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Old 02-12-2006, 07:15 PM   #23
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Default Re: Torino 2006: XX Olympic Winter Games (February 10th - 26th)

I can't say I'm surprised Kwan withdrew. I knew she wouldn't be able to cut it as soon as the report of her groin injury was made public. I'm sorry her Olympic gold medal dreams will never be realized, but I'm equally happy that Emily Hughes will now get the spot on the U.S. figure skating team as her replacement. I don't think Kwan would have medaled due to her injury. Hughes is a worthy replacement. She's young, only 17, so we'll see what happens.

Injured Kwan withdraws from Olympics
Skating icon loses chance for elusive gold; Hughes tapped to replace her

TURIN, Italy - Michelle Kwan?s decade-long quest for Olympic gold came to a sorrowful end Sunday when she withdrew because of an injury, taking the biggest name out of the Turin Games.

Kwan cut short her first practice of the games the day before after straining a groin muscle, and the injury worsened as the day wore on. She withdrew after Dr. Jim Moeller evaluated her early Sunday morning and recommended she not continue.

?I wish I was here in better circumstances,? Kwan said Sunday morning, her voice flat and her eyes puffy. ?When I first put in my petition, I said I believed I?d be 100 percent by time the Olympics came around. But yesterday, after going on ice and feeling stiff ... I don?t think that I can be 100 percent.

?I respect the Olympics too much to compete and I don?t feel I can be at my best.?

Emily Hughes was chosen by the U.S. Olympic Committee as Kwan?s replacement.

Kwan has been the face of figure skating for a decade, and she owned the spotlight at these games ? despite being here for only four days. Her withdrawal is a loss for everyone, USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said.

?Michelle Kwan means more to the United States Olympic Committee than maybe any athlete that?s ever performed for the U.S. Olympic Committee,? Ueberroth said. ?She?s been a leader, she?s been gracious, she?s somebody that cares for so many youngsters that are training in our country.

She?s a real loss to all of the United States Olympic Committee and to the United States of America, and I think to the world. She?s made a courageous decision.?

Olympic officials wasted little time approving the petition to put Hughes on the team. The 17-year-old, younger sister of 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, was third at last month?s national championships.

She said in a Saturday interview with WNBC-TV in New York that she would be ready to travel to Turin if needed.

?Just point me in the direction and I?m there,? Hughes said.

But that could be a challenge: Blizzard warnings were posted for the New York City area, where she lives, and dozens of flights were canceled at the city?s three major airports.

When Hughes gets here, she?ll join Sasha Cohen and Kimmie Meissner on the U.S. team. The women?s competition begins Feb. 21.

Kwan said she would return to the United States so as not to be a distraction.

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