The debate over Canada’s athlete of the year is about to heat up.
In a season where the Olympics were held on home turf, passionate arguments will be made for a legion of remarkable competitors who stake a claim to Lou Marsh Award consideration.
Time to stoke the fires and stir the pot.
Joey Votto, the National League’s MVP, has slugged his way into front-runner status. Steve Nash carried the Phoenix Suns to the NBA semi-final with a great playoff run. Sidney Crosby had another fine campaign for the Pittsburgh Penguins and scored the “Golden Goal” for Canada at the Olympics. Boxer Jean Pascal is the World light heavyweight champion. Georges St-Pierre, the mixed martial artist, is the UFC welterweight kingpin.
On the amateur side, ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won Olympic gold in figure skating then pushed on to claim the World Championship title in Turin. Christine Nesbitt, the speed skater, took Olympic gold, dominated the last World Cup season and hasn’t lost a race this season. Erik Guay won the Super-G title on alpine skiing’s World Cup, a first for a Canadian since Steve Podborski in 1982.
Alexandre Bilodeau deserves consideration for delivering the historic first gold medal by a Canadian on home soil when he tamed the moguls at the Olympics.
How about Heather Moyse?
It’s not so far fetched.
The 32-year old native of Summerside, P.E.I. teamed with Kaillie Humphries to win Olympic bobsleigh gold in Whistler. As the brakeman for Humphries, Moyse also won four medals, including gold in the World Cup season and set push start records. Then in the summer she traded her helmet for cleats and scored seven tries as a winger for Team Canada at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in England.
Not a bad year’s work.
“I just know that I would always rather be on the ice or field competing than on the sidelines,” Moyse said via email. “I’ve never considered myself to be a driven two-sport athlete. I’ve just been a driven athlete in whatever sports I’m doing at the time.”
Which is why there is an Island argument to be made in this Lou Marsh debate.
In a year marked by so many great performances, there’s so much for Canadian fans of sport to be thankful for.