Canada's greatest Olympian Clara Hughes returns to Hamilton tomorrow and Saturday to be recognized for her amazing accomplishments. But she is also returning to affirm her ties to the community that nurtured her, and the geography that toughened her.
Between 1991 and 1998, Hughes lived in Dundas and trained in the area, making bike rides up Sydenham Hill, which rises more than 100 meters from central Dundas to the top of the escarpment a central part of her training. She has often talked of the role the tough climb played in her training and development.
Saturday, a plaque will be unveiled at the top of the hill, recognizing Hughes's amazing accomplishments and her time spent in Hamilton. Friday, she is giving a speech at Mohawk College. Collected here, courtesy of the CBC archives and YouTube are news accounts and features from her reign as one of Canada's greatest athletes.
Our coverage of Hughes continues this week:
Coming tomorrow: The hill: 116 meters, long, 7.8% average grade, a great view. Local competitive cyclist Mandy Dreyer (winner of this year's Paris to Ancaster race) takes us on a narrated video climb up Sydenham Hill. Coming Saturday: McMaster Sports scientist Naomi Cermak explains what it takes and what happens to the body when you climb 'El Syd'.
Clara Hughes in Hamilton:
Mohawk Talks: Clara Hughes at Mohawk College — speaking on how the transformative power of sport and changed her life. $10 at McIntyre Performing Arts Centre, doors open at 9:30 am. Talk at 10:30 a.m.
Clara’s Climb dedication ceremony. A cycling honour guard from the CHCH National Cycling Centre Hamilton will escort Hughes through Dundas and up Sydenham Road at around 10:40 p.m. Dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. top of the hill.