Clara Hughes Awarded 2006 IOC Sport and the Community Trophy

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) announced today that five-time Olympic medallist Clara Hughes has been awarded the 2006 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Sport and the Community Trophy. The award is designed to recognize an individual’s outstanding contribution and commitment to promoting and assisting the development of sport at both the national and international level.

Hughes will officially be presented with the IOC Trophy as part of the 2007 Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame Gala Dinner & Induction Ceremony on April 21 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax.

“I’m deeply honored to be recognized by the IOC with this award,” said Hughes.  “I’ve always felt that the potential of sport is to transcend competition and contribute to the human condition in a positive way.  That I’ve had the chance to help the many children who are born into dire life situations that are beyond comprehension, is a gift I am grateful for.  It shines far brighter than the gold medal I won in Turin.  I hope this can inspire other athletes to make a difference in this vast world that we are all a part of.”

“I cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of this award than Clara Hughes,” said Michael Chambers, COC President.  “Throughout her Olympic Summer and Winter Games career, Clara has always represented Canada both on and off the field of play with such grace, class and character.  Through her athletic success and her exemplary, warm and caring humanitarian efforts, Clara truly embodies the spirit of the Olympic Movement.  She is, and will forever remain, one of Canada’s greatest Olympians.”

Hughes, the only athlete to win multiple medals at both the Olympic Summer and Winter Games, is a four-time Olympian who has become an inspiration and a role model to Canadians through her athletic excellence, determination, perseverance and generosity.

Hughes’ Olympic career began in 1996 after she won a pair of bronze medals in cycling’s individual road race and time trial disciplines in Atlanta.  Following the 2000 Olympic Games, Hughes retired from international cycling to pursue a career in long track speed skating.  Less than two years later, Hughes captured her third Olympic medal after placing third in the 5,000-metre discipline at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Last year at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Hughes captured the fourth and fifth Olympic medals of her career after helping Canada to a silver medal in the women’s pursuit discipline and winning gold in the 5,000 metre race on the last day of the Games.  Following her gold medal victory in Turin, Hughes immediately pledged $10,000 to the athlete-driven humanitarian organization Right To Play.

In the 13 months since the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Hughes’ awareness and fundraising efforts have helped raise more than $430,000 to assist in the development of children and youth through sport in the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

A Right To Play Ambassador since December 2003, Hughes regularly participates in school visits, fundraising galas, press conferences and other awareness events as part of her volunteer efforts.  In April 2006, she became Co-Chair of Right To Play’s Canadian Advisory Board.