Clara Hughes

Clara Hughes
Clara Hughes

Clara Hughes at the induction ceremony of Canada's Walk of Fame
Personal information
Born September 27, 1972 (1972-09-27) (age 39)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 71 kg (160 lb; 11.2 st)
Country  Canada
Sport Road bicycle racing
Track cycling
Speed skating
Retired February 24, 2010 (speed skating)

Clara Hughes, OC, OM (born September 27, 1972) is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, and 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 fellow Winnipeger Cindy Klassen as the Canadian with the most Olympic medals; though Klassen won all of hers in Winter Olympic events.

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 her success in Atlanta. With her experience and endurance earned through cycling, Hughes would then go 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. In winning both Summer and Winter Olympic medals she is one of only five people to have won medals in both versions of the games, and is the only person ever to have won multiple medals in both.[1][2] Hughes is also the first and only Canadian to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

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.[3] 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 15 November 2010, she was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Hughes currently lives in Glen Sutton, Quebec.



Hughes was born in Winnipeg, and is a graduate of Elmwood High School. She started with speed skating, but in 1990 she moved to competitive cycling, competing in track cycling and road cycling.


Hughes, an 18-time Canadian national cycling champion, won the silver medal at the 1995 World Cycling Championships (Time Trial).

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.

A four-time participant of the women's Tour de France, Hughes has won the 1994 Women's Challenge and the 1997 Liberty Classic.

Hughes served as a commentator for cycling events for the CBC's coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[4]

In November 2010, she announced a comeback and wants to race at the 2012 Summer Olympics.[5]

At the 2011 Pan American Championships, Hughes won the individual time trial and road race, both by a big margin.[6] In May 2011, she took first in the Tour of the Gila, winning two stages. In July 2011, she took first in the inaugural Crusher in the Tushar.

Long track speed skating

Hughes skating in 2007

In the 2000/2001 season, Hughes made a successful comeback to speed skating, participating in the World Single Distance Championships in Salt Lake City, where she finished 11th in the 3000 m.

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.[7]

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 by Marc 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.[8] (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 12 March 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.[9] During the games she won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres which was also the final Olympic 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.[10]

Personal bests

Personal records
Women's speed skating
Distance Time Date Location Notes
500 m 41.19
1000 m 1:18.75
1500 m 1:57.46
3000 m 3:59.06
5000 m 6:53.53
10000 m 14:19.73 2005 Calgary Current Canadian Record
Former World Record
Women's cycling
Distance Time Date Location Notes
  • All information from Speed Skating Canada records page and Clara Hughes's SSC profile[11][12]


In 2006, she was awarded the Order of Manitoba, and in 2007, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

On May 23, 2008, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University of Manitoba.

In 2008 Clara 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.[13]

On April 7, 2010 she was made an officer of the Order of Canada.[14] [15]

On June 8, 2010, it was announced that she would receive a star on Canada's Walk of Fame.[16]

On September 23, 2010 she received an honorary degree from the University of New Brunswick in a special Toronto ceremony [17]

On November 15, 2010, Ms. Hughes was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.[18]


  • Sponsored by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, Bell, COLD-FX, Pure Fruit Technologies, Adidas Eyewear & VISA for the 2008-2009 season.


  1. ^ "Clara Hughes's finest hour". CBC Sports. 2006-02-26. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  2. ^ "Olympic heroes: Double doses of Eddie Eagan". Edmonton Sun. 2010-02-10. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  3. ^ "Congratulations to Right To Play Athlete Ambassador Clara Hughes Canada’s flag bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games". Right to Play. January 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  4. ^ CBC Television, Olympic Prime, 20 August 2008
  5. ^ Kman, Randy (2010-11-17). "Olympian Clara Hughes making a comeback for 2012 Games". The Star (Toronto). 
  6. ^ Hughes’ road to cycling worlds paved with gold
  7. ^ "Incredible! Clara Hughes wins another medal". Toronto Sun. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  8. ^ Canadian Press Wire (25 February 2006). "Canadian Olympian donates $10,000 to charity". 
  9. ^ Davidi, Shi (30 January 2010). "'Someone who is truly remarkable': Clara Hughes named flag-bearer for Vancouver". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 2010-02-24. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Hughes adds another bronze to incredible resume". Slam! Sports. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  11. ^ "Records". Speed Skating Canada. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  12. ^ "Speed Skating Canada Clara Hughes profile". Speed Skating Canada. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  13. ^ "Hughes named Canada's Olympic flag-bearer". CBC Sports. 30 January 2010. 
  14. ^ "Order of Canada bestowed on 43". CBC News. 2010-04-07. 
  15. ^ "Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony". The Governor General of Canada. 7 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "2010 Inductees for The Canada Honours Announced". Canada's Walk of Fame. 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  17. ^ "Honourary degrees awarded at UNB's 225th". McLeans. 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-09. 
  18. ^ "Clara Hughes inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame". 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2010-12-15. 

External links

See also

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