Thursday, February 25, 2010
Clara Hughes is a Canadian hero
There are few athletes that have impressed me more over the years more than speed skater Clara Hughes. It is rare to see an athlete compete at the world level in two sports. Even more rare is when the two sports span both the winter and summer. She is only the fourth person and second woman to win medals at the Summer and Winter Games. Only Clara has won mutiple medals and both Summer and Winter Games.
Her international competitive career has spanned the 1991 Pan Am Games at the age of 19 to the 2010 Olympics at age 37. Over that span she competed at four Pan Am Games (eight medals), three Commonwealth Games (two medals) and five Olympic Games (six medials).
She has a big heart but not just when it comes to competing but when it comes to people in need. On Thursday she donated her $10,000 in prize money from the Canadian Olympic Committee to Take a Hike, a youth at risk foundation program for troubled teens which exposes them to outdoor adventures such as kayaking, journeys into the back country and camping. After winning gold at the 2006 Turin Olympics, Hughes donated $10,000 of her own money to the charity Right To Play.
She challenged Canadian business and individuals to match her donation or give what they can. To date, over $400,000 has been raised. After traveling to Ethiopia in May of 2006 to work with the Right to Play programs,
The woman is an inspiration. A true Canadian hero.