Clara Hughes Enters Canada's Walk of Fame
She cycled and became a star. She skated and became a star. She raised the flag to cement her place as a sport star. Now she literally is a star.
Clara Hughes, one of Canada’s most recognizable modern-day Olympians, has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. The ceremony in Toronto, where she was the lone sport star among six arts-related inductees, was held Saturday and will be broadcast on Global TV Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
Last February, she was Canada’s flag bearer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. And at the Richmond Oval, Hughes skated her final turns around an Olympic ice surface. With each completed lap in the 5,000-metre speed skating race, the crowd grew louder and deliriously louder. As each of her lap times flashed on the screen, a deafening roar filled the brand new skating venue. When she glided past the finish line, she pumped her fists and the competitive fire in her face faded into that unmistakable smile.
In her final race she won Olympic bronze, surpassed by two skaters who required near-world record times to do so. With the medal, Hughes tied teammate Cindy Klassen for six career Olympic medals, the most by any Canadian.
That star on the Walk of Fame in Toronto represents someone who rewrote the history books of Olympic sport – and not only in Canada. First she captured two bronze medals in cycling at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Six years later she had switched to speed skating and collected a bronze in 5,000 metres at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. There, in Salt Lake City, she became just the fourth Olympian to win a medal in the summer and winter Games.
Then she entered uncharted waters. At the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Hughes won gold in 5,000 metres and silver in team pursuit. She was then the world’s only athlete to win multiple medals at a single summer and a single winter Games.
Hughes joins a growing cast of Olympians now on the Walk of Fame. They are: basketball star Steve Nash, alpine skiers Nancy Greene-Raine, Ken Read, Steve Podborski, Dave Irwin and Dave Murray, equestrian athlete Jim Elder, figure skaters Kurt Browning and Barbara Ann-Scott, hockey players Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, and sprinter Harry Jerome.