Stand tall, Clara Hughes
To say Clara Hughes was the best choice to be Canada’s flag
bearer for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games would be
No one offers a greater combination of talent and humility,
or better exemplifies the true spirit of sport.
When she was officially introduced Friday in Richmond
as Canada’s flag bearer for the Vancouver
Games, she said, “This is without a doubt the greatest honour of my
She means it.
Though one of the most gifted athletes in Olympic history—
competing and winning multiple medals in both
the Summer and Winter Games; the only athlete
ever to do so—Hughes has always been
inspired to help others through her actions.
Her efforts and determination are examples for
all of us to emulate.
“We believe that no athlete is more deserving
of the honour of carrying Canada’s flag on
home soil than Clara,” said Jean Dupre, director
general of Speed Skating Canada.
For all her accomplishments in cycling
(double bronze medallist at the 1996 Summer
Games in Atlanta ) and on the ice (bronze in
Salt Lake City and silver and gold in Turin),
Hughes’ work ethic remains as
legendary as her skills.
So too, her willingness to lend a hand—be it
simply a pat on the back and a few
words of encouragement for a teammate
or raising funds and awareness for children.
Hughes’participation with Right to Play—an international
group dedicated to improving the lives
of children in some of the most disadvantaged
areas of the world by using the power
of sport and play for development, health
and peace—is as exemplary as it is inspiring.
After winning gold at the Turin Games, she
donated $10,000 of her own money to Right
to Play to help raise awareness. She challenged
Canadian business and individuals
to match the donation and to date more than
$400,000 has been raised for programs
Following the Vancouver Games,Hughes hopes to continue
her humanitarian work.
After Hughes carries the flag into BC Place
Stadium on the evening of Feb. 12 and watches
the opening ceremony with her teammates,
she will have only one day to finalize her
preparation for the first race of her last Olympic
Games, taking part in the 3,000-metre event
on Feb. 13. But know that Hughes is a winner,
through and through.
As she prepares to wind up her Olympic
career at the Richmond Olympic Oval over the
next two weeks, her ultimate goal is to
defend her Olympic title in the 5,000 metres.
With her track record only a fool would bet