Clara Hughes, OC, OM (born September 27, 1972) is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, who has won multiple Olympic medals in both sports. Hughes won two bronze in the Summer Olympics in 1996 and four medals (one gold, one silver, two bronze) over the course of three Winter Olympics. She is tied with Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most Olympic medals, with six medals total.
Hughes is one of only five people to have podium finishes in the Winter and Summer versions of the games, and is the only person ever to have won multiple medals in both. Hughes is also the only Canadian to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. Hughes was the first Canadian woman to win a medal in road cycling at the Olympics, winning two in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hughes is also one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.
As a result of her success in multiple sports and her humanitarian efforts, Hughes was named to both the Order of Manitoba and as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She is involved with Right To Play, which is an athlete-driven international humanitarian organization that uses sports to encourage the development of youth in disadvantaged areas. After winning her gold medal in 2006, she donated $10,000 to Right to Play.
Throughout her career Hughes received a number of other awards, trophies, and accolades. She was named Female Athlete of the Year by Speed Skating Canada in 2004 for long track. In 2006 she received the International Olympic Committee's Sport and Community Trophy. She was then named to the 2006 List of Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity by the Canadian Association for Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS). In the summer of the year 2010, it was announced that she would receive a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame and on November 15, 2010, she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
- 2 Personal
- 3 Personal bests
- 4 Honours
- 5 Sponsors
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Hughes was born in Winnipeg, and is a graduate of Elmwood High School. In an interview on CBC radio show Definitely Not the Opera, Hughes reveals that as a youth, she smoked cigarettes, drank a lot at a young age and did a lot of drugs, admitting she did not envision herself as an athlete. She was inspired to begin skating after witnessing Gaetan Boucher at the 1988 Winter Olympics. She started with speed skating, but in 1990 she moved to competitive cycling, competing in track cycling and road cycling.
Hughes started speed skating at the age of 16, she then took up the sport of cycling at the age of 17. She would eventually return to the sport of speed skating at the age of 28, after achieving success in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. With her experience and endurance earned through cycling, Hughes went on to a successful career competing in the 3,000 m and 5,000 m. This would eventually lead her to medal in these long distance events at the Winter Olympics. She then returned to cycling, at the age of 38, to later successfully return for the 2012 London Olympics.Hughes on 2011 Tour of the Gila
She participated at the 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2003 Pan American Games and won eight Pan American Games medals. Also competing in the 1990, 1994, and 2002 Commonwealth Games, Hughes won gold in the time trial and bronze in the points race on the velodrome.
Hughes participated in the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics, winning two bronze medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, in the individual road race and the individual time trial. These were the second and the third ever medals in road cycling for Canada, after Steve Bauer's silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics, and the first medals in cycling for a Canadian woman. As of 2011, these were the only three cycling medals for Canada.
In November 2010, she announced a comeback, indicating her desire to race at the 2012 Summer Olympics. At the 2011 Pan American Championships, Hughes won the individual time trial and road race, both by a big margin. In May 2011, she took first in the Tour of the Gila, winning two stages. In July 2011, she finished first in the inaugural Crusher in the Tushar in Beaver, Utah. At the Chrono Gatineau time trials in May 2011, she finished first among an international slate of riders. In June 2012, she was selected to become part of Canada's 2012 London Olympics team, as one of four in cycling, with two other women and a man.She is entered in the time trial and road race disciplines. She finished 32nd, with the peloton, in the road race at the 2012 Olympics. She finished 5th in the road time trial at the 2012 Olympics.Hughes skating in 2007
The following season, she qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics. After placing 10th in the 3000 m, she won the bronze medal in the 5000 m, just ahead of compatriot Cindy Klassen. With this, she became the second speed skater to win medals in the Summer and Winter Games — Christa Luding-Rothenburger won a gold in the 1000 m speed skating and silver in the 1000 m cycling sprint in 1988. She became the fourth person and second woman to win medals at the Summer and Winter Games. In 2006, she was the only Olympian to have won multiple medals at the Summer Games as well as at the Winter Games.Led by Clara Hughes, the Canadian team enters BC Place during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
In 2006, although she had not been asked, she announced she would not carry the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. At those Olympics, she won her first gold medal in the 5000 m and a silver medal in the team pursuit as part of the Canadian team. She earned her fifth Olympic medal at the 2006 Games, tying the total all-time Canadian medal count record, also held byMarc Gagnon and Phillip Edwards. Klassen set a new record in the same games, winning five medals in Turin, for a total of six.
Inspired by Joey Cheek, who donated his gold medal bonus to Right to Play, Hughes donated $10,000 of her own money to Right to Play after her 2006 gold medal win in the 5000 m. (Canada did not give out medal bonuses at the time).
Hughes was also a world record holder on 10,000 m track with 14:19.73 on March 12, 2005 on the Olympic Oval in Calgary, which was beaten by Martina Sáblíková one year later. However, that time is still the Canadian record.
On January 29, 2010, she was announced as the Canadian Flag Bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. During the games she won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metreswhich was also the final Olympic speed skating race of her career. Her time of 6:55.73 became a new track record, though her time was soon beaten by Stephanie Beckert of Germany and gold medalist Martina Sáblíková of the Czech Republic. This brought her career medals total to six, tying teammate Cindy Klassen as the Canadian athlete with the most medals.
She is also the National Spokesperson for the Bell Let's Talk Mental Health initiative, including Bell Let's Talk Day. Hughes uses her past struggles with depression to relate to others and to help combat issues including the stigma involved with mental health issues. Since 2013, Clara Hughes has initiated annual bike rides across Canada in order to raise awareness about mental health.
|Women's speed skating|
|500 m||41.19||12 October 2006||Calgary|
|1000 m||1:18.74||23 December 2006||Calgary|
|1500 m||1:57.46||20 November 2005||Salt Lake City|
|3000 m||3:59.06||18 November 2005||Salt Lake City|
|5000 m||6:53.53||13 January 2008||Calgary|
|10000m||14:19.73||11 march 2005||Calgary||Current Canadian Record
Former World Record
On May 23, 2008, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Manitoba.
In 2008, Hughes was named an in motion Champion by the Province of Manitoba.
On February 12, 2010, she was the Canadian Olympic Team flag bearer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
On September 23, 2010, she received an honorary degree from the University of New Brunswick in a special Toronto ceremony.
On January 16, 2012, The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) announced Hughes as one of twenty women selected to the Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity list (MIW) for 2011. The objective of the list is to focus on women who are leaders and role models making a difference on the Canadian or international scene. The women on the MIW are influential women who contributed in a significant way to sport and physical activity in the year 2011. This is Clara Hughes third time on the CAAWS Most Influential Women List.
- Sponsored by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Bell, COLD-FX, Pure Fruit Technologies, Adidas Eyewear & VISA for the 2008–2009 season.