48th Athlete of the Year Award Winners

AOY logo 2014

The winners of the 48th annual Athletes of the Year Award were recognized in a ceremony held March 5, 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, organized by and hosted by Sport BC on behalf of BC’s sports community. The winning athletes are presented here in detail.

See the President’s Award winners here

Best of BC Award Winner

The recipient of the prestigious annual Best of BC award is the individual thought to have best represented BC, nationally or internationally, in either a professional or amateur sport. Presented by BC Ministry of Community, Sport & Cultural Development.

Jon Cornish

(New Westminster, BC) – football

Jon CornishJon was born in New Westminster and played his high school football at Saint Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby. He played college football at the University of Kansas where he set the KU single season rushing record with 1,457 yards and was selected First Team All Big XII in his senior year. During his collegiate career, Jon was also selected Team Offensive MVP in both his junior and senior year. He was drafted 13th overall in the 2006 CFL draft.

Professionally, after taking over starting duties from Calgary’s all-time leading rusher Joffrey Reynolds midway through 2011, Jon rushed for 611 yards in the final seven games of the season, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. In the Stampeders only 2011 playoff game versus the Edmonton Eskimos, he ran for 128 yards and a touchdown while averaging 9.2 yards per carry. Those eight games were enough to garner him the 2011 Calgary Booster Club Male Athlete of the Year award and a CFL West all-star.

In his first full year as a starter, Jon led the CFL in rushing with 1,457 rushing yards on the ground. He also broke Normie Kwong’s 56-year-old single-season rushing record for Canadians. This led to Jon being selected the 2012 Most Outstanding Canadian as well as being the runner up for the Most Outstanding Player award.

The running back bettered this in 2013, rushing for 1,813 yards to lead the CFL and win both the Most Outstanding Canadian award. Jon was also named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and is the first Canadian to win the award in 35 years in the American-dominated league.

In December 2013, Jon was awarded the 72nd Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete, amateur or professional, male or female, for 2013, narrowly defeating tennis player Milos Raonic and bobsledder Kaillie Humphries. He is the first CFL player to win the Lou Marsh since 1969 when Russ Jackson won.

Athlete With a Disability

This award recognizes an athlete with a Presented by: disability who has demonstrated extraordinary athletic performance in regional, national or international competitions in a team or individual sport. Presented by Safeway.

Michelle Stilwell

(Parksville, BC) – Wheelchair Athletics

Michelle StilwellMichelle is the number one ranked BC, Canadian, and International T52 racer in 100m, 200m, 800m and 10K. In 2013, she also broke her own world records in both the 200m and 800m events at the International Paralympic Committee World Athletics Championships. She is the only female Paralympic athlete to have ever won gold in two summer sport events: gold in wheelchair basketball and two gold medals in the women’s T52 200m and 100m. Michelle was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as a BC Liberal candidate for Parksville-Qualicum in the 2013 provincial election.

* 2004 and 2006 BC Winter Games Alumnae

Female High School Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes a female athlete who was enrolled in a secondary school in the province of British Columbia and who competed in a sport, team or individual, representing her school in the 2012-2013 academic year. Presented by Viasport British Columbia.

Asianna Covington

(Surrey, BC) – Athletics – Track & Field

Asianna CovingtonIn 2013, during her final year at Little Flower Academy, Asianna reached her full potential and maintained a strong lead in both the hammer and discus events provincially and nationally. She set the Canadian high school record in discus at the Fraser Valley Invitational and in the 3kg hammer throw. Asianna helped lead Little Flower Academy to the 2013 BC Provincial Championships, was team MVP and earned the Top Female Athlete Award at the BC High School Championships. She was the BC high school champion in discus throw breaking a 42-year record, along with winning the hammer throw, and placing second in shot put. Asianna is currently attending the University of Georgia.

* 2010 BC Summer Games Alumnae

Male High School Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes a male athlete who was enrolled in a secondary school in the province of British Columbia and who competed in a sport, team or individual, representing his school in the 2012-2013 academic year. Presented by Viasport British Columbia.

