Penny Oleksiak Wins Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Top Athlete after Nabbing Four Medals at Rio 2016
Swimming sensation Penny Oleksiak received permission from her teacher Tuesday to monitor Twitter on her smartphone during law class.
The Grade 11 student at Monarch Park Collegiate in Toronto knew word was about to break on social media identifying the winner of the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete in 2016.
Sure enough, her name came up on the screen at precisely 1:30 p.m. ET.
“It was pretty exciting when I found out,” the 16-year-old Oleksiak said Tuesday of the latest honour of her young swimming career. “One of my teachers, Mr. McAlpine, is across the hallway. He was like freaking out after class when he found out.”
Originally considered a medal contender for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo, Oleksiak burst out of the blocks at the Summer Olympics in Rio with four medals – individual gold and silver along with two relay bronze.
The Lou Marsh voting panel – consisting of media representatives from across Canada – gave Oleksiak the nod over Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, sprinter Andre De Grasse, tennis player Milos Raonic, Paralympic swimmer Aurelie Rivard, golfer Brooke Henderson and Olympic high jump champion Derek Drouin.
“Going into Rio, I definitely had my doubts about myself,” Oleksiak said. “I didn’t think I would even be able to get into finals. I think I proved to myself that by training pretty hard last year I was able to exceed expectations.”
In spite of being back at school, Oleksiak won four more medals last week at the world short-course championships in Windsor, Ont.