Favourite local athlete

1. Clara Hughes 

2. Jonathan Toews 

3. Dustin Byfuglien 


Winnipeggers are clearly quite proud to claim Clara Hughes as their own. Her athletic achievements are astounding (a six-time Olympian and the first to score multiple medals at both the summer and winter games), and she’s known for her huge, friendly grin. 

Even after her many trips to the podium, she still manages to remain relatable and relevant. 

Hughes, who now resides in Canmore, Alta. released a memoir titled Open Heart, Open Mind in September 2015. In the book, she details the grittier truth behind the shiny Olympian, her struggles with depression, an eating disorder, a controlling coach and living with an abusive alcoholic father. 

Before the release, she opened up on national TV and came clean about testing positive for ephedrine in 1994 and serving out her suspension in secret. Unlike other high-profile athletes who claimed their innocence in the face of scientific proof, Hughes appears to have kept her reputation intact. 

Perhaps it’s because her disclosure fits with the ethos of her philanthropic work. As the national spokesperson for Bell Let’s Talk Day, she’s known for being open about her own mental health issues, and for being deeply committed to raising awareness. Hughes has spoken publicly about her own struggles with depression, which was exacerbated in her earlier years in the high-pressure cycling world. 

“I just want to show people that you can be so many things. You can have everything and have nothing, and you can have nothing and have everything,” Hughes said in an interview with CBC. 

And Uniter readers have spoken - Hughes still holds a special place in their hearts.

Published in Volume 70, Number 13 of The Uniter (December 3, 2015)

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