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Olympic Gold Medalist Focuses on Plight of Women - 2002-04-18

American figure skater Sarah Hughes turned in a performance of a lifetime at the Salt Lake City winter Olympics. In fourth place after the short program, Hughes skated a flawless performance in the long program to pass three world-class rivals and win the gold medal. Hughes wants to share her success with women and children in areas of the world such as Afghanistan.

Sarah Hughes turns 17 April 22. Ten years ago, she made a bold prediction.

"When I was seven-years-old, I declared on national television that I was going to go and win an Olympic gold medal. And of course at the time I was the only one who thought this was possible," she said.

Her dream came true in February with a gold medal at the Salt Lake City winter games. But it came after a lot of effort.

"When you set high standards," said Sarah, " you have to be very disciplined and be very adamant about how you are going to get there and how you are going to work."

Along the way, Sarah Hughes learned about the world, and especially became interested in the plight of women in Afghanistan.

"My skating over the last 10 years brought me to over a dozen countries. And I have been able to speak with a lot of kids and talk to them and learn about them. And they have told me of their sacrifices and their hardships," she explained. "It was just my luck to be born in the place that I was born. I did not have a choice. And I really wanted to get to know them. And I almost had a chance to go over there [Afghanistan] on a presidential mission. And we are still talking about it. So maybe in the near future I may be able to go."

Sarah Hughes has an Olympic gold medal to cherish and a long skating career ahead. Her interest in helping people around the world will make her a champion for a lifetime.