Open Heart, Open Mind

Open Heart, Open Mind

eBook - 2015
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The long-awaited memoir by Canada’s most celebrated Olympian and advocate for mental health.In 2006, when Clara Hughes stepped onto the Olympic podium in Torino, Italy, she became the first and only athlete ever to win multiple medals in both Summer and Winter Games. Four years later, she was proud to carry the Canadian flag at the head of the Canadian team as they participated in the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. But there’s another story behind her celebrated career as an athlete, behind her signature billboard smile. While most professional athletes devote their entire lives to training, Clara spent her teenage years using drugs and drinking to escape the stifling home life her alcoholic father had created in Elmwood, Winnipeg. She was headed nowhere fast when, at sixteen, she watched transfixed in her living room as gold medal speed skater Gaťan Boucher effortlessly raced in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. Dreaming of one day...
Publisher: 2015
ISBN: 9781476757001
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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From Library Staff

From one of Canada's most decorated Olympians comes a life-affirming story of one woman's struggle with depression. In a world where winning meant everything, her biggest competitor was herself. In 2006, when Clara Hughes stepped onto the Olympic podium in Torino, Italy, she became the first and ... Read More »

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Sep 12, 2016

I was a little disappointed in this book. I thought that she would share a little bit more about her struggles with mental illness. It was more about reading her resume than anything. I am not a fan of biographies to begin with and this made it a little bit less enjoyable than I would have expected.

Jul 21, 2016

One thing this book does very well is demonstrate that depression isn’t about causes. Hughes acknowledges the damage her coach did, while also noting that finally leaving him didn’t fix her. She shares meeting her husband, the man who would support her through all her ups and downs, but admits that love couldn’t fix her either. She pushed herself to extremes in training, becoming known as an endurance athlete, but even Olympic medals couldn’t instill self-worth. She got out of a sport she hated to pursue the one she originally fell in love with, but still fell back into partying and alcohol when the strain of the sporting lifestyle took its toll. She isn’t miraculously cured by sports (quite the contrary) or anything else, for that matter. Open Heart, Open Mind is part of the journey of coming to terms with living with depression.
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K_ROK Apr 04, 2016

I quite enjoyed reading about Clara's athlete experience and how she dealt with her issues of mental health. A lot of people see athletes as these superhuman people with no worries and life is great but we have to remember that they are just as human as the next person and the struggles Clara faced with herself, her training and her coaches was very informative and insightful.

Mar 23, 2016

I really enjoyed this book as it was an easy read. What a unique individual! I watched her win Olympic medals for skating but I had no idea that she was also a cyclist. I appreciated that this book wasn't all about the sports but I did find that she could have devoted more pages to her involvement in the Let's Talk campaign as opposed to the RTP program (worthy as it was). Lastly, I would have liked to hear more about how she handled daily life with her depression and maybe even how her family was able to help. Overall, a great read. You won't be disappointed.

CatherineG_1 Mar 19, 2016

Clara Hughes six time Olympic medal winner's biography was enlightening. Most athletes are fortunate to succeed in one sport, never mind two. She clearly is a talented and dedicated individual. Her life story to this point made for interesting reading especially when she discusses the life of a speed skater and a cyclist. I think I had expected more about her life dealing with her depression as well as the Bell Let's Talk Campaign.

Homa7 Jan 19, 2016

Clara Hughes is a Canadian cyclist and speed skater, who have won six Olympic medals in both sports.
This book is her story of growing up in Winnipeg with a father was an alcoholic who verbally abused their mother. As a teen, she drank, used drugs and dropped school, trying to escape her home life. When she was 16, she turned her life around when she saw gold medal speed skater, Gaétan Boucher, race in the 1988 Calgary Olympics. She tells of her adventures and weaknesses of hard training, of lacking in confidence and her struggle with depression. She is open and honest to her readers and I found her book informative, entertaining and enlightening.

runfastread Oct 28, 2015

Clara Hughes became Canada's only athlete to win medals in both the winter and the summer Olympic games. But behind her many triumphs is a story of a girl who as a teen abused both drugs and alcohol and battled depression after a rocky childhood. This is Clara's story about commitment, healing, and the power of forgiveness. It is a story of one Canadian's strength of spirit, and her willingness to share her painful journey with us all. A must read for all Canadians!


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Jul 21, 2016

Clara Hughes is a prominent Canadian athlete, known for winning medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics in cycling and speed skating. In 2010, she was the flag-bearer when Canada hosted the Olympics in Vancouver. That year, she also became the public face of the Bell Let’s Talk initiative, which aims to raise funds and awareness for mental health issues. This was the first time that many people learned about the depression and self-doubt that lurked behind Hughes’ megawatt smile. Open Heart, Open Mind chronicles Hughes’ journey from party kid in Winnipeg, to Olympic athlete, to public health advocate and humanitarian.


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Jul 21, 2016

“The extreme physical pain I was able to endure was a distraction from my emotional pain. I was like a traumatized person who slashes open a vein or with a razor to let the despair, the guilt, the repressed anger bleed out. I would cut myself to the bone, grinding and hammering before I’d give up.”

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