Great Neck native and champion figure skater Sarah Hughes was named to the presidential delegation to the Republic of Korea for the coming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, White House officials said.
Hughes was the only former athlete named to the delegation, along with Marc Knapper, a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, retired Gen. James D. Thurman, Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, Judge Ed Royce, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.
Pence has also invited Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Fred Warmbier who died last June after returning home from being imprisoned in North Korea as his guest to the opening ceremony.
The delegation will attend athletic events, meet with U.S. athletes and attend the opening ceremony. The 242-member United States team is the largest in Winter Olympics history.
Hughes took home the gold medal for the women’s singles event during the 2002 Winter Olympics, defeating Michelle Kwan, who took bronze, and Irina Slutskaya, who took silver.
Before traveling to Salt Lake City for the Olympics, Hughes was on the cover of Time magazine skating over the Rocky Mountains after qualifying for the games with a bronze medal win at the 2002 U.S. Championships and her second consecutive bronze medal win at the Grand Prix Final.
Hughes is the only American woman to have won the Olympic title without having won either a World or U.S. senior national title. Hughes retired shortly after her Olympic win in 2003.
Daughter of John Hughes and Amy Pastarnack, Hughes was born in Great Neck and attended Great Neck North High School. After graduation, she attended Yale University, earning her bachelor’s degree in American studies with a concentration in U.S. politics and communities.
Hughes’ younger sister Emily was also an Olympic competitor during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.