TORONTO - Patrick Chan ended the year undefeated — culminating with his runaway choice as the 2011 winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy, as Canada’s athlete of the year.
Chan, the 20-year-old figure skater from Toronto, left an impressive list of candidates in the dust, including last year’s winner, Joey Votto, in one of the least contested victories in the history of the award.
The Marsh is determined by a panel of national sports editors, reporters, columnists, and broadcasters from a wide variety of sporting backgrounds. The committee is chaired by former Olympic star Silken Laumann.
Chan won every event he participated in during the calendar year, including the world championship, Skate Canada, the national championship and the recent Grand Prix final in Quebec City.
The other finalists for the award were: Votto of the Cincinnati Reds; shot putter Dylan Armstrong, Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford; speedskater Christine Nesbitt and show jumper Eric Lamaze.
Lamaze, Nesbitt and Armstrong all dominated their sports internationally while Axford had 46 saves for the Brewers and Votto followed up his MVP season with another excellent year with the Reds.
“I am deeply honoured to win this very special and very historic award,” Chan said in a statement. “To be considered in the same category as so many amazing Canadian athletes when it is still this early in my career is very humbling. To be recognized with this award for something I love to do, which is figure skate, means so much.”
The victory by Chan, who was recently in controversy over statements about not being appreciated by Canadians, should quiet the figure skater who was well recognized by the committee here.
His win is the ninth time a figure skater has claimed the Marsh Trophy. Other winners were Barbara Ann Scott (1945, ‘47 and ‘48), pairs skaters Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul (1959), Donald Jackson (1962), Petra Burka (1965), Kurt Browning (1990), and pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (2001).The award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.