Six-Time Olympic Medalist | Mental Health Advocate
“Being a champion is not just about winning,” says six-time Olympic medalist Clara Hughes. Believing that actions off the track define us as much as those on it, Hughes inspires people toward success in all areas of their lives. Her candid, personal talks range from how she believes sports can change lives to her struggle with depression—fully embodying the idea that each of us can overcome challenges to become the champions we’re meant to be.
Clara is the only Canadian athlete in history to win multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games. A six-time Olympian, she has won Olympic medals representing Canada in both speed skating and cycling. In addition, she served as the flag-bearer for Team Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games opening ceremony.
Since 2010, Clara has figured prominently in the eyes of Canadians as the national spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk, a campaign designed to end the stigma attached to mental illness. In 2014, she completed a 110-day national bicycle tour through every province and territory in Canada called “Clara’s Big Ride”. As part of the tour, she covered more than 11,000 kilometres, visited 105 communities and did over 235 events raising awareness for mental health. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir, Open Heart, Open Mind.
Over the course of her distinguished career, Clara has won countless awards and accolades. She received the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Community Trophy; she was honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame; she was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame; and she is a member of the Order of Manitoba and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Clara sits on the International Board of Directors for Right To Play, a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity, and is also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which is part of a national, comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy.