The end-of-season award season is beginning, and Canadian soccer hero Christine Sinclair has won her first award.
CBC Sports has just announced that Sinclair has won its online balloting for Canada’s athlete of the year, beating out figure skating champ Patrick Chan, Giro d’Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal, world champion bobsledder Kaillie Humphries, gold-medal trampoline athlete Rosie MacLennan and world champion skating pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
More than 136,500 votes were cast by Canadians at CBCSports.ca.
There were many Twitter campaigns aimed at getting the soccer community’s vote mobilized. And while many within the soccer community will say the Sinclair choice should have been an obvious one, there was one major distinction between Canada’s greatest soccer player and the rest of the field. All of the other candidates had won a championship or multiple titles in 2012. Sinclair led a team to a third-place finish at the Olympics.
But Sinclair led the Olympic tournament in scoring, with six. In 2012, she upped her career national-team goal tally to, gasp, 143. And, maybe most importantly, she scored three and then was outspoken after Canada’s controversial 4-3 loss to the Americans in the Olympic semis.
Now, nothing gets Canadians quite as angry as a controversy in a game that involves our neighbours and rivals to the south. And that definitely played in Sinclair’s favour. While her complaints hurt her in the FIFA community, within Canada it gives her a noble-martyr feel.
But, chances are that this will be the first of many stories we’ll be publishing about Sinclair winning year-end awards.