Canadian Sport Awards set to honour achievements, impact of national athletes

The outstanding achievements, impact and leadership of Canada’s national team athletes will be honoured at the upcoming Canadian Sport Awards.

Featuring a star-studded list of nominees, the 44th edition will present five awards highlighting the accomplishments and wide-reaching contributions of Canadian athletes — including one you can vote on.

AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, will announce the winners on Wednesday in a virtual broadcast.

The finalists for the first three awards have already been revealed, while the final two lists of nominees are set to be unveiled on Monday and Tuesday.

People’s Choice Award: Most Viral Moment of the Year

Decided by the fans, this award shines a spotlight on current or retired national athletes who either took the virtual world by storm with an unforgettable moment or made positive contributions through a digital platform.

There are 10 nominated moments, with nine coming from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics or Paralympics. Click here to cast your vote and learn about each nominee.

WATCH | CBC Sports catches up with Damian Warner: 

Catching up with Olympic champion Damian Warner

The decathlete and Lou Marsh Trophy winner opens up about how Olympic gold feels now the dust has settled and how he plans to improve for world championships and Paris 2024. 3:51

True Sport Award

This award recognizes an inspirational Canadian who exemplifies the highest values of sport, including sportsmanship, perseverance and inclusion.

Paralympic cyclist Kate O’Brien is nominated along with soccer star Alphonso Davies, tennis phenom Leylah Fernandez and Olympic race walker Evan Dunfee.

Kate O’Brien

O’Brien successfully completed her long and challenging journey to the Paralympic podium after overcoming a life-altering crash in 2017 that left her with a serious brain injury and other significant physical issues.

The 33-year-old Calgary native won silver in Tokyo in the C4-5 500-metre time trial after doctors initially told her she may never walk again.

WATCH | O’Brien cycles to silver medal: 

Calgary’s Kate O’Brien races to silver at Tokyo Paralympics

Canadian track cyclist Kate O’Brien secures silver in the women’s C4-5 500m time trial final at the Izu Velodrome. 1:54

Alphonso Davies

Davies helped guide the men’s national soccer team to the final stage of CONCACAF qualification for the first time since 1997, moving them closer to securing a berth in the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Earlier this year, the 21-year-old Edmontonian became the first Canadian and soccer player to be named a global goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Leylah Fernandez

Fernandez had a remarkable year that saw her compete at her first Olympics and finish as runner-up at the U.S. Open. She defeated three top-five opponents en route to the final — including defending champion Naomi Osaka.

The 19-year-old sensation of Filipina-Ecuadorian descent inspired a new generation of Canadians with her remarkable run, especially in immigrant communities across the country.

Evan Dunfee

Dunfee captured Olympic bronze in the 50-kilometre race walk event in Tokyo with an amazing surge in the final moments, finishing with a time of 3 hours 50 minutes and 59 seconds in the longest athletics event.

The Richmond, B.C., native demonstrated sportsmanship by not protesting his controversial fourth-place finish at the previous Games in Rio, where he was bumped off stride by the eventual bronze winner.

Along with delivering Canada’s first Olympic race walking medal in 29 years, the 31-year-old also set the national record in the 10,000-metre race walk this year.

WATCH | Dunfee wins Olympic bronze in Tokyo with late surge: 

Canada’s Evan Dunfee captures Olympic bronze with last-minute surge in 50km race walk

Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., surged into podium position on the final stretch to win bronze in the men’s 50-kilometre race walk. Poland’s Dawid Tomala claimed gold and Germany’s Jonathan Hilbert took silver. 3:05

AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award

This award celebrates current or retired Canadian national team members who have used their platform as a high profile athlete to make a positive impact in either their sport or community at the local, national or international level.

The award recognizes contributions in the areas of diversity, inclusion, community, equity, volunteer and/or social change initiatives.

Sprint star Andre De Grasse headlines a list of nominees that also includes fellow Olympians Mandy Bujold (boxing), Stephanie Labbé (soccer) and Kim Gaucher (basketball).

Andre De Grasse

De Grasse launched the ‘RACE WITH ME!’ virtual challenge in May, inspiring kids across Canada to get active in an effort to combat the negative mental and physical impacts of pandemic restrictions.

The eight-week event, which was named after the motivational picture book he released this past summer, encouraged kids to race a 400-metre distance before uploading their times online for a chance to win prizes. 

The six-time Olympic medallist from Markham, Ont., also gave tips and words of encouragement to the participants.

WATCH | De Grasse’s initiative helps raise $25K for Kids Help Phone: 

Andre De Grasse and ‘Race With Me!’ combine to raise $25,000 for Kids Help Phone

Six-time Olympian Andre De Grasse returned to one of his former high schools, Father Michael McGivney Academy in Markham, Ont., to present a $25,000 cheque to Kids Help Phone alongside Jesse and Rob Briscoe. The father-son duo partnered with the Andre De Grasse foundation and ‘RACE WITH ME!’ to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity for young people during the pandemic. 2:52

Mandy Bujold

The two-time Olympian made history by winning a precedent-setting case against the International Olympic Committee. 

The 34-year-old secured a well-deserved spot at Tokyo 2020 after originally being ruled ineligible as a result of missing time during the qualification period because of pregnancy and postpartum depression.

Because of Bujold’s triumphant battle for gender equity, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the qualification criteria must include an accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualification period.

WATCH | Bujold speaks about victorious legal battle: 

Canadian boxer Bujold says ‘sky is the limit for all women’ after winning legal bout with IOC

Watch boxer Mandy Bujold of Kitchener, Ont., read her statement after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that Olympic qualification criteria must include an accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualification period, paving the way for Bujold to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. 5:40

Stephanie Labbé

The Canadian women’s goalkeeper has broken down barriers for LGBTQ inclusion, and she continues to help create safe spaces for the Pride community while being proudly outspoken about LGBTQ representation in sport.

Labbé’s work that has been backed by the creation of a Sport Inclusion Task Force and a new Sport Inclusion website.

Kim Gaucher

Gaucher successfully challenged Tokyo 2020 organizers to change their COVID-19 protocols and allow Olympians to bring their newborn babies to Tokyo.

The basketball player from Mission, B.C., was still breastfeeding her three-month-old daughter and was faced with the possibility of losing her Olympic dream. The 37-year-old pled her case on social media, and her tenacity led to a ruling that allowed her and others to compete.

WATCH | Gaucher, Bujold win battle to compete at Tokyo Olympics: 

Basketball player Kim Gaucher and boxer Mandy Bujold to compete in Tokyo Olympics

Two female Canadian athletes have won their battles to be allowed to compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Star boxer Mandy Bujold and basketball player Kim Gaucher are both young mothers who had been prevented from going for that reason. 2:04

#AthleteVoice Award: Rep of the Year

Athlete representatives are honoured with this award that singles out significant contributions within their national sport organization, multi-sport organization or international sport organization.

With an emphasis on effecting positive change, the award recognizes outstanding leadership, courage and initiative.

The four nominees will be announced on Monday, Dec. 13.

Bruce Kidd Leadership Award

This award recognizes a retired national team athlete, sport leader or organization’s work to improve the Canadian sport sector as a leader, advocate, change agent or builder.

This award is named after 1968 Canadian Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Bruce Kidd, who made large contributions to Canada’s sport community as an athlete, advocate, author, historian and academic.

The four nominees will be announced on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Live coverage of the CSA ceremony begins Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET on AthletesCAN’s digital channels. Each award will be presented by a previous winner.

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