Canada’s Athletes of the Year: Penny Oleksiak & Andre De Grasse

Posted on January 9, 2017 - After a summer filled with record breaking wins and more medals than Canada is used to at the Rio Olympic Games, Penny Oleksiak and Andre De Grasse have become household names across the country. This past week the Canadian Press honoured both Oleksiak and De Grasse by naming them Canada’s Female and Male Athlete of the Year.

As the Canadian Press Male Athlete of the Year, Andre De Grasse is the recipient of the Lionel Conacher Award. De Grasse gained fame this summer after winning three medals at the summer Olympic games in Rio. De Grasse won bronze in the 100 metre race, bronze in the 4×100 metre relay and silver in the men’s 200 metre race, beating previous Canadian records. However, it was De Grasse’s winning smile and bromance with Usain Bolt that really captivated Canadians. He won the Lionel Conacher Award ahead of fellow nominees Sidney Crosby, Conor McDavid and Milos Raonic.

The Rio Olympics were the first Olympic games for the 22 year old who kept the famously fast Usain Bolt on his toes. The young star from Markham, Ontario may be able to beat Bolt as fans and experts expect him to be even better by the next Olympic games.

Penny Oleksiak received the Canadian Press Bobbie Rosenfeld Female Athlete of the Year Award. Just like De Grasse, Rio was the first Olympic Games for Oleksiak, another young Canadian athlete who is likely to do even better at her next games. Oleksiak took home four medals from Rio including two bronzes in freestyle relays (4×100 and 4×200), a silver in the 100 metre butterfly and gold in the 100 metre freestyle. At only 16 years old, Oleksiak is already breaking records; she is the first Canadian swimmer to take home four Olympic medals and the first Canadian athlete to win four medals at a single summer Olympic games.

The Toronto high schooler finished off her amazing year by competing in the world short-course championships in Windsor, Ontario where she took home medals in every colour. Oleksiak was also chosen to be the flag bearer for Team Canada at the closing ceremonies of the Rio Olympic Games.

Both De Grasse and Oleksiak were also recipients of other top honours. De Grasse was named Air Canada’s Athlete of the Year thanks to fans voting him into the number one spot. Oleksiak won the Toronto Star’s Lou Marsh Trophy Athlete of the Year Award chosen by a panel of Canadian sports journalists.

Congratulations to Andre De Grasse and Penny Oleksiak!

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