Friday, November 19, 2010

A Motivating Force

Olympian Clara Hughes

This week Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes , 38, announced her plans to return to the sport of cycling for the 2012 London Olympic games. By the time the London games roll around, she’ll be nearly 40, often the age when many athletes are thinking about retiring instead of gearing up for a new kick at the can.
But Clara Hughes feels her best race is still to come.
Let me tell you a little about Clara. In 1996 Clara won two medals in cycling at the Atlanta Summer Olympic games. She went on to win medals in long track speed skating at three winter Olympics in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Clara is the only Canadian and fourth ever athlete in history to win medals at both the summer and winter Olympic games. And she is the only athlete in history to win multiple medals in winter and summer Olympics.
Clara is not only a remarkable athlete, she’s a remarkable person. In honor of her $10,000.00 personal donation to ‘Right to Play’  after winning gold in Torino four years earlier, Clara made a donation to the local Vancouver charity ‘Take a Hike’ with her $10,000.00 bronze medal bonus in 2010.

When asked by CBC Sports why she wanted to compete again and if she felt she had something to prove to herself or others, Clara answered this way:
“No, I've never had anything to prove, and I've never tried to break any records or win more medals than anyone, or medal here or medal there (laughs). That's stuff that's just been a result of putting everything I have into what I love to do, and this is a continuation of how I've always gone about sport … the ultimate pursuit of personal excellence, of bringing my best self to the line and, hopefully, setting an example for kids and people that anything is possible.

When you give everything, magic can happen…And that's what I always tried to show people that were watching, particularly young people, that it's the effort that matters. It's what you bring of yourself that matters, and that's why I'm doing this and what I want to bring of myself if I'm good enough to make this team.”

I’m truly awed by Clara. She’s a great athlete and a great human being. What I find so totally inspiring about her is that she puts everything she has into everything she does. She is always going for her personal best.

I wrote the other day about my lack of motivation for finishing needed revisions on my current WIP, and how the thought that they are “good enough” keeps seeping into my brain, even though I know the WIP is not good enough. And then I think of someone like Clara Hughes, who keeps striving for more from herself even after all she’s accomplished. How can I just give up? Clara’s example shows me that I have to give the best of myself, no matter what I’m doing.

Is there someone or something that inspires you to do your best?


  1. Wow - talk about motivational :) Thanks for sharing this with us, Jana. I am a big Clara Hughes fan - and now even more so! And she looks like she'd be a really fun person to know.

    FYI - I sent your critique back and would love to MSN when you're ready!

  2. I love Clara's line: "When you give everything, magic can happen..." That's powerful! She's a great role model and a wonderful inspiration.

  3. Hey Janet,
    I've always been a fan of Clara's but doing a little research on her makes me like her even more. Whatever she does, she gives it her best. She makes me want to do the same.

    Thanks for sending my critique. I'll email you to set up a time for MSN.


  4. Hi Karyn,
    What's that old saying? Success is 20 percentage inspiration and 80 percentage perspiration. Clara is proof that hard work and a desire to do your best will get you far.