TORONTO - Women's soccer sensation Christine Sinclair was named the winner of the 2012 Lou Marsh Award on Monday.

The 29-year-old Sinclair led Canada to bronze at the London Olympics in spectacular fashion, scoring an Olympic-record six goals to win the Golden Boot. She recorded a hat trick in a 4-3 extra-time semifinal loss to the United States.

The Burnaby, B.C., native had 23 goals and six assists on the year for Canada.

"I'm just in shock," Sinclair said on a conference call. "I can't believe first of all, the year I've had and the year my teammates had. And then to have this continue on, it's incredible, especially to have a female soccer player in Canada win this award."

The honour — decided by a panel of national sports editors, reporters and broadcasters — is given annually to Canada's outstanding athlete by the Toronto Star.

Other finalists for the Marsh award were speedskater Christine Nesbitt, trampolinist and Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan, figure skater Patrick Chan, cyclist Ryder Hesjedal and Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish.

Sinclair was Canada's flag-bearer at the closing ceremonies in London. According to the Canadian Soccer Association, Sinclair contributed to 65.9 per cent of her team's scoring in 2012.

She said head coach Jon Herdman deserves plenty of credit.

"I know he brought back the passion and the love of the sport within me," she said. "He had me believing that absolutely anything was possible as an individual soccer player and he's the first coach in a long time that has had the veteran players on the team learning new things.

"It hasn't happened in a long time and I think he deserves the credit for the way that I performed this year and the way the team performed."

Sinclair's 143 career international goals rank third all-time and second among active players behind American Abby Wambach (148).

Sinclair was suspended four matches by FIFA, the sport's governing body, for comments she made after Canada's semifinal loss to the U.S.

She was recently snubbed for FIFA's women's player of the year award. Wambach, American Alex Morgan and Brazil's Marta were on the shortlist after a vote by national team coaches, captains and reporters.

Sinclair has been on the shortlist six times in her career, but she has had an outstanding 2012 making this year her best shot at the Ballon d'Or.

Chan took the Lou Marsh honour last year.

The award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.

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  • Strong Defence

    US forward Alex Morgan (L) and Canada's defender Lauren Sesselman compete during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between the US and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Heads Up

    RCanada's defender Carmelina Moscato and US forward Abby Wambach compete during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between the US and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Sinclair Scores

    Canada's forward Christine Sinclair (R) celebrates scoring during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between USA and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • An Aggressive Match

    United States's forward Lauren Cheney (c) is tackled by Canada's forward Christine Sinclair (2nd R) during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between USA and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Canada's Schmidt Stumbles

    US midfielder Megan Rapinoe (L) and Canada's midfielder Sophie Schmidt compete during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between the US and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Down They Go

    United States's forward Lauren Cheney (L) is tackled by Canada's midfielder Desiree Scott (R) during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between USA and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Sinclair's Second Goal

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06: Christine Sinclair of Canada reels away after scoring during the Women's Football Semi Final match between Canada and USA, on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Old Trafford on August 6, 2012 in Manchester, England.

  • The Equalizer

    The United States' Abby Wambach, second left, celebrates after scoring a penalty against Canada as teammate Carli Lloyd, far right, looks on during their semifinal women's soccer match at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

  • Kaylyn Kyle Steps Up

    Canada's midfielder Kaylyn Kyle enters as a substitute during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between the US and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS

  • A Fevered Pitch

    Canada's forward Jonelle Filigno (L) and United States's defender Rachel Buehler compete during the London 2012 Olympic women's football semi final match between USA and Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on August 6, 2012.

  • Heartbreaker

    United States' Megan Rapinoe, right, celebrates with teammate Alex Morgan after scoring against Canada during their semIfinal women's soccer match at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Monday, Aug. 6, 2012 at Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester, England. Morgan would later go on to score the game winning goal against Canada, ending the match 4-3.