Bobbie Rosenfeld Award

The Bobbie Rosenfeld Award is an annual award given to Canada's female athlete of the year. The sports writers of the Canadian Press (CP) first conducted a poll to determine the nation's top female in 1933, naming golfer Ada Mackenzie the winner.[1] The CP formalized the poll into an award in 1978, presenting their winner a plaque. It was named after Bobbie Rosenfeld, an all-around athlete and Olympic track and field champion whom the news organization had named its top athlete of the half-century in 1950.[2] The award is separate from the Lou Marsh Trophy, in which a select panel of sports writers vote for their top overall athlete.

The poll was suspended for four years during the Second World War after the CP decided it could not name a sporting "hero" at a time when Canadian soldiers were fighting in Europe.[3] Figure skater Barbara Ann Scott was the first woman to lead the poll three times, accomplishing the feat in consecutive years between 1946 and 1948.[4] That total was matched by speed skater Catriona Le May Doan in 2002.[5] Golfer Marlene Streit finished top of the poll the most times, winning on five occasions between 1952 and 1963.[6]

Golfer Brooke Henderson, who also won in 2015, is the most recent winner. Henderson won two LPGA tournaments in 2017 and finished 6th on the money list.

Voting

The CP first voted on a female athlete of the year in 1933,[1] one year after it inaugurated a poll that became the Lionel Conacher Award for the nation's top male athlete.[7] The poll is separate from the previously existing Velma Springstead Trophy, which also names a female athlete of the year and was first presented by the Women's Amateur Athletic Federation of Canada in 1932.[8][9]

Ada Mackenzie was selected the first winner on a straight vote of each writer's top choice.[1] By 1935, the poll was conducted using a points system where voters ranked their top three choices. Each writer's top pick received three points, their second two, and their third one.[10] A tie occurred in 1971 as pentathlete Debbie Van Kiekebelt and high jumper Debbie Brill finished with an identical 208 points. Van Kiekebelt had more first place votes, 55 to 38, however the two women were named co-winners of the award.[11] Barbara Ann Scott was the first woman to unanimously win the award, doing so in 1947.[12] Scott nearly duplicated the feat the following year, however the lone dissenting vote was given to a mare, Victory Gift.[4]

No winner was selected for the year 1950, as the CP instead chose Bobbie Rosenfeld as Canada's female athlete of the half-century.[13] Skier Nancy Greene was voted Canada's female athlete of the century in 1999. Greene was herself a two-time winner of the annual poll, and was also an Olympic gold medalist, six-time Canadian champion and twice won the Alpine World Cup.[14] Voters selected their first disabled athlete as the winner in 2008, naming wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc the recipient of the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award after she won five gold medals and set three world records at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.[15] Swimmers have won the most awards at 12, followed by golfers and skiers (including biathlete Myriam Bédard) with 11 each, and figure skaters with 10 victories.

