Do you need inspiration this year? Inspiration to get off the couch, and out on the bike? Inspiration to train in the off season when the weather is less than ideal for cycling?
I was given a copy of Clara Hughes’ memoire “Open Heart, Open Mind” for Christmas. I am a fan of Clara Hughes but this is not the kind of book I would normally read. For those of you who may not know Clara, she is a 6-time Canadian Olympian, a 6-time medal winner, and the only athlete to win multiple medals in both the summer (cycling) and winter (speed skating) games.
I have a friend who competed in the 1972 summer Olympics. She did not medal, not even close, but it was, and still is, the highlight of her life. She is very proud of the experience, and it has shaped her life since. Imagine, if you can, what it might feel like to qualify not for 1, but for 6 different Olympiads, and to contend for a medal each time.
What is truly remarkable about Clara isn’t the results. They speak for themselves. What surprised me, and makes the medals so remarkable, is the difficult upbringing she had. She came from a highly dysfunctional family from Winnipeg, enduring an alcoholic, and abusive father. She was destined to a life of alcohol, drugs, and trouble until she discovered speed skating as a teenager.
Despite all of her success, Clara suffered, and still does today, from acute depression. Her story is about how she battled this demon, and became an advocate for all those suffering from this debilitating disease. Despite all of her success, she remains down to earth, the girl you would love to have live next door, and mentor your kids.
So, if you are having trouble motivating yourself this year, I suggest you pick up a copy of “Open Heart, Open Mind“. This book may not make you an Olympian, but it will make you want to get off the couch.
Clara is definitely an inspiration to us all. Thank you for this post and I will definitely check out this book.
Let me know what you think of it.
Clara Hughes is well loved here and your review reminds me why that is. I’m going to put this on my reading list now. 🙂
I’m sure she is. I enjoyed the book, and as I said, it is not the type of book I usually read. Initially, I was put off. She came across as being self-indulgent. Then I realized she has a lot to be proud of and talk about.
I see you have a new Gravatar picture 🙂
Well now, that only confirms that I have to read it ! 🙂 And yes–I feel like I finally have a Gravatar photo where I don’t ‘t appear hostile, neurotic, or drunk. Hooray! 🙂
LOL 😎 hostile? Neurotic? Drunk? I don’t think so. Maybe I need to pay closer attention.
Haha–maybe. Maybe I just dread having my picture taken… 😀
No need to dread it 😎
Thanks for the introduction!
Isn’t it a little crazy that most very driven and successful people have had a rough childhood/led a difficult life to get there? Is it because success is intrinsically related to struggle? A little cliché but I guess it is.
It may be a cliche but there is truth to it. Failure is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather it’s a great teacher.