SOCHI 2014

Journey Of Champions: Sarah Hughes Talks With Ashley Wagner

By Sarah Hughes, 2002 Figure Skating Olympic Champion | March 13, 2013, 10:15 a.m. (ET)
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Ashley Wagner 
Ashley Wagner performs during the ISU World Figure Skating
Championships on March 29, 2012 in Nice, France.
Q: Well, now that you’re a Nike athlete, they have to be impressed with that!

A: I don’t know if they know actually!

Q: Well, it’s very cool because although Nike is involved with a lot of different sports, this might be the first time Nike has endorsed a figure skater. How did your partnership come about?

A: They were looking for a winter athlete and they picked me. I’m really lucky to be part of their team this year. It’s always been my dream to be a Nike athlete. To finally accomplish that along with an amazing season, it’s been great.

Q: You also represent Pandora (jewelry) as their style ambassador. Do all these activities help take your mind off the hard days of training?

A: Definitely. It kind of adds a little bit of pressure because I know a little more is at stake. I have to make a couple more people happy, but at the end of the day it gives me an opportunity to have something away from skating. Granted, it all came to me because of skating. Being a Nike athlete or Pandora style ambassador adds dimension to my career, which is really exciting.

Q: You were very persistent in skating. You’ve been competing a long time, just missing the cut for the World Championships and the Olympics a few years ago, which you’ve spoken about as being very frustrating. Your tenacity and determination to continue is inspiring. What’s the main thing that’s kept you focused on this goal?

A: I think that ever since I was little, I felt like if I really worked hard and kept at it, that I would be able to be a national champion, and who knows, maybe a world champion. I think that my career is one of the most relatable careers out there because it didn’t always just happen for me. I feel like every gold that I’ve gotten so far, every placement, I’ve really had to work for. It wasn’t given to me. And a lot of people can relate to that because life isn’t always easy. Sometimes you really have to work for something. I’ve always wanted to be on top of the podium and then once I got there, I was hungry for that gold. I loved it and I didn’t want to give it up. So I’ve been working really hard the past couple of years to get where I am.

Q: What made you choose skating? A lot of elite athletes are athletic and driven and persistent. Those skills translate to many other sports. What was it about skating that made it stand out for you?

A: Well, when I was younger, my mom started me skating when we were living in Alaska and it just kind of made sense at the time. Throughout the years – because I’m an army brat – we moved around so much, and skating was the one place that always felt like home. Everything was always new for me. We moved every single year, but when I got on to the ice, you know, a rink is a rink no matter where you are. It felt like home for me. So I developed a really unique bond with the sport. I think that’s just something I never would have gotten with another sport if I just picked it up. Skating has always been there for me.

You can next see Ashley competing in the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ont. The ladies competition is March 14-16. Best of luck to Ashley!

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