Olympian cycling through Ponoka to battle depression

In an effort to remove the stigma that comes with depression, cycling and speed skating, Olympian Clara Hughes is cycling across Canada.

Olympian Clara Hughes will be coming through Ponoka June 1 on Highway 2A between 10:40 and 11:40 a.m.

Olympian Clara Hughes will be coming through Ponoka June 1 on Highway 2A between 10:40 and 11:40 a.m.

In an effort to remove the stigma that comes with depression, cycling and speed skating, Olympian Clara Hughes is cycling across Canada.

Hughes found that when she was not competing, she suffered from depression, which prompted her to speak openly and honestly about her trials. After retiring from competitive speed skating and cycling, Hughes found a need to tell as many people as possible about depression.

Hughes started Clara’s Big Ride, April 28 in St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador, and intends to cover every province and territory in Canada. Her trip will take her through Ponoka June 1 on her way to Red Deer, where she intends to stop for the day. Hughes will cycle between 75 and 225 kilometres a day in effort to support mental health initiatives.

Hughes has earned herself six Olympic medals over her career; two bronze cycling medals in 1996, a bronze medal in speed skating in the 5,000m race, silver and gold in 2006 for speed skating and bronze in the 5,000m race in 2010.

Town planners are organizing a rally to support Hughes as she is expected to pass through Ponoka between 10:40 and 11:40 a.m. along Highway 2A. Wes Amendt, director of community services, says supporters will meet at the Visitor’s Information Centre close to Centennial Park.

He said town planners intend to promote the event through Town Times in Ponoka News, town’s electronic sign and Twitter account: @TownofPonoka.