Interview with Clara Hughes

Olympic gold medal speedskater
Haley Crawford

Haley Crawford with Clara Hughes  (Photo : Susan Crawford)

Haley Crawford is the author of Skater  Sequence, a children’s novel. This is her first novel, hopefully not her last, if the praise, applause, and positive comments are any indication… It is with pride and great pleasure that we introduce her to you as she invites us all on an interview with Clara Hughes, Olympic Gold Medal Speedskater.

I am Haley Crawford, from Frelighsburg. This is my first newspaper article and I am very happy to be able to be published in a newspaper. I decided to interview Clara Hughes, the Canadian Olympic gold medalist because I was so inspired by how she had a dream of speed skating in the Olympics and actually made it !

Haley : So Clara, at what age did you begin speed skating ?

Clara : I was sixteen the first time and twenty eight the second (I began cycling a year and a half after the first time and did not skate for ten years in between.)

Why were you interested in the sport ?

I was inspired by Gaetan Boucher when I saw him on TV in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. I thought speed skating was the most beautiful thing I had even seen and knew in my heart that I wanted to represent Canada in the Olympics one day.

When did you start training for the Olympics ?

The same day I began speed skating when I was sixteen.

How do you train ? What do you have to do to stay in shape for speed skating ?

I train twice a day, six days a week, eleven months a year. It takes about five hours a day and then even more time when I add in the hours spent getting massage/chiropractor/physiotherapy and doing yoga for about three hours a week on top of training.

How often do you need to train ? How early do you have to get up and at what time do you have to go to bed to fit your schedule ?

I get up at 7:30 most morning, sometimes earlier at about 6:30 if our ice sessions are earlier. I go to bed at 10:30 p.m. I also sleep another hour in the middle of the day between training sessions.

What other sports do you do ?

I played hockey and ringette when I was young, that’s how I learned to skate. I also did volleyball, track and field, soccer, softball, ballet and gymnastics.

Are you planning on competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics ?

Yes, it is my dream to compete in Canada for these Olympics.

How many times have you been in the Olympics ?

Four times : two winters and two summers.

Do you have any advice for aspiring athletes ?

Always dream and never listen to people around you. They might tell you that you will never make it ; they might tell you that you are great before you are good. Always be realistic but at the same time don’t be afraid to have a dream inside of you that allows you to believe and be inspired and motivated. It takes time to improve and to grow as an athlete and it’s crucial to realize that everyone has a different path and speed in which they improve. Follow your heart and you will never be disappointed.

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