January 13, 2005
Olympic figure-skating champion Sarah Hughes got some rare time off to visit her family in Long Island, N.Y., over Christmas, but has returned to the road as the star of the Stars on Ice Show.
The American leg of the tour began this week, and will stop tonight at America West Arena.
Only 16 when she struck gold in Salt Lake City in 2002, Hughes
was the fourth-youngest women’s skating champion, and only the seventh American to win the prize.
She was immediately offered a spot touring with a professional ice show, but opted to attend college instead. She entered Yale University in fall 2003, taking ‘‘general classes mainly, but I’m leaning toward psychology right now,’’ she says.
She took this year off ‘‘because I’m going to be in five or six cities a week, and it’s hard enough to balance books and practice with- out travel. Yale’s not the kind of school you skimp on class attendance.’’
Hughes, now 19, hasn’t decided about competing in the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, but says, ‘‘I’ve retained my eligibility. What I’m doing (in the ice show) is sanctioned by our figureskating association. I haven’t decided whether to compete, but I’ve kept the option.’’
Although she hasn’t competed since the Olympics, the Stars on Ice show keeps her in shape, she says.
‘‘This show is very challenging. It’s two hours of constant go. I would not say it’s easy.’’
Hughes doesn’t miss the judges, she admits.
‘‘The audiences are the judges for the show, and they’re not easy to please, either,’’ she says.
The show ‘‘is a very theatrical production, and you have some of the best skaters in the world in it — six Olympic champions, more than any other show of its kind.’’
The skaters perform individually and in group numbers, and their competitive natures show, she says.
‘‘I think whether competing or not, we always try to do the best we can. That’s something we live by. The question always is, ‘Did I do the best I can?’ ’’
Stars on Ice Show
What: Figure-skating production featuring Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, Olympic pairs champions Jamie Sali and David Pelletier and Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, six-time U.S. national champion Todd Eldredge and four-time world champion Alexei Yagudin
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: America West Arena, 201 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix
Cost: $28 to $98
Information: (480) 784-4444 or www.starsonice.com