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Canada’s Lou Marsh award candidates include Olympic champions

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Several Sochi Olympic champions are being considered for the Lou Marsh Trophy, awarded to Canada’s Athlete of the Year.

The award is named after the former Toronto Star sports editor and columnist. The Lou Marsh Trophy will be voted on by Canadian sports journalists on Dec. 10.

On Monday, the newspaper highlighted 14 of the athletes being considered:

Alex Bilodeau, Freestyle Skiing — Sochi Olympic moguls champion
Eugenie Bouchard, Tennis — Wimbledon finalist; Australian Open, French Open semifinalist
Jon Cornish, Football — CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian player; 2013 Lou Marsh winner
Sidney Crosby, Hockey — NHL MVP, leading point scorer; Sochi Olympic champion
Drew Doughty, Hockey — Stanley Cup winner; Sochi Olympic champion
Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Freestyle skiing — Sochi Olympic moguls champion
Kaillie Humphries, Bobsled — Sochi Olympic champion
Mikael Kingsbury, Freestyle Skiing — Sochi Olympic silver medalist
Justin Morneau, Baseball — National League batting champion
Catharine Pendrel, Cycling — World mountain bike champion
Marie-Philip Poulin, Hockey — Sochi Olympic champion, scoring both Canada goals in the final
Milos Raonic, Tennis — Wimbledon semifinalist; ranked No. 8
Marielle Thompson, Freestyle Skiing — Sochi Olympic ski cross champion
Emma-Jayne Wilson, Horse Racing — More than 1,200 wins since 2004

Hockey is Canada’s sport, but Crosby is the only hockey player to win the Lou Marsh Trophy since Mario Lemieux in 1993. Crosby won in 2007 and 2009 (but baseball player Joey Votto won in 2010, the year Crosby scored Canada’s golden goal to win the Vancouver Olympics).

Bouchard and Raonic made Canadian tennis history this season, but neither broke through to win a Grand Slam. And it’s arguable neither has peaked yet.

From 1984 through 2008, every Lou Marsh winner in an Olympic year was an Olympic or Paralympic champion. That helps the cases for several of the listed athletes.

But, arguably the most dominant Canadian at the Sochi Olympics is not on the newspaper’s list of 14.

That’s curler Jennifer Jones, who skipped the first women’s rink to go undefeated through an Olympics, winning all 11 matches en route to the Canadian women’s first gold since 2002.

Jones’ shots for the tournament were graded at an 86 percent success rate, seven percentage points better than the next best skip. The difference between the second-best skip and the ninth-best skip was four percentage points. That gives an indication of Jones’ domination.

A curler has never won the Lou Marsh Trophy.

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Lindsey Vonn and her dog to host Amazing Race-like series

Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn and one of her three dogs, Lucy, will host “The Pack,” an “Amazing Race”-like series where dogs and their humans compete in challenges across continents.

The Amazon Prime show filmed earlier this year and will premiere later in 2020. Production included a team of veterinarians and dog experts to ensure “a positive experience for everyone.”

Twelve teams vie for a prize of $500,000, plus $250,000 for the animal charity of their choice.

Vonn, the 2010 Olympic downhill champion and female record holder with 82 World Cup wins, retired after the February 2019 World Championships, four shy of the overall victories record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

She traveled the last few years of her career with Lucy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she got in Italy in January 2016. Lucy required German, Italian and American passports to accompany Vonn on the ski circuit.

Vonn previously adopted rescue dogs Leo, a brindle boxer to help her through recovery from knee surgery that kept her out of the 2014 Olympics, and Bear.

Vonn’s previous broadcast credits included a 2010 appearance as a secretary on “Law & Order,” two judge spots on “Project Runway” and an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” in 2016.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn’s mom is tough as nails

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London Marathon mass event canceled; Kipchoge, Bekele still to race

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The London Marathon will not hold a mass participation race of 40,000-plus runners, but will have an elites-only event featuring the fastest marathoners in history on a different course.

Organizers announced that the World Marathon Major, previously rescheduled for Oct. 4 from April 26, will be restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elite runners, including world-record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei and Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest man in history, will instead race but not on the usual route around London landmarks.

They will run on an enclosed looped in St. James’s Park in a “secure biosphere” without spectator access. Elite wheelchair racers, including past champions David Weir and Manuela Schar, will also compete.

Before canceling, London Marathon organizers planned to use Bluetooth and wideband ranging to monitor every participant’s distance from each other, though they did not specify if the event would have still included more than 40,000 runners.

If a participant spent more than 15 minutes within a specified distance of anyone else, and if somebody had informed organizers they contracted the virus within two weeks after the race, he or she would have been contacted.

“Despite all our efforts, the fantastic support from all of our partners and the progress that has been made on planning for the return of smaller mass participation events that are not on the roads, it has not been possible to go ahead with a mass socially distanced walk or run,” event director Hugh Brasher said in press release.

Four of the other five annual World Marathon Majors this year were canceled — Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City. The earliest major, Tokyo, was held March 1 with elite runners only.

Kipchoge, the Olympic marathon champion from Kenya, and Bekele, a three-time Olympic track champion from Ethiopia, were previously announced as headliners for London in the winter, before the pandemic.

Kipchoge lowered the world record to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Bekele clocked 2:01:41 in Berlin last September. They are the only men to ever break 2:02 in a marathon. Kipchoge also clocked 1:59:40 at a non-record-eligible event in Vienna on Oct. 12 instead of racing a fall marathon.

Kipchoge has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

Bekele, the more accomplished track athlete with Olympic golds and world records at 5000m and 10,000m, has been a roller-coaster road runner.

Bekele owns two of the seven fastest marathons in history, recorded three years apart in Berlin. In between, he failed to finish two marathons and, in his last London start in 2018, clocked a pedestrian 2:08:53 for sixth place.

That was more than four minutes behind Kipchoge, who is undefeated in four London starts and has beaten by Bekele by at least 100 seconds in all four of their head-to-head marathons.

The Kenyan Kosgei took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record on Oct. 13, clocking 2:14:04 to win the Chicago Marathon.

The 2021 London Marathon will also be held in October to give a better chance of holding a mass race than in April.

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