Canadian media is getting a break this year when it comes to voting for the Lou Marsh trophy, awarded annually to Canada’s best athlete. Given the array of skill, talent and accomplishments, deciding on the worthy candidate has always been a difficult task.
But not this year. It’s a breeze, thanks to tennis star Bianca Andreescu.
The Torontonian made a huge splash in 2019, moving into the top five ranked players in the world and making worldwide headlines by defeating Serena Williams, one of the sport’s all time greats, in the final of the U.S. Open.
Overall, it has been a great year for Canadian women in sport and 2020, a Summer Olympics year, promises to be equally spectacular. Our country boasts one of the best and most popular female golfers, Brooke Henderson, and the Hockey Hall of Fame inductions were recently highlighted by Shaunavon, Sask.’s Hayley Wickenheiser, the no-argument world’s best of all time at her sport.
The Canadian sportswriters and broadcasters certainly can’t be accused of sexism when it comes to voting for the Lou Marsh. While there could be some legitimate arguments that coverage of men’s sports far outweighs that of women across the land, Lou Marsh winners have been, genderly speaking, 50-50. Swimmer Penny Oleksiak won in 2016 after making a big splash in the pool at the Rio Olympics. Bobsledder Kaillie Humphries was the winner in 2014 and soccer star Christine Sinclair was voted No. 1 in 2012. Speedskaters Cindy Klassen and Catriona LeMay Doan have also been recent winners.
The vote in support of Andreescu, ranked 178th in the world at the start of the year and No. 4 at the end, should be unanimous. She was born in Mississauga but learned the basics of her sport in Romania, when her parents moved back to their native land for a few years. By the age of 11, and now back in Canada, she got involved in the Tennis Canada development program.
Signs of a 2019 breakthrough were shown in January when Andreescu beat a number of higher seeded players to make the final of the ASB Open in Auckland, which she lost. She then won a WTA event in Newport Beach, Calif., in January, moving to No. 68 in the world. In March, Andreescu stunned the tennis world by winning the Indian Wells tournament at Palm Springs, generally regarded as just a notch below the Grand Slam events in status. Then she won the Canadian Open in July, beating Williams in the final after the veteran American suffered an injury. But there was no injury-related asterisk in early September when the Canadian once again beat Williams in the final of the U.S. Open, taking the title in straight sets and making it look almost as easy as the voting will be for this year’s Lou Marsh trophy.
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