Press Release

Chan named Canada's top athlete, feels humbled

Lou Marsh Trophy granted for excellence in rink, off ice

Patrick Chan swept gold at Skate Canada, Trophee Bompard and the Grand Prix Final in 2011.
Patrick Chan swept gold at Skate Canada, Trophee Bompard and the Grand Prix Final in 2011. (Getty Images)

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By Skate Canada
(12/13/2011) - A panel of distinguished sports journalists Tuesday named Patrick Chan, 20, Toronto, Ontario, Canada's top athlete for 2011. The Lou Marsh Trophy, named in honor of the former Toronto Star sports editor, has been presented annually since 1936 to Canada's top male or female athlete, professional or amateur.

"I am deeply honored to win this very special and very historic award." Chan said when informed of the announcement. "To be considered in the same category as so many amazing Canadian athletes when it is still this early in my career is very humbling. I'd really like to thank the members of the media on the selection committee. To be recognized with this award for something I love to do, which is figure skate, means so much."

Chan went undefeated throughout the calendar year 2011. In January, he won his fourth straight Canadian title with a scintillating performance where he unveiled two quadruple jumps in the free program. In April, the International Skating Union's (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships were delayed by five weeks as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and moved to Moscow, Russia. Despite having to adjust his training to peak later than usual, he outscored the rest of the field by a stunning 22.57 points. His scores established three new world records for men's short program (93.02), free skate (187.96) and overall score (280.98) which smashed the previous record set in 2008 of 264.41.

As the 2011-2012 season began this fall, Chan won both of his ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating events, Skate Canada International and Trophée Eric Bompard in France. This past weekend, he defended his ISU Grand Prix Final title in Quebec City, where only the top six in the world qualify to participate.

"He has truly established himself as the dominant male skater in the world, and we are pleased that the selection committee for this award acknowledged that for the remarkable athletic accomplishment that it truly is. We've had many amazing world and Olympic champions from Canada, but he is certainly one of the finest, hardest-working athletes I've ever seen in the sport," Skate Canada CEO William Thompson said, who was pleased to see Chan's achievements recognized by the award.

"His ability to put aside all of the distractions, and to focus on skating his heart out at every competition, was certainly evident this past weekend in Quebec City, as he defended his Grand Prix title."

Thompson is even prouder of the way Chan handles distractions that might throw him off his athletic preparations. "Patrick's athletic prowess has proven that he is a deserving world champion on the ice, but the way he handles himself off the ice demonstrates that he is a champion there as well."

"While preparing for this competition in Quebec City, which is second in importance only to the world championships, Patrick had to deal with a huge distraction caused by an irresponsible media report. And despite spending nearly three hours on the first practice day addressing the media's questions, answering truthfully and honestly, he was able to set that distraction aside and go on to win the competition by over 11 points. That truly reflects the measure of this young man, who is a very deserving recipient of the Lou Marsh Trophy."

The Lou Marsh Trophy has been won eight times by other figure skating icons in Canada:

1945 - Barbara Ann Scott
1947 - Barbara Ann Scott
1948 - Barbara Ann Scott
1959 - Barbara Wagner/Bob Paul (pairs)
1962 - Donald Jackson
1965 - Petra Burka
1990 - Kurt Browning
2001 - Jamie Salé/David Pelletier (pairs)