Winter sport? Summer sport? Clara Hughes is an athlete for all seasons. She’s one of the biggest stories to emerge in Canadian sports, and she’s not finished yet. A six-time Olympic medalist in cycling and speed skating; she’s the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. She’s back on the bike with her eyes firmly set on London 2012. But there’s far more to Clara than athletic achievements.
For Clara, success means more than earning medals. It means having a voice and using the opportunity to reach out and help others. When she uses this voice, it’s loud and clear.
After winning gold in 2006, Clara donated $10,000 of her personal savings to the Right to Play programs. This donation challenged Canadians to support the cause, raising over half a million dollars for the international humanitarian organization that uses sport for development. In 2010, she donated her $10,000 medal bonus to the Vancouver inner city school program, ‘Take a Hike’, which uses adventure based learning to give youth at risk a better direction in life.
She is the National Spokesperson for Bell Canada’s Mental Health initiative and the ‘Let’s Talk’ campaign. By sharing past struggles with depression, Clara has helped break down the stigma associated with mental illness.
She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Manitoba, holds honorary doctorates from various Canadian Universities and has been awarded the International Olympic Committee’s prestigious ‘Sport and the Community’ award for her commitment to promoting the values of sport and play around the world. Clara also has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Clara was given the great honor of being the Canadian Flag Bearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, proudly leading the home team to its historic medal winning performance.
She’s an avid adventurer and enjoys bike touring, distance hiking and exploring with her husband Peter.
By giving back and connecting to her community and the world at large, Clara shows how it is possible to achieve your very best on and off the playing field.
Since the beginning of her athletic career, Clara has held a special vision of what sport could be. Her pursuit of excellence has carried her to the top of her field in both cycling and speed skating. Her determination, dignity and integrity are forces which have driven her to go beyond what most people consider reasonable limits.
She has pursued her dreams through the world of sport, yet her ultimate goal has always been to motivate youth and inspire hope in others through her actions.
By setting an example of sportsmanship and creating a supportive environment in every team she has been a part of, Clara has supported and aided in the growth and development of many young athletes. She has never lost the connection of what it was like to be inspired for the first time in her life. This inspiration came when she was sixteen years old, and it came from sport.
Clara has always believed that knowledge becomes wisdom when it is shared with others. By remaining open to learning, open to growing, and most importantly, open to being inspired, she has shown what it’s like to live one’s dreams for over twenty years in sport.