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Olympic figure skating champion Sarah Hughes files to run for Congress

Sarah Hughes

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Figure Skater Sarah Hughes attends the 37th Annual Salute To Women In Sports Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on October 19, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Women’s Sports Foundation )

Theo Wargo

Sarah Hughes, the 2002 Olympic figure skating champion, filed paperwork on Monday to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Hughes, 38, filed to run as a Democrat in the 2024 election for the Republican-held New York 4th District, which is adjacent to the district that includes her hometown of Great Neck.

“Born and raised on Long Island, Sarah is concerned about where we’re headed, whether it’s rising prices, public safety and gun violence, or threats to women’s health,” a spokesperson said in an email. “She’s putting the pieces into place to make an announcement in the next few weeks.”

When Hughes was 16, she was invited to meet then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice at the White House on Sept. 7, 2001, after her coach’s husband faxed Rice, a former figure skater, about Hughes.

Five months after that, Hughes took gold at the Salt Lake City Winter Games. She remains the last American to win an Olympic women’s singles figure skating title.

Hughes was named to the White House delegation for the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics, though she was not serving in a political role at the time.

She also earned degrees from Yale (undergrad) and Penn (law school), worked in law and in the last year began pursuing graduate degrees in business and education at Stanford.

Hughes is not the first prominent figure skater of her generation to venture into politics.

Michelle Kwan, who took bronze at the 2002 Olympics behind Hughes (and silver in 1998), has intersected with the government for more than a decade. She was a surrogate outreach coordinator for Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign and was appointed by President Joe Biden as an ambassador to Belize in December 2021.

At least five Olympians have served in the House of Representatives: two-time decathlon champion Bob Mathias, four-time sprint medalist Ralph Metcalfe, 1968 1500m silver medalist Jim Ryun, 1972 basketball silver medalist Tom McMillen and judoka Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

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