Web Exclusive

Meissner and Hughes Pull Out of Nationals

Kimmie Meissner, the 2006 World champion and 2007 U.S. champion, has withdrawn from the 2009 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, because of an injury. Emily Hughes has also pulled out of the event, citing an injury.

“I was sprinting on the treadmill and injured my hip flexor,” Meissner said. “I tried to get on the ice, but I’m still experiencing pain doing jumps. I would not be able to compete at 100 percent as I had been planning.”

The injury was sustained during an off-ice training session about a week ago.

“The decision wasn’t easy and was not made lightly,” Meissner said. “I’m very disappointed I won’t be there in Cleveland to compete.”

The injury became aggravated while she was landing jumps during an on-ice training session in Coral Gables, Fla. Meissner returned to her hometown of Baltimore, Md., to receive treatment from a physical therapist.

“Of course we’re disappointed that Kimmie won’t be competing in Cleveland,” said Meissner’s coach, Richard Callaghan, “but we’ve got to put her health and physical well-being first. Unfortunately, that means that she won’t be able to compete at the championships this year.”

Meissner, 19, competed in this year’s ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, finishing eighth at both Skate America in Everett, Wash., and the Cup of Russia in Moscow.

“I plan to get stronger and overcome my injury so that I can compete at the 2010 U.S. Championships,” she concluded.

Hughes, the 2007 U.S. silver medalist and 2007 Four Continents silver medalist, withdrew from the 2009 U.S. Championships because of an ankle injury. It is the second year Hughes has withdrawn from nationals. "This was one of the most distressing decisions I have had to make,” Hughes said.

Hughes received a cortisone shot last week in the hopes that she would be able to continue training. “I just don't have enough strength in my ankle to perform my programs,” Hughes said. “I plan to resume training when my ankle heals and to compete again as soon as possible.”

“Emily has worked exceptionally hard this year, both at college and on the rink,” said Bonni Retzkin, Hughes’ coach. “The timing of this injury is most unfortunate, but, while she is very disappointed not to be going to Cleveland, the injury has not dampened her passion or desire to continue to train and compete.”

Hughes, who turns 20 on Jan. 29, competed in one event on the Grand Prix circuit, finishing ninth at the Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France.

Both Meissner and Hughes are 2006 Olympians.