Follow my journey as a Students Live reporter through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

From Drugs to Skates

I hope everyone was watching the Opening Ceremonies last night, and then you must have seen Clara Hughes leading team Canada, and waving the flag with utmost pride. As you know, Clara is an amazing Canadian speed skater, but do you know about her background and childhood? I was shocked when I heard about it.

At the age of 9, Clara's parents split up; that was what led her down the wrong path. As a very young teen, Clara started partying and drinking. And then not long after that she began experimenting with minor drugs. And at one point in Clara's early teen hood she even ran away from home. Things were not looking good for her future.

"At the time, I smoked a pack a day," she said. "I wasn't into really hard drugs, but I was doing a fair amount of soft drugs and just partying a lot. I would run away from home for the weekend. I just wouldn't come home...And so there I was, this undisciplined, pseudo-amoral girl, young adolescent, and this thing happened inside of me. I was like, ‘I'm going to do that.' I just knew."

It happened while she was sitting in the living room watching the Calgary 1988. She was 16 years old, and this was the first time she'd seen speed skating. The moment she saw the skaters she knew that is what she wanted to with her life. In Clara's eyes, these skaters were just floating on the ice, and that is what inspired her to change her life, in a way not even imaginable. It definitely took a very strong soul to change your life that dramatically.

"I have friends from that time in my life who are severe alcoholics and have major social problems and life problems, I know a girl whose boyfriend killed her and then killed himself."

Look where she was then, and where she is now. This is such a great example of a success story, and we are proud to call this worldwide icon a Canadian!
Good luck to Clara Hughes at the Olympic Games!

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