"It was my good fortune to be covering cycling events at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, when Hughes blazed onto the scene with a pair of bronze medals, lighting up the podium with her red hair, quick humour and ebullient smile. Watching her willingly suffer in the time trial, cycling’s so-called ’Race of Truth’ in thick 30 C Georgia heat, it was obvious Hughes was going to be something special.
“I was seeing double,” Hughes told us after the event. “I have a friend who used to say she’d see Elvis when she got in that zone. I think I saw Elvis at the finish line.”
Rozdilsky says the ’96 time trial was classic Clara, a “massive result from wanting it more than anybody else. The mind can do amazing things if you have that super focus. And you just kind of dig, and pour every molecule of your body into that effort — that’s what she did there. That was all guts, that ride.”
Fast forward 15 years. Hughes shares the Canadian Olympic record of six Olympic medals with fellow speedskater Cindy Klassen. Only a fool would bet against Hughes winning a seventh in London."