Damian Warner, Olympic hero, named Canada's top athlete with Lou Marsh Trophy
Damian Warner, a gold medallist in the decathlon at the Tokyo Olympics, has won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Athlete of the Year.
Warner, 32, became just the fourth athlete to reach the 9,000-point mark in the Olympic decathlon, a series of 10 track-and-field events designed to test an athlete’s overall ability.
“I’m extremely grateful to get this award,” Warner told CTV News London. “Working this past summer was really, really hard, [so I’m] just really, really happy to share this award with all those people that helped me.”
On his way to winning the competition, Warner set Olympic decathlon records in the long jump and the 110-metre hurdles. His total score set a new Canadian record in the event.
The London, Ont. native is the first Canadian to win a gold medal in the Olympic event.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words at this point,” Warner said. “To win Olympic gold and to be able to be the flag bearer, the Walk of Fame, this award, it’s like things just keep coming and it’s an incredible honour and I’m just really happy that people can finally start to see the beauty of the decathlon.”
Sprinter Andre de Grasse, Toronto Blue Jays player Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid, swimmer Maggie Mac Neil and soccer players Alphonso Davies and Stephanie Labbe were among those on the short list for the award.
The voting panel consists of sports media members from across the country. Results were not immediately available.
The award is named after former Toronto Star sports columnist and editor Lou Marsh, but the name has recently come under fire for some of the racist comments the journalist made during his career.
Bob Hepburn, director of communications for the Torstar Corporation, told CTVNews.ca that an independent review process on the award’s name began in November and includes combing through Marsh’s body of work.
It may result in a name change for the trophy.
“We want to do what is fair for Lou Marsh and what is in the best interest of sports in Canada,” Hepburn said in a phone interview from Toronto.
“We don’t have an exact timetable, because we don’t know how long it’s going to take this study to be conducted, but our hope is we can receive those findings at some point in the first half of next year, the earlier the better.”
With files from The Canadian Press