Marcus Davis

(Saanichton, BC) – Football

Marcus DavisIn 2013, Marcus led his high school football team, the Mount Douglas Rams, to their third consecutive provincial championship. In the 10 games played, he produced massive numbers with 75 carries for 1,394 yards and 20 touchdowns; 21 receptions for 569 yards and 9 touchdowns; 2 kickoff returns for 9 yards and 1 touchdown; 11 punt returns for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns; and 31 tackles, 4 interceptions and 1 interception for a touchdown. Marcus was named MVP of the 2013 FBU International Games tournament representing Team BC and is the first two-time winner of the MVP award at the BC High School Boys AAA Football Championships.

Female Junior Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a female junior athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia. Presented by Infigo Imaging.

Georgia Ellenwood

(Langley, BC) – Athletics – Track & Field

Georgia EllenwoodGeorgia has improved over 200 points in the heptathlon since 2012 and has the BC High School and BC Junior records. In 2013, Georgia set a new BC high school heptathlon record; winning the event for a fourth straight year. She also picked up another two gold medals in the long jump and 100 metres as well a silver medal in high jump. In addition to her high school achievements, Georgia also won gold in heptathlon and long jump at the 2013 Canadian Junior Championships and brought home a bronze medal in heptathlon from the 2013 Pan American Junior Championships. Georgia is ranked number one in BC and number two in Canada for heptathlon, long jump and high jump. She is currently attending the University of Wisconsin.

* 2010 BC Summer Games Alumnae

Male Junior Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a male junior athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia. Presented by Richmond Sport Hosting.

Kevin Kwon

(Maple Ridge, BC) – Golf

Kevin KwonKevin had an outstanding performance at the 2013 Canadian Junior Boys Championship winning 12-under, historically only a few junior boys in Canada have won two junior national titles in a three-year span (Kevin won in 2011 and 2013). At the 2013 Canada Summer Games, he captured gold for individual by winning 13-under with a final day 6-under, 67.

Kevin took home another gold medal from the Canada Games as a member of the Team BC men’s golf team. He was provincially ranked 1st in BC as the 2013 Titleist Junior Boy’s Order of Merit winner and nationally ranked 1st on the Junior Boys Order of Merit for Canada. Kevin is an outstanding athlete, finishing 4th at the 111th BC Amateur Championship and T13 at the Canadian Men’s Amateur Championship as a junior. Kevin is a member of Team Canada Development Squad.

* 2010 BC Summer Games, 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, and 2013 Canada Summer Games Alumni

College Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes an individual who competed in a sport, team or individual, and who represented a college, university/college, or institution in the province of British Columbia in the 2012-2013 academic year. Presented by SBC Insurance.

RuiLin Huang

(Burnaby, BC) – Badminton

Ruilin HuangRuilin won an unprecedented fifth consecutive National Women’s Singles title at the 2013 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association Badminton Championships. She entered the competition winning five straight PACWest provincial titles, with more than 200 wins in her career, and sweeping her entire competition in straight sets. RuiLin was named Douglas College’s Female Athlete of the Year.

University Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes an athlete, male or female, enrolled in a recognized degree-granting university in the province of British Columbia, and who competed in a recognized Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) sport, team or individual, representing his or her school in the 2012-2013 academic season. Presented by Sport Vancouver.

Shanice Marcelle

(Victoria, BC) – Volleyball

Shanice MarcelleShanice won her fifth CIS National Championship in her five years of competition at the University of British Columbia and was named a CIS National Championship tournament all-star all five years. In 2013, she won the Jim Thompson Trophy at the BLG Awards, given to the top female university athlete in the CIS; the Mary Lyons Award for the CIS Player of the Year in women’s volleyball;
was a CIS first team All-Canadian; the Canada West MVP; and won the Canada West women’s volleyball championships. Shanice was awarded the May Brown trophy, given to the top graduating female athlete at UBC; and was named the flag-bearer for Canada at the opening ceremonies of the World University Games.

* 2004 BC Summer Games and 2009 Canada Summer Games Alumnae

Female Senior Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a female athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia. Presented by CBC Sports.

Stacie Anaka

(Burnaby, BC) – Wrestling

Stacie AnakaStacie is ranked number two in the world in her weight class. In 2013, she was the top Canadian at the Senior World Championships earning a silver medal, and winning gold at the Pan American Games. Stacie is the Senior Canadian National Champion, a bronze medalist at the World University games, and won a gold medal at the German Grand Prix.

* 2005 Canada Summer Games Alumnae

Male Senior Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes extraordinary athletic performance by a male athlete who is competing on a team or in an individual sport in British Columbia. Presented by Teck.

