TORONTO - World figure skating champion Patrick Chan is the overwhelming winner of the 2011 Lou Marsh 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.
Chan won the world championships last spring in Moscow, setting three world scoring records in the process.
The 20-year-old from Toronto won the Grand Prix Final last weekend in Quebec City to cap an undefeated season.
"I am deeply honoured to win this very special and very historic award," Chan said in a statement. "To be considered in the same category as so many amazing Canadian athletes when it is still this early in my career is very humbling
"To be recognized with this award for something I love to do, which is figure skate, means so much."
After a fifth-place finish at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Chan added a quadruple jump to his arsenal for 2011. He then reeled off victories at the Canadian championship, unveiling two quad jumps in the free program en route to claiming his fourth national title, the world championships, Skate Canada International, Trophee Eric Bompard, and the Grand Prix Final.
His world title came after the event was delayed for five weeks and relocated to Russia after the earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo. Despite having to adjust his training to peak later than usual, he outscored the field by a stunning 22.57 points.
"He has truly established himself as the dominant make skater in the world, and we are pleased that the selection committee for this award acknowledged that for the remarkable athletic accomplishment that it truly is," said Skate Canada's CEO William Thompson. "We've had many amazing world and Olympic champions from Canada, but he is certainly one of the finest, hardest working athletes I've ever seen in the sport."
Other finalists for the Marsh award were shot putter Dylan Armstrong, baseball's John Axford and Joey Votto, speedskater Christine Nesbitt and Olympic show-jumping gold medallist Eric Lamaze, whose horse, Hickstead, died last month of an aortic rupture.
Votto won last year.
This marks the ninth time a Canadian figure skater has claimed the Lou Marsh Trophy. Other winners were Barbara Ann Scott (1945, '47 and '48), pairs skaters Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul (1959), Donald Jackson (1962), Petra Burka (1965), Kurt Browning (1990), and pairs skaters Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (2001).
The award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.