~ By Vancouver personal trainer Cassandra Kruger. To learn more about Cassandra check out her bio.
|I recently watched a documentary on the CBC National News on May 29th called “Faster, Stronger, Older”, which covered the lives and progress of a few Canadian veteran Olympic athletes. One of the athletes was Clara Hughes and her story, coupled with the fact that it’s “Bike Month”, inspired me to write about her. As a Vancouver personal trainer, I found her story particularly interesting because of her involvement and success in more than one sport. Training, competing and then gaining fame in one sport is a huge achievement in itself, let alone doing the same in yet another sport.
Clara Hughes, now 39, began her career as a cyclist, then became a speed skater, and now is back in all her glory to compete in the 2012 London Olympics as a cyclist again. In 1996 she won 2 bronze medals in cycling and after that she proceeded to win a gold, silver and 2 bronze medals in speed skating. She is tied with Cindy Klaasen as the Canadian with the most medals to date, but she is the only Canadian to win medals in both the summer and winter Olympic games. Needless to say, this is no easy feat!
|Photo Courtesy of nuestrociclismo.com
Clara is also notably recognized for her humanitarian efforts as well. She has received the Order of Manitoba and has been appointed an officer of the Order of Canada. In addition, she has donated thousands of dollars of her personal money to the organization, “Right to Play”, which draws on sport to encourage disadvantaged youth to get involved in activities.
In November 2010, Clara Hughes announced her comeback to the world of cycling and her desire to race in the 2012 London Olympics. Her passion for cycling is undeniable and she wasted no time in her preparation and training. In 2011, Clara won the time trial and road race in the Pan Am Games. In that same year, she also participated in the Tour of the Gila, Crusher in the Tushar, and Chrono Gatineau.
Most recently, in Gatineau (referred to as the race of truth), after a very scary wipeout on the same course, Clara obliterated the field of 47 to ultimately confirm her qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. Her time over the 18.4 km course was 23 minutes 56.76 seconds, a full 7.8 seconds faster than the second place time.
“It was hard, but I felt great,” said the Winnipeg native. “I’m just starting to come into my racing form for London. It’s really starting to come together and this is just the beginning of what I’m going to put together for the Olympics.” (The National Post)
Clara is on target for the final weeks of training before London along with several other Canadian cyclists. Her tremendous efforts as a seasoned athlete should be an inspiration to us all. During “Bike Month” at Momentum Fitness, think of Clara Hughes and pedal longer, faster and more often. We may not be Olympic athletes, but together, as a team, we can achieve our goal. Also, don’t forget to cheer Clara on when she races again for team Canada!