List of winners

Year Winner Sport Win # Achievement
1933Ada MackenzieGolf1Winner of Canadian Women's open and closed championships[1]
1934Phyllis DewarSwimming1Quadruple gold medalist at 1934 British Empire Games[8]
1935Aileen MeagherTrack and field1Considered Canada's top female sprinter[10]
1936Betty TaylorTrack and field1Bronze medalist at 1936 Summer Olympics[16]
1937Robina HigginsTrack and field1Set Canadian record in the javelin throw[17]
1938Noel MacDonaldBasketball1Captained her team to national championship.[18]
1939Mary Rose ThackerFigure skating1Won North American championship[19]
1940Dorothy WaltonBadminton1Toronto, Ontario and Canadian champion[20]
1941Mary Rose ThackerFigure skating2Won North American championship for third consecutive year[21]
1942No award (Second World War)[a]
1943No award (Second World War)[a]
1944No award (Second World War)[a]
1945No award (Second World War)[a]
1946Barbara Ann ScottFigure skating1Canadian and North American champion[22]
1947Barbara Ann Scott[b]Figure skating2European and world champion[12]
1948Barbara Ann Scott[b]Figure skating3Gold medalist at the 1948 Winter Olympics, European and world champion[4]
1949Irene StrongSwimming1Holder of numerous Canadian records[23]
1950Bobbie Rosenfeld
Athlete of the half-century[c]
Track and fieldGold and silver medalist at the 1928 Summer Olympics, set records in numerous athletics events, also played hockey, basketball and tennis[13]
1951No award[24]
1952Marlene StreitGolf1Winner of Canadian Women's closed championship[25]
1953Marlene StreitGolf2Winner of the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship[26]
1954Marilyn Bell[b]Swimming1First person to swim across Lake Ontario[27]
1955Marilyn BellSwimming2Youngest person to swim across the English Channel[27]
1956Marlene Streit[b]Golf3Winner of eight tournaments, including U.S. Women's Amateur[28]
1957Marlene StreitGolf4Winner of Canadian closed and Ontario amateur championships[28]
1958Lucille Wheeler[b]Skiing1Winner of downhill and slalom world championships[29]
1959Anne HeggtveitSkiing1Winner of multiple European events[30]
1960Anne Heggtveit[b]Skiing2Gold medalist at the 1960 Winter Olympics[31]
1961Mary StewartSwimming1Set world record in 110-yard butterfly[32]
1962Mary StewartSwimming2Gold medalist at 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games[33]
1963Marlene StreitGolf5Winner of three tournaments, including Canadian open and closed championships[6]
1964Petra BurkaFigure skating1Canadian champion and bronze medal winner at 1964 Winter Olympics[34]
1965Petra Burka[b]Figure skating2Winner of world championship[35]
1966Elaine Tanner[b]Swimming1Quadruple gold medalist at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games[36]
1967Nancy Greene[b]Skiing1Winner of the 1967 Alpine Skiing World Cup[37]
1968Nancy Greene[b]Skiing2Gold and bronze medalist at 1968 Winter Olympics and winner of the 1968 Alpine Skiing World Cup[38]
1969Beverly BoysDiving1Canadian champion and winner of English diving championship[39]
1970Beverly BoysDiving2Double gold medalist at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games[40]
1971Debbie Van Kiekebelt[d]Pentathlon1Gold medalist at 1971 Pan American Games[11]
1971Debbie Brill[d]High jump1Gold medalist at 1971 Pan American Games[11]
1972Jocelyne BourassaGolf1Top-20 finish in the LPGA Tour standings[41]
1973Karen MagnussenFigure skating1Winner of world championship[42]
1974Wendy CookSwimming1Triple gold medalist at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games[43]
1975Nancy GarapickSwimming1Set world record in the 200 metre backstroke[44]
1976Kathy KreinerSkiing1Gold medalist at the 1976 Winter Olympics[45]
1977Cindy NicholasSwimming1First woman and fastest person to complete a double crossing of the English Channel[46]
1978Diane Jones-KonihowskiPentathlon1Gold medalist at the 1978 Commonwealth Games[2]
1979Sandra Post[b]Golf1Second on the LPGA Tour, earned more prize money in a single year than any previous Canadian golfer[47]
1980Sandra PostGolf2Earned over US$100,000 on LPGA Tour[48]
1981Tracey WainmanFigure skating1Winner of the St. Ivel International[49]
1982Gerry SorensenSkiing1Winner of the downhill world championship[50]
1983Carling BassettTennis1Winner of one tournament and finalist in two others as first year professional[51]
