Double Olympic bronze medallist Clara Hughes is back and eager to win more
Olympic medals this fall in Sydney. Less than two years ago, Hughes'
career was hanging in the balance
She battled retra-calcanal bursitis, a nagging ankle ailment for most of
1998 and actually retired for a certain period. She resumed her training
in January 1999 and had mixed results that season. She swept gold at
nationals but struggled a month later at the Pan Am Games in her hometown.
Then a week before the world championships she was hit by a car while
training but still competed and finished seventh in the time trial.
Hughes' 2000 highlight so far was winning the final stage in spectacular
fashion at the Tour de l'Aude in France. She also rode one of her best
career time trials at the national championships. She's a confident
cyclist heading to Sydney.
"I feel confident I can win a medal at the Games," she said "I wouldn't be
here if I didn't think I had a chance."
After the 2000 Games Hughes has announced her plans to pursue a career in
long track speed skating. She wouldn't be the first world-class athlete to
successfully make that sporting transition. Winnipeg's Susan Auch, who won
two Olympic medals in speed skating, got her start on a bicycle and
actually tried to make the 2000 cycling track team.
Eric Heiden of the U.S., who swept all five speed skating golds at the 1980
Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., went on to ride in the Tour de France and
Chris Witty of the U.S., a two-time Olympic medallist at the Nagano
Olympics in long track speed skating is headed to Sydney with the American
cycling track team.
Hughes doesn't know if she can reach those lofty plateaus.
"First I have to learn to skate again," she said. "But you never know. I
think God put each of us on the earth to be the best we can be, and if your
put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything."
Women's individual time trial: Clara Hughes, Winnipeg, finished sixth in final.
Women's road race: Clara Hughes, Winnipeg, wound up 43rd in final.
Canada's Clara Hughes races
Canada's Clara Hughes and Genevieve Jeanson lead the pack
Clara Hughes rides off the course
2000 Games Cycling Coverage