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Skate America: Cohen Out; Hughes In

Sasha Cohen, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, three-time World medalist and six-time U.S. medalist, announced today she will not compete at Skate America because of an injury. She will be replaced by 2007 U.S. silver medalist Emily Hughes.

“I have been battling this injury for a while,” Cohen said. “After meeting with my orthopedic surgeon, it was determined that in order for me to fully recover, I should not compete this week.”

Cohen withdrew from her first Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series assignment, Trophée Eric Bompard, in early October after being diagnosed with tendonitis in her right calf. “I’m very disappointed I won’t be able to compete in Lake Placid,” Cohen said. “I’ve been going to physical therapy and training with every intention of being healthy and ready for this competition.”

Hughes, who finished seventh at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, last competed at Skate America in 2007, when she finished fourth. Last season in her only Grand Prix event -- Trophée Eric Bompard -- she placed ninth. She later withdrew from nationals due to an ankle injury. It was the second straight year she pulled out of the U.S. Championships.

In October, Hughes placed second at the North Atlantic Regional Championships. She won the short program and finished second in the free skate. Samantha Cesario edged out Hughes for the gold by a mere 0.07.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to compete for the fourth time at Skate America,” Hughes said. “It is especially exciting to be representing the United States in my home state of New York and at such an historic Olympic setting as Lake Placid.”

Cohen said she will continue her physical therapy and training, with the goal of competing at the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash, Jan. 14-24, 2010. Cohen announced in May her intention to return to competitive skating following a three-year absence. Her last competition was the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships in Calgary, Canada, where she earned the bronze medal.

“Life was nice and easy, but I miss having a challenge to step up to,” the two-time Olympian told IFS last spring while on tour with Stars on Ice. “I felt like I had one more Olympics in me. … It will be my last chance and I did not want to let it pass me by.”

Cohen has been training in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., under the direction of Rafael Arutunian, a former coach of two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan.