Penny Oleksiak spent a wonderful summer in Rio.

Penny Oleksiak spent a wonderful summer in Rio.
Photo Credit: cbc.ca

Teenager Penny Oleksiak wins coveted best-athlete trophy

The 16-year-swimmer who stole the hearts of Canadians at last summer’s Rio Olympics is the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year.

Penny Oleksiak, who won four medals–including gold in the 100-metre freestyle–at the Games, edged hockey player Sidney Crosby for the honour.

Andre De Grasse, golfer Brooke Henderson, Paralympic swimmer Aurelie Rivard, tennis player Milos Raonic and high jumper Derek Drouin were the other finalists.

Named for a former sports editor of the Toronto Star, the winner is selected by a panel of journalists from across Canada.

Oleksiak suceeds Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and is the first swimmer to win the award since Mark Tewksbury in 1992.

After serving as the flag-bearer at the Rio closing ceremonies, Oleksiak continues to rake in medals.

This month in Windsor, Ontario, she added four more at the short-course world championships.

“I think I really learned that I’m stronger than I think,” Oleksiak said after learning she won.

“I want to say that just because going into Rio, I definitely had my doubts about myself. I didn’t think I’d be able to even get into the finals.”

Her win comes 50 years after 15-year-old Elaine Tanner won the Lou Marsh for winning four golds and three silvers at the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.

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