Clara Hughes completed her final Olympic event on Wednesday with a 5th place finish in the cycling time trials. Arguably one of the best athletes to come from Canada, she is a national hero and an inspiration to so many.
Here’s a look at Hughes’ Olympic accomplishments throughout the years:
- 1996 - Clara Hughes won 2 bronze medals in cycling, becoming the first Canadian woman to win an Olympic medal in this sport.
- 2000 - She competed in the summer Olympics, but came away without any medals. She retired from cycling.
Most athletes would finish their careers here, with 2 Olympic experiences and 2 medals. But not Clara Hughes.
- 2000 - Hughes returns to her first sport, speed skating.
- 2002 - She wins the bronze medal at the winter Olympics, becoming only the 5th person in history to have a podium finish in both the summer and winter Olympics, and the only Canadian to have done so.
- 2006 - Comes home with a gold and silver medal in speed skating. This made her the only person in the world to win MULTIPLE MEDALS in both the summer and winter Olympics.
- 2010 - Wins a bronze medal in her final Olympic race in speed skating, tying her teammate, speedskater Cindy Klassen, for the most career Olympic medals by a Canadian.
And yet, she was still not finished.
- 2010 - Clara Hughes returns to cycling.
- 2012 - At the age of 39, she qualifies for the London Summer games in 2 events. Completing her final Olympic race, Clara Hughes finished in 5th place, something our country could not be more proud of.
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.
It takes a hell of a lot to be at the top of your game in one sport. Clara has had a long career at the top of two sports.