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Sinclair named Canadian athlete of the year

Christine Sinclair
Christine Sinclair

Christine Sinclair is Canada's 2012 athlete of the year. (Photo Copyright: Patti Giobetti | http://www.printroom.com/pro/psgiobetti)

Christine Sinclair has been voted the winner of the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy, which has honored Canada’s top athlete of the year since 1936. The 29-year old Burnaby, B.C. native scored 23 goals for Canada in 2012 and helped them win the bronze medal at the Olympic Games. Sinclair is the first female from a team sport to win the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy.

“I’m just in shock,” Sinclair said. “I can’t believe first of all the year I’ve had, and the year my teammates had.”

Sinclair’s highlight and lowlight happened on the same day. In the Olympic semifinal against the United States, Sinclair put Canada ahead three different times in one of the great individual performances ever in women’s soccer. The U.S. though, equalized each time, the third one following a pair of controversial calls by the referee. An emotional Sinclair suggested afterwards that the referee had decided beforehand the United States should win. She was suspended four games and fined.

The suspension did not come down until after the Games and Sinclair was on the pitch for Canada’s 1-0 victory over France in the bronze medal match. She did not score that goal but did total six for the tournament to take home the Golden Ball. Her 143 international goals sits third all-time for women behind Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.

International goals might be harder to come by over the next two years. Sinclair is expected to be among the players funded by the Canadian Soccer Association to play in the new professional league scheduled to launch in April (nope, it still doesn’t have a name.) She played three seasons in WPS, winning championships in 2010 with FC Gold Pride and 2011 with Western New York Flash. She was named MVP of the 2011 final.

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