Press Release

Canadian Press names Chan top male athlete

Third figure skater recognized with Lionel Conacher Award

Patrick Chan is just the third figure skater to receive the Lionel Conacher Award, joining two-time winner Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko.
Patrick Chan is just the third figure skater to receive the Lionel Conacher Award, joining two-time winner Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko. (Getty Images)

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By Skate Canada
(12/28/2011) - Patrick Chan has been named the Canadian Press (CP) male athlete of the year, winning the Lionel Conacher Award. Named after the late multi-sport star who was an overwhelming winner as CP's outstanding male athlete of the half-century, the award recognizes Chan's dominance in the figure skating domain in 2011.

"The award is voted on annually by sports editors and broadcasters across the country. Patrick joins the likes of Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, Elvis Stojko, Kurt Browning, Guy Lafleur, Bobby Hull, Gordie Howe, Mario Lemieux, Donovan Bailey, Ferguson Jenkins and Rocket Richard in winning the award," said Neil Davidson, general sports editor for Canadian Press. "Unbeaten and in world-record form in 2011, Patrick is a worthy winner of an award we are very proud of."

"This past year, Patrick examined every aspect of his training regimen in his pursuit of excellence in the skating field, including changing his off-ice routine, his fitness and nutrition," said William Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. "To see him recognized with this honor is truly remarkable, as it demonstrates what outstanding athletic ability it takes to dominate in this sport."

Chan went undefeated throughout the 2011 calendar year. In January, he won his fourth straight Canadian title with a stirring performance, in which he unveiled two quadruple jumps in the free program. In April, the 2011 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 the men's short program (93.02), free skate (187.96) and overall score (280.98), the latter of which smashed the previous record of 264.41 set in 2008.

As the 2011-12 season began, Chan won both of his Grand Prix of Figure Skating events, Skate Canada in Mississauga and Trophée Eric Bompard in France. In December, he defended his Grand Prix Final title in Quebec City, where only the top six in the world qualified to participate.

About the Award

Lionel Conacher was an NHL defenseman who won two Stanley Cups. Conacher also and a Grey Cup, excelled at lacrosse, won the Canadian light-heavyweight boxing title and fought an exhibition bout with Jack Dempsey. Known as the "Big Train," he played in the NHL from 1925-37 with Pittsburgh, New York, Montreal and Chicago. He also starred for the Toronto Argonauts. Conacher was also named Canada's top football player for the half-century and received votes in balloting for best boxer and lacrosse player.

Past figure skaters who are winners of the Lionel Conacher Award, given out by The Canadian Press and Broadcast News to the male athlete of the year:

1991 - Kurt Browning
1990 - Kurt Browning
1994 - Elvis Stojko

The Lionel Conacher Award is the fifth honor bestowed at the end of the year on the world champion. In addition, he was named Sportsnet's 2011 Canadian Athlete of the Year, the Toronto Star's Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete for 2011, the QMI news agency's male athlete of the year and CBC Sports' Athlete of the Year.