Growing up, I was often asked at school: “other than your parents who is your role model?” I could never think of anyone I looked up to. I always answered myself, which isn’t that bad in itself. As an adult, I am constantly learning about these wonderful women who have accomplished so much, women who could and should have come to mind when asked that question. The problem is that we never heard of them at school.

September 27th marks Clara Hughes’ birthday, which is why I chose to speak about her today. She was born in in 1972 in Winnipeg.

One of Clara Hughes’ biggest accomplishment to date is being the only person in history to win medals at both the Winter (speed skating) and Summer (Road Cycling) Olympic Games. She won medals in speed skating in 2002, 2006, 2010, and cycling in 1996. Clara’s one of the biggest stories to emerge in Canadian sports, and she’s not finished yet.

What makes her even more impressive is her work as a humanitarian. She is involved with “Right To Play” organisation. Clara is also driven to destroy the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. As a spokesperson for the “Let’s Talk” campaign, she shared her own struggles with depression and mental illness. She encourages other Canadians to do the same.

Clara Hughes is a true role model.