Cindy Klassen is Canada’s most winningest Olympic athlete with 6 medals and Clara Hughes is No. 2 on Canada’s list of winningest Olympic athletes. I was in awe of their performance in the races yet it was their comments after their incredible feats that put me really in awe of these two exceptional Canadian skaters from Winnipeg. To me, they demonstrate the best in Strength Based Leadership.
When asked about her feat Klassen said:
I really don’t think about things like that. I’m just enjoying the moment right now. I’m excited that I won five medals but I’m really excited with how I raced each race.
I went out each time and wanted to put together the best race possible. I did that and I had a great time doing it. I think I’ll look back and just remember the fun times I had.
Can I get better? I hope so. I’m 26 right now and I hope I can get stronger and stronger. Hopefully, in Vancouver I’ll be at my strongest.
When asked about the medals she said she would store them in a closet at her home in Calgary, I don’t like to display things like that.
After winning gold, Clara Hughes’ thoughts were on others. She said she had been thinking about what motivates her and why she likes to compete. She pledged $10,000 to the charity: Right to Play because she thought
that’s what is all about. Just that happiness and that play can give so much to the world, so much hope and so much positive energy.
This is from a women who only get $18,000 a year in Sports Canada funding and she pledged over half her yearly income to support programs in the Third World aimed at giving children the opportunity to play sports.
Hughes had written the word joy above the knuckle of her ring finger on her left hand before winning her gold medal race.
I wrote on my hand, ‘Joy’ because that’s what I wanted to feel after my race…after I recovered from the physical exhaustion of it. And I really feel that. Just sheer joy and happiness, and the rapture of being alive. It was a really beautiful moment.
What would also give Hughes joy is if others would pledge what they can to Right to Play. Click here to read more and to go to the fundraising page featuring Clara’s efforts. I made a donation right away.
When asked about her feat Hughes replied:
For me, this medal is just another battle I happened to win this time. But I think I’d just like to be thought of as somebody who really loves what they do and shows it to people, and is ready to fight.
Cindy Klassen and Clara Hughes are incredible examples of the qualities of strength, love, and energy that are the foundation of strength based leadership.