Canadian Clara Hughes, the only athlete to win multiple medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, revealed in her memoir that she failed a drug test in 1994 and served a three-month ban.
“I do know that I didn’t cheat,” Hughes said on CBC (video here). “And I can look anyone in the eye, and I can look myself in the eye and know that is my truth.
“This could have been a secret to my grave, but I just felt that I couldn’t not [reveal it], and people are going to judge me over this. There are people that are going to say that everything I did, that I cheated, and I can’t control that.”
Hughes, 42, won two Olympic cycling bronze medals in 1996 and speed skating medals in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Last year, she biked across Canada in 110 days, covering 7,000 miles for mental health awareness.
Hughes’ memoir, “Open Heart, Open Mind,” is to be released Tuesday.
In it, she details being told in late autumn 1994, following the World Road Cycling Championships, that she tested positive for the banned stimulant ephedrine, often found in cold medicines. She served a three-month suspension, but it went unnoticed because it occurred during her offseason.
Hughes doesn’t know how the substance got into her system, according to CBC.
“I’ve also never been publicly outspoken about people who do test positive, because you never know,” Hughes said on CBC.
Hughes also said that one of the reasons for her previously publicized bouts with depression were eating disorders that she detailed in diary entries.
“Why do I despise my body?” Hughes read from one journal that she said was dated June 3, 1997. “Disgusted with my lack of self-control.”