Canada’s Lou Marsh award candidates include Olympic champions

Sidney Crosby
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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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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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