Olympian Clara Hughes’ smile hid a dark and lonely place
Even over the phone, Clara Hughes bubbles, she giggles with infectious glee, and you know that she is smiling, smiling that famous smile of hers.
Happy is her natural state. It is who she is: Our national sweetheart, an Olympic darling with a radiant glow, a great big grin and a closet full of medals.
She has collected them in the summer (on her bike) and in the winter (on her skates), and won us over along the way.
Or maybe it was her smile that did that. Maybe that’s why it is so strange to talk to Clara Hughes about that time when she was not smiling, about being stuck in a dark and lonely place — about the depression that nearly swallowed her whole.
She has never talked about it. She is ready to now. (Illustration by Kagan McLeod)
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