Clara Hughes uses auto-biography to disclose 1994 doping violation

Former Olympian writes in her newly released biography that she tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine in 1994

Photography by Stefano Rellandini/AFP/Getty

Photography by Stefano Rellandini/AFP/Getty

OTTAWA —  Former Olympian Clara Hughes has revealed a previously undisclosed anti-doping rule violation from 1994.

Hughes wrote in her newly released biography that she tested positive for the banned substance ephedrine in 1994 and that she was notified of the test result by Cycling Canada’s then national team director. Hughes says in the book that the violation was intentionally kept quiet.

The offence occurred before the creation of the World Anti-Doping Agency or the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, Canada’s national anti-doping body.

“Cycling Canada cannot condone how this matter was handled at the time by any of those involved,” said a statement from the organization. “Regardless of the practices of the day, Cycling Canada believes in full, fair and open disclosure of all doping related offences. We remain fully committed to the principles of fair play and rigid compliance with the WADA Code.”

Hughes informed Cycling Canada of the revelation in her upcoming biography in late August. The book will be released on Tuesday.

Ephedrine promotes short-term weight loss, specifically by burning fat, and is used by athletes to improve their performance before a competition.

Hughes is tied with Cindy Klassen for most Olympic medals won by a Canadian, having competed in both the Winter and Summer Games.

She won two bronzes in road cycling at the 1996 Atlanta Games. She also won gold in 5,000-metre long-track speedskating at the 2006 Turin Olympics, adding a silver in the team pursuit that same year. Hughes won bronze in the 5,000 metre event at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games as well as the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Hughes was Canada’s flagbearer for the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics.

Since retiring from competition Hughes has become an advocate for mental health, drawing on her own experience with depression.


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