Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 7 to 12
- Reading age: 8 to 10
Clara Hughes has won multiple medals in both summer and winter Olympic Games. As a cyclist and speed skater, Clara pushed through pain to get to the finish line, trying to have her best race every day. Few knew that the same determination and focus were also needed to fight her own personal battles. Abusing drugs and alcohol from her early teens, Clara used sport to turn her life around in a few short months. But after becoming one of the world's top athletes, her world came apart as her depression threatened to rob her of her Olympic dreams.
Clara's inspiring story does not end with winning gold. Using her fame as a platform, she has devoted time and resources to helping children gain access to sports in the world's most troubled regions. And she has become a symbol of the fight to remove the stigma from mental illness by cycling thousands of kilometres in all kinds of weather to raise awareness. Clara is a remarkable athlete, but it is her strength and courage off the track that have made her a true champion.
About the author
Richard Brignall is a freelance writer, former newspaper sport reporter, based in Kenora, Ontario. He has over 130 articles published in magazines like Cottage Life and Outdoor Canada. He helped originate the Recordbooks series at James Lorimer and Company. This series focuses on Canadian sports history and issues like race, gender, disability, and poverty. He has written seven books for this series. Titles include Small Town Glory about the Kenora Thistles winning the Stanley Cup, Forever Champions about the Edmonton Grads women’s basketball team, Big League Dreams about black baseball player Fergie Jenkins, and China Clipper about Chinese-Canadian football player Norm Kwong.
- Winner, The List: Great Reads for Youth - Toronto Public Library