December 13, 2016 / 8:15 PM / in 10 months

Rio darling Oleksiak named Canada's athlete of the year

TORONTO (Reuters) - Olympic swimming sensation Penny Oleksiak won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete of the year on Tuesday, capping off a remarkable year in which the 16-year-old won four medals at the Rio Games.

Sep 9, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Canadian Olympian athlete Penny Oleksiak throws out the first pitch prior to a game between the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Oleksiak, the youngest and 74th recipient of the award, burst onto the scene in Rio where she became the first Canadian to win four medals at a Summer Games, including gold in the marquee 100 metres freestyle.

She also took a silver in the 100m butterfly and bronze from two relays.

Oleksiak beat out a strong field for the prestigious award that included hockey player Sidney Crosby, sprinter Andre De Grasse and golf’s Brooke Henderson.

The Lou Marsh Trophy, named after a former Toronto Star sports editor, is voted on by a panel of Canadian journalists.

Past winners include Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, Masters champion Mike Weir, Formula 1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, NBA most valuable player Steve Nash and drug-tainted sprinter Ben Johnson.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue

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