Chan Should Be The Man For 2011 Lou Marsh Award
Next week at the Star’s offices, some of the country’s top sports writers, sports editors and broadcasters will gather – some via conference call – to select the winner of the prestigious Lou Marsh Award for Canada’s athlete of the year.
And make no doubt about it, the award named after the legendary Toronto Star sports editor is the year-end bauble that Canadian athletes want on their mantlepiece.
The debate is usually vigorous and this year will be no different considering the many qualified candidates – world No. 1 ranked shot putter Dylan Armstrong, speed skating world champion Christine Nesbitt, baseball standouts John Axford and last year’s winner Joey Votto, soccer stars Dwayne De Rosario and Christine Sinclair, double worlds swimming silver medallist Ryan Cochrane, world champion downhiller Erik Guay, world champion cross country skier Devon Kershaw, rider Eric Lamaze and the late Hickstead.
There’s others, too. Every one would be a worthy choice.
But if I had a vote – and I don’t – I would give it to world champion figure skater Patrick Chan.
Considering the quad is a big part of this equation, here’s my four reasons:
1) He dominated his sport more than any other Canadian. As one wag wrote of his world title win in Moscow – okay it was me – “The big Harry Potter devotee made the rest of the field look like muggles in winning by more than 22 points - the figure skating equivalent of four touchdowns.” He set three world records and even got himself in the Guinness Book of World Records.
2) He walked the talk. He went in saying he wanted to dominate his sport a la Roger Federer and Tiger Woods – and he did just that.
3) He not only learned the most difficult jump in his sport, the quad, he became a master at it.
4) He showed immense maturity in coming back from a disappointing Vancouver Olympics – where he thought he already knew it all – and committed himself to the hard work of becoming a real champion.
Hey, the other athletes all have similar great qualities and accomplishments, too, but it’s Chan’s ability to crush the field at his biggest event of his season that should make him the first male figure skater to win the Lou Marsh since friend Kurt Browing managed the feat in 1990.
Rush to the Rescue: Anyone who knows Canadian Olympic bobsleigh bronze medallist Lyndon Rush won’t be surprised to hear he came to the aid of American rival Steven Holcomb earlier this week in France, when he didn’t have a credit card with the proper chip to pay for gas late at night while en route to their next World Cup in La Plagne.
“BIG THANKS to Canada 1, Team Rush for saving our butts in some random town in France when we had no way to get fuel,” wrote Holcomb on his Facebook page.
Rush does have that Dudley Do-Right kind of demeanour. He always helps his fellow man.
New Athlete Council: The 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games announced Wednesday an athlete council that will report directly to the organizing committee.
The council consists of: chair Carla Qualtrough, chair (para-swimming); Nathaniel Miller (water polo); Marie Dannhaeuser (para-swimming); Trevino Betty (athletics); Warren Sawkiw (baseball); Nicole Forrester (high jumper); Erika Schmutz (wheelchair rugby); Alexandra Orlando (rhythmic gymnastics), Jane Thornton (rowing) and John Hastings (kayak).
(Photo of Chan winning in Moscow/Reuters)