February 11, 2006
Hughes inspired by the Oly experience
PAUL FRIESEN -- Winnipeg Sun

TURIN, Italy -- Perhaps it should come as no surprise that someone who's already made history should be so interested in it.

Olympic history, that is.

Winnipeg's Clara Hughes is in the books as the first Canadian -- and just the fourth person on the planet -- to win medals in the both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

Think about that one for a minute. Just four people in the history of the Games, all 110 years of it, have done what Hughes has done.

More people than that have walked on the moon, for heaven's sake.

A double-bronze medallist in cycling at Atlanta 1996, Hughes re-invented herself as a speed skater a few years later, winning a bronze in the 5,000 metres at Salt Lake City 2002.

Actually, the switch was a return to her roots, as Hughes was on skates before she took up competitive cycling.

No matter the sport, Hughes might just embody the Olympic ideal.

These next two weeks aren't about medals or adulation. At 32, Hughes has had her share of both.

Ask her what Turin is all about, and she'll delve deeper than most any athlete you'll find.

"I just want to be open to the experience and the inspiration that the Olympics allow and offer," Hughes told the Sun. "Sometimes, athletes can go to the Olympics so focused that they lose sight of what magic is available there. For me, it's definitely been an amazing experience to be an Olympic athlete. I plan and hope to learn a lot from these Games."

"... It's things outside of sports that have really inspired me and allowed me to have the races I've had at the Games," she said. "It's a reminder that I need to be open when I go to the Games. And if I am, anything's possible."

Apparently, it is.

Because Hughes remains the second-ranked skater on the World Cup circuit in the 3,000-5,000 category.

At 32, she's a real threat to win a second Winter Games medal to go with her two Summer ones.

She'll get her first chance in the 3,000 tomorrow.

But her best shot is the 5,000 on Feb. 25.

If she pulls it off, she'll have everybody scrambling for the history books again.







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Men's 1,000m
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Men's 1,500m
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Men's 5,000m
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Men's 10,000m
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Men's Team Pursuit
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Women's 500m
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Women's 1,000m
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Women's 1,500m
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Women's 3,000m
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Women's 5,000m
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Women's Team Pursuit
Results
Past Champs