Kelly Olynyk

(Kamloops, BC) – Basketball

Kelly OlynykKelly led the Gonzaga Bulldogs to a number one ranking for the first time in the school’s history. In 2013, he was a first team Academic All-American, consensus first team All-American, West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year and first team All-WCC in 2013. Kelly was chosen 13th overall in the NBA draft and currently plays for the Boston Celtics.

Official of the Year

This award recognizes an official, male or female, who has been responsible for officiating sport events at any level of athletic competition in 2013. Presented by Tim Hortons.

Dale Jackson

(Victoria, BC) – Golf

Dale JacksonDale Jackson had an extraordinary year in 2013; he was invited to officiate at several prestigious professional events, as a result of his outstanding qualifications as a rules official in golf. Dale received honorary invitations to officiate at the 2013 US Open Championship – Merion Golf Course; The Players Championship – TPC Sawgrass; The Open Championship – Muirfield Golf Course in East Lothian, UK; The Masters – Augusta National; RBC Canadian Open – Glen Abbey Golf Course and the CN Canadian Women’s Open at Royal Mayfair Golf Club. In addition to officiating on course, Dale volunteers his time as the Chair of the Rules of Golf Committee, Royal Canadian Golf Association; Advisory Member, Royal & Ancient Rules of Golf Committee and plays an integral role as a Member on the Joint Rules of Golf Committee. Dale Jackson acted as the Tournament Rules Chair for the 2013 Canadian Men`s Amateur Championship, held in Victoria, BC.

Master Athlete of the Year

This award recognizes an athlete Presented by: competing in a Masters division as defined as defined by his or her sport, taking part on a team or individual sport in the province of British Columbia. Presented by All Sport Insurance Marketing Ltd.

Christa Bortignon

(West Vancouver, BC) – Athletics

Christa BortignonIn 2013, Christa broke seven world records in 100m, 200m, 400m, 80m hurdles, 200m hurdles, heptathlon and triple jump, winning eight gold medals at the World Championships and five gold medals at the World Master Games. Christa is ranked 1st in the world in the WMA rankings in all of her seven record events. She was named the World Masters Athletes Female Athlete of the Year. Christa was also named the Canadian Masters Athletics Female Athlete of the Year and BC Athletics Female Track Athlete of the Year.

Female Coach of the Year

This inaugural award recognizes a female coach who has been responsible for coaching an amateur team or individual athletes at any level of athletic competition. Presented by Promotion Plus.

Jen Ross

(Abbotsford, BC) – Rugby

Jen RossJen is the first BC coach to be recognized by Rugby Canada as their Female Coach of the Year. Jen has dedicated her time at the high school (Robert Bateman), Club (Abbotsford RFC), Regional (Fraser Valley) and Provincial (BC U16 Girls) levels and continues to give back to the game in every way possible. In 2013, she coached her club team (the Abbotsford U18 women’s team) to a provincial championship, led
the U18 Fraser Valley squad to a Provincial Regional Championship, and won the National Championship with her U16 BC women’s provincial team.

* 2012 BC Summer Games Alumnae

Male Coach of the Year

This award recognizes a male coach who has been responsible for coaching an amateur team or individual athletes at any level of athletic competition. Presented by Prince George Canada Games 2013.

Graham Thomas

(Vancouver, BC) – Hockey

Graham ThomasIn his first season, Graham coached the University of British Columbia to the school’s first playoff series victory, its first home playoff berth, and its first Canada West Championship, setting team records for most goals scored, fewest goals allowed, most wins, fewest losses, and most points scored by a defenseman. Graham’s team swept powerhouse University of Alberta for the first time and swept the University of Saskatchewan on the road for the first time in school history. He was named CIS and Canada West Coach of the Year. Under Graham’s leadership, the women’s hockey team also won the UBC du Vivier Team of the Year award, beating six other national championship winning teams.

Team of the Year

This award recognizes the team that has consistently demonstrated the highest level of sportsmanship and teamwork throughout the year.

University of British Columbia Men’s Soccer

(Vancouver, BC) – Soccer

Daryl Thompson Award

This award is named in honour of the late Daryl Thompson, former chair of Sport BC. Daryl’s contributions to sport as an athlete, coach and executive officer were exemplary. This prestigious award recognizes an individual who has contributed their time in an extraordinary way to sport over a long period of time or has made a major contribution to amateur sport in British Columbia. Presented by BC Games.

