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. 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. After winning her gold medal in 2006, she donated her $10,000 gold medal bonus to Right to Play rather than keep it herself.
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.
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