1984Sylvie BernierDiving1Gold medalist at the 1984 Summer Olympics[52]
1985Carling BassettTennis2Ranked 17th in the world by the Women's Tennis Association[53]
1986Laurie GrahamSkiing1Seven top-three finishes and third overall in downhill[54]
1987Carolyn WaldoSynchronized swimming1Double gold medalist at World Aquatic Championships[55]
1988Carolyn Waldo[b]Synchronized swimming2Double gold medalist at the 1988 Summer Olympics[56]
1989Helen KelesiTennis1Ranked 13th in the world by the Women's Tennis Association[57]
1990Helen KelesiTennis2First woman to win four consecutive national senior championships[58]
1991Silken Laumann[b]Rowing1World champion in single skulls and World Cup winner[59]
1992Silken LaumannRowing2Won bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics, less than three months after serious accident that doctors predicted would end her career[24][60]
1993Kate PaceSkiing1Winner of the downhill world championship[61]
1994Myriam Bédard[b]Biathlon1Double gold medalist at 1994 Winter Olympics[62]
1995Susan AuchSpeed skating1Won silver and bronze medals at world championships, second overall in World Cup[63]
1996Alison SydorCycling1Silver medalist at 1996 Summer Olympics, world champion and World Cup winner[64]
1997Lorie KaneGolf1Earned Canadian record of US$426,000 on LPGA Tour[65]
1998Catriona Le May DoanSpeed skating1Gold and bronze medalist at 1998 Winter Olympics, leader in the World Cup at both 500 and 1000 metres[66]
1999Nancy Greene
Athlete of the century[c]
SkiingOlympic gold medalist, two-time Alpine World Cup champion, six-time Canadian champion[14]
2000Lorie KaneGolf2Winner of three LPGA Tour events[67]
2001Catriona Le May DoanSpeed skating2Canadian and world champion, set world record at 500 metres[68]
2002Catriona Le May Doan[b]Speed skating3Gold medalist at 2002 Winter Olympics, world champion, overall champion and set Olympic record at 500 metres[5]
2003Perdita FelicienTrack and field1World champion in the 100 metres hurdles[69]
2004Lori-Ann MuenzerCycling1Gold medalist at the 2004 Summer Olympics[70]
2005Cindy KlassenSpeed skating1Set four world records en route to winning eight medals on World Cup circuit[71]
2006Cindy Klassen[b]Speed skating2Won five medals (one gold, two silver, two bronze – Canadian record) at the 2006 Winter Olympics[72]
2007Hayley WickenheiserIce hockey1Captained Team Canada to world championship and named most valuable player of tournament[73]
2008Chantal Petitclerc[b]Wheelchair racing1Won five gold medals and set three world records at 2008 Summer Paralympics[15]
2009Aleksandra WozniakTennis1First Canadian in ten years to reach the fourth round of a grand slam event[74]
2010Joannie RochetteFigure skating1Won bronze medal at 2010 Winter Olympics days after her mother died of a heart attack[75]
2011Jennifer HeilFreestyle skiing1Finished her career by winning two gold medals in women's moguls at the Freestyle Skiing World Championships[76]
2012Christine Sinclair[b]Soccer1Won bronze in soccer with Team Canada at the 2012 Olympics[77]
2013Eugenie BouchardTennis1Climbed to number 32 in the WTA rankings, was named Newcomer of the Year[78]
2014Eugenie BouchardTennis2Reached number 5 in the WTA rankings, was named Most Improved Player, reached Wimbledon Finals.[79]
2015Brooke HendersonGolf1First Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour in more than a decade.[80]
2016Penny Oleksiak[b]Swimming1Won four medals (including one gold) at the 2016 Summer Olympics in swimming[81]
2017Brooke HendersonGolf2Won two LPGA Tour events, finishing 6th on the money list.[82]

Notes

a According to the Canadian Press, the award was discontinued between 1942 and 1945 because "sports writers decided athletes cannot rate as heroes while young Canadian pilots, paratroopers and corvette gunners fought for freedom in the shadow of death".[3]

b Denotes athlete also won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year[83]

c No winner was announced for the years 1950 or 1999 as the Canadian Press instead voted for athlete of the half-century and century, respectively.[84]

d Joint winners named in 1971

References

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Further reading

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