Beverly Boys

(Surrey, BC) – Diving

Beverly BoysBev has an impressive resume as a competitive athlete: she is a 34-time national champion; a three time Olympian (1968, 1972, 1976); she competed in four Commonwealth Games; was twice named Canada’s Athlete of the Year (1969, 1970); and has been inducted into the Aquatic, Ontario and Canadian Halls of Fame. In 2005 Bev was named BC’s Official of the Year and in 2013 Sport Officials of Canada recognized her as the country’s top female official of the year.

Bev led by example as a respected “A Level” international judge, coach and technical development coordinator. She is a member of the Diving Canada Plongeon Officials committee and was elevated to the Chair of the Officials Committee spearheading the development and implementation of new judging rules, to improve the expertise and consistency of Canadian judges.

The year 2013 also marked Bev’s 30th year as a FINA (the international governing body of swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water swimming) “A Level” international judge. She has judged at the highest levels of the sport, including four Olympic Games, five World Championships and six Commonwealth Games. Bev is a club founder and manager and continues to develop the grass roots and future Olympians while at the same time contributing at the highest levels on the international scene.

Harry Jerome Comeback Award

This award is presented to an athlete who competed in a sport, individual or team, in 2013 after having suffered an unusual setback such as illness or injury. The award is named in honour of the late Henry (“Harry”) Jerome, a Canadian Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan- American Games hero. Harry was an active advocate for young people’s participation in sport. Presented by Canadian Direct Insurance.

Sarah Hunter

(South Surrey, BC) – Wheelchair Tennis

Sarah HunterBefore Sarah’s accident in 1997 she was active in many sports, including representing Canada on the women’s field lacrosse team. Despite her injury, which left her an incomplete quadriplegic, Sarah was resilient. After taking a few years to become comfortable with her disability, Sarah’s drive to include sport in her life began to surface again. She made her way to BC Wheelchair Sports and their “Bridging the Gap” and “Have A Go Day” initiatives and after trying several sports instantly connected with tennis. Three months later she was off to Florida to participate in her first competition.

Sarah excelled and her first comeback was completed after qualifying for the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. Sarah maintained her high level of performance throughout the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and into early 2011 but 2011 would prove to be a trying year. In her quest for a third straight Paralympic appearance, an accident with her doubles partner left her with an injured left shoulder and broken left wrist that would stop her short of her London goal. Sarah was forced to miss the remainder of the 2011 and most of the 2012 season, causing her ranking to fall out of the top 15 for the first time in eight years.

After some time away from the game to rehab and with no specific goal to return to play, Sarah’s primary focus was to begin to regain her independence and quality of life. Through this process, Sarah found that she was missing tennis in a new way. She started hitting a ball just for fun but soon missed the competition. Sarah decided to push harder in her rehab with a new goal in mind: to return better than she had left. The process was slow at first but with a new coach and doubles partner, Sarah, at the age of 48, has re-entered the top 5 in Quad singles and reached her highest ever ranking in Quad doubles (number three in the world), completing her comeback.

Kidsport Community Champion Award

The KidSport Community Champion Award is presented to an individual who has made a significant and meaningful contribution to KidSport over the past year. Presented by Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.

Tommy Europe

(Vancouver, BC) – Football / Fitness and Health

Tommy EuropeTommy has been a selfless and generous supporter of KidSport for the past four years. His contributions have included filming public service announcements, the donation of boot camps to KidSport auctions, partial proceeds from boot camps held across the country, speaking appearances and participation at KidSport golf tournaments and corporate events. Tommy always says yes to helping KidSport whenever he is asked and has become their “go to” Team KidSport ambassador.

Tommy had an 11-year CFL career and was a two-time CFL all-star. He won a Grey Cup in 1994 with the BC Lions and in 2010 was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Tommy has become a bestselling author, a television host, a sought after keynote speaker and a celebrated expert in the field of health and wellness. Tommy recently has developed a comprehensive corporate wellness program that is fast becoming the benchmark for Canadian businesses.

Tommy’s passion for fitness and health extends to his love of KidSport and his belief that every child should have the chance
to play. His love of sport is infectious and has become a much anticipated part of the annual Ritchie Bros. Corporate KidSport Challenge. His promotional video for the event is legendary and his active participation in the event has helped to raise over $500,000 for KidSport in the event’s four year lifespan.

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