"What's really been good with all our kids," John said, "is that they all seem to have found something they're very happy to do, that they have an enthusiasm for something and they're not just sitting around, which is a parent's worst nightmare."