Like everything in 2020, the debate around which Canadian would walk away with the Lou Marsh Trophy honoring the country’s athlete of the year was unique.
And in the end, so were his winners.
Alphonso Davies, twenty, the back of the Bayern Munich and Canada’s men’s team, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 29, the Super Bowl champion who skipped the 2020 NFL season to continue working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the co-winners of the annual trophy were announced on Tuesday.
Each received 18 first-place votes from a panel of 37 sports journalists from across the country. Denver Nuggets goalkeeper Jamal Murray, Olympique Lyonnais defender Kadeisha Buchanan and Portland Thorns forward Christine Sinclair completed the top five.
It was only the third tie since 1936 and the first since great hockey player Wayne Gretzky and wheelchair runner and activist Rick Hansen shared the prize in 1983.
As debate raged on social media about the rare draw, the two athletes in question shared mutual respect.
“This year has been a roller coaster and I’m so happy to be able to share the Lou Marsh with another deserving winner,” Davies wrote on Twitter. “It has not been an easy year for many Canadians (and) we hope we have been able to bring you happiness with our accomplishments this year.
Duvernay-Tardif reimbursed the compliment in kind. “Humbled to have won the Lou Marsh Award with one of the greatest athletes Canada has ever produced,” he wrote.
Davies’ case was rooted in his success on the pitch, in a year he gained a reputation as one of the best left-backs in the world. He helped Bayern Munich win five trophies this season and became the first Canadian men’s international to win a UEFA Champions League trophy. There were also individual accolades – he won the Bundesliga rookie award, recorded the fastest time on the pitch, got a nod in the Champions League squad of the season and won Canada Soccer’s Male Player of the Year award for the second time in three years. .
The driving force behind Durvernay-Tardif’s case was his actions off the pitch. In a year unlike any other, athletes fought for their voices and actions, on racial and social justice, politics, mental and physical health and more.
The Montrealer, an offensive lineman with the Kansas City Chiefs, has spent the current NFL season to lend a hand in Canada’s fight against the global coronavirus pandemic. The McGill University medical school graduate deferred a salary of $ 2.75 million (US) to spend the season studying online at Harvard while continuing to work as a care attendant in a care facility long-term experience in Quebec where it has been present regularly since COVID. 19 epidemic.
While outstanding performance and achievement are the primary criteria for selecting a Lou Marsh winner, other factors such as integrity, good character and contributions to the community may also be considered by voters. Duvernay-Tardif certainly fits this bill.
“As athletes, we have the power to make a positive impact in our society,” Duvernay-Tardif tweeted Sunday, after being one of five militant athletes named Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year. “Being recognized for my involvement off the field by one of the biggest sporting awards means everything to me.
It’s not as if Duvernay-Tardif had failed on the grill. Although he’s only played three games for the Chiefs this calendar year in one of the sport’s less glamorous roles – his job is to protect the quarterback – he has joined a short list of Canadians with a Super Bowl ring.
Likewise, Davies’ influence was not limited to the field. The Edmonton product, who was born in a refugee camp in Ghana and moved to Canada at the age of five, has become a supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees this year, using his vast reach on social networks and his public profile. to raise awareness and fundraise, including COVID-19 relief funds
“Canada has welcomed me and my family and I am grateful to have the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional football player and representing Canada on the world stage,” Davies said in a statement after. Tuesday’s vote.
What do you think of the winners?
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