Korn: Votto wasn't my choice
By ALISON KORN, QMI Agency
|While it's impressive that Joey Votto is the 2010 National League MVP, didn't something happen in Vancouver/Whistler last February? (AFP/Getty Images/Andy Lyons)
TORONTO - Sorry, but I am one Olympian who doesn't care that much about pro baseball player Joey Votto.
Apologies to Votto and fans. I'm sure he's a great guy, and I know I'll be flamed for my heresy. The Cincinnati Reds first baseman is the 2010 Lou Marsh award winner for best Canadian athlete of the year, announced Tuesday.
While I'll agree it's impressive that Votto is the 2010 National League MVP and all, didn't something happen in Vancouver/Whistler last February?
Um, yes. Canada hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and won the most gold medals of any nation. That's why awarding the Lou to a pro athlete -- in this year, of all years--is a slap in the face to amateurs.
What's particularly galling about this year's decision is that the Lou Marsh award has a history of going to an outstanding Olympian in an Olympic year. There was wrestler Daniel Igali in 2000, speed skater Catriona Le May Doan in 2002, kayaker Adam van Koeverden in 2004, speed-skater Cindy Klassen in 2006 and wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc in 2008.
So what happened this time around? Too many Olympic gold medalists, that's what.
"I think that Joey Votto probably made it easy for the voters to NOT have to choose one from all of the incredible Olympians from 2010," suggested Russell Reimer of Agenda Sport Marketing, which represents many Olympians. "Probably a case of an amateur sport vote spilt."
He is right, and this is wrong.
I'm feeling a little anti these athlete awards, at the moment. There are so many worthy champions, that to compare athletes and try to rank them inevitably becomes ridiculous. Consider depth of field, one popular argument. Baseball is more played in more countries than women's bobsleigh. Does that make Votto more worthy than women's Olympic bobsleigh champions Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse?
No, it does not. They're all the best in the world at what they do.
Humphries and Moyse crushed the field and produced repeated, perfect, spine-chilling runs in Whistler. They did everything at the Olympics they could possibly do, but are somehow judged inferior to Votto.
Same could be said for all the other Olympic gold medalists in Vancouver, and it's a long list: speed skaters Christine Nesbitt, Denny Morrison, Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, Francois Hamelin, Jean Olivier, Francois-Louis Tremblay and Charles Hamelin (who won two gold medals in 30 minutes). Skeleton athlete Jon Montgomery, snowboarder Maelle Ricker, mogul skier Alexandre Bilodeau, ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, ski cross athlete Ashleigh McIvor, snowboarder Jasey Jay Anderson, curlers Kevin Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy, Ben Hebert and Adam Enright, as well as the men's and women's hockey teams.
When you add in the silver and bronze medalists at the Vancouver Olympics, there are no less than 87 Canadian athletes walking around toting medals from those Games.
How about the name Brian McKeever -- ring any bells? The legally blind cross country skier was the first person in the world to qualify for both the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year. McKeever, guided by his brother Robin, won three gold in at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics in March. Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft won five!
And if anyone brings up depth of field in the same phrase as the Paralympics, I'm going to barf.
True, there are fewer athletes worldwide competing in these events, but at the same time, somebody has to win. Whoever does is beyond exceptional -- just like Joey Votto.
As Reimer noted, "The Olympics touched us in a way that Joey Votto couldn't."
That should have counted for something.