Bobbie Rosenfeld Award

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A woman sprints down a track during a race. She has short hair and is wearing dark shorts and a white shirt with a stylized maple leaf logo over the word "CANADA".
Named Canada's female athlete of the half-century in 1950, Bobbie Rosenfeld was an Olympic track and field champion as well as a top hockey, basketball and tennis player.

The Bobbie Rosenfeld Award is an annual award given to Canada's female athlete of the year. The sports writers of the Canadian Press (CP) first conducted a poll to determine the nation's top female in 1932, naming track star Hilda Strike the winner.[1] The CP formalized the poll into an award in 1978, presenting their winner a plaque. It was named after Bobbie Rosenfeld, an all-around athlete and Olympic track and field champion whom the news organization had named its top athlete of the half-century in 1950.[2] The award is separate from the Lou Marsh Trophy, in which a select panel of sports writers vote for their top overall athlete.

The poll was suspended for four years during the Second World War after the CP decided it could not name a sporting "hero" at a time when Canadian soldiers were fighting in Europe.[3] Figure skater Barbara Ann Scott was the first woman to lead the poll three times, accomplishing the feat in consecutive years between 1946 and 1948.[4] That total was matched by speed skater Catriona Le May Doan in 2002.[5] Golfer Marlene Streit finished top of the poll the most times, winning on five occasions between 1952 and 1963.[6]

The 2020 winner was soccer player Christine Sinclair.


The CP first voted on a athletes of the year in 1932,[1] the same year it inaugurated a poll that became the Lionel Conacher Award for the nation's top male athlete.[7] The poll is separate from the previously existing Velma Springstead Trophy, which also names a female athlete of the year and was first presented by the Women's Amateur Athletic Federation of Canada in 1932.[8][9]

Hilda Strike was selected the first winner on a straight vote of each writer's top choice.[1] By 1935, the poll was conducted using a points system where voters ranked their top three choices. Each writer's top pick received three points, their second two, and their third one.[10] A tie occurred in 1971 as pentathlete Debbie Van Kiekebelt and high jumper Debbie Brill finished with an identical 208 points. Van Kiekebelt had more first place votes, 55 to 38, however the two women were named co-winners of the award.[11] Barbara Ann Scott was the first woman to unanimously win the award, doing so in 1947.[12] Scott nearly duplicated the feat the following year, however the lone dissenting vote was given to a mare, Victory Gift.[4]

No winner was selected for the year 1950, as the CP instead chose Bobbie Rosenfeld as Canada's female athlete of the half-century.[13] Skier Nancy Greene was voted Canada's female athlete of the century in 1999. Greene was herself a two-time winner of the annual poll, and was also an Olympic gold medallist, six-time Canadian champion and twice won the Alpine World Cup.[14] Voters selected their first disabled athlete as the winner in 2008, naming wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc the recipient of the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award after she won five gold medals and set three world records at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.[15] Golfers have won the most awards at 14, followed by Swimmers with 13 awards and skiers (including biathlete Myriam Bédard) with 12. Figure skaters have 10 victories.

List of winners[edit]

A woman with short blonde hair wearing a thick fur coat bearing a maple leaf and Olympic rings. She displays a large smile as she holds up an Olympic medal.
Anne Heggtveit was a two-time winner in the 1960s
A woman smiles as she holds a pair of skis upright. She is wearing a thick red coat with white gloves and black toque.
Nancy Green was a two-time winner and named Canada's athlete of the century
A woman is sitting in a chair and holding a book. She is speaking into a microphone to an unseen audience.
Perdita Felicien won in 2003
A woman with short blonde hair speaks into a microphone to an unseen audience. She is wearing a red and grey coat.
Catriona Le May Doan was a three-time winner
A woman with short black hair smiles as she speaks into a microphone. She is wearing a black blouse and coat.
Chantal Petitclerc was the first disabled athlete to win the award in 2008
A woman in a blue dress smiles as she holds a medal and bouquet of flowers.
Joannie Rochette won the award in 2010
Year Winner Sport Win # Achievement
1932 Hilda Strike Track and field 1 Silver medallist at the 1932 Summer Olympics[1]
1933 Ada Mackenzie Golf 1 Winner of Canadian Women's open and closed championships[16]
1934 Phyllis Dewar Swimming 1 Quadruple gold medallist at 1934 British Empire Games[8]
1935 Aileen Meagher Track and field 1 Considered Canada's top female sprinter[10]
1936 Betty Taylor Track and field 1 Bronze medallist at 1936 Summer Olympics[17]
1937 Robina Higgins Track and field 1 Set Canadian record in the javelin throw[18]
1938 Noel MacDonald Basketball 1 Captained her team to national championship.[19]
1939 Mary Rose Thacker Figure skating 1 Won North American championship[20]
1940 Dorothy Walton Badminton 1 Toronto, Ontario and Canadian champion[21]
1941 Mary Rose Thacker Figure skating 2 Won North American championship for third consecutive year[22]
1942 No award (Second World War)[a]
1943 No award (Second World War)[a]
1944 No award (Second World War)[a]
1945 No award (Second World War)[a]
1946 Barbara Ann Scott Figure skating 1 Canadian and North American champion[23]
1947 Barbara Ann Scott[b] Figure skating 2 European and world champion[12]
1948 Barbara Ann Scott[b] Figure skating 3 Gold medallist at the 1948 Winter Olympics, European and world champion[4]
1949 Irene Strong Swimming 1 Holder of numerous Canadian records[24]
1950 Bobbie Rosenfeld
Athlete of the half-century[c]
Track and field Gold and silver medallist at the 1928 Summer Olympics, set records in numerous athletics events, also played hockey, basketball and tennis[13]
1951 No award[25]
1952 Marlene Streit Golf 1 Winner of Canadian Women's closed championship[26]
1953 Marlene Streit Golf 2 Winner of the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship[27]
1954 Marilyn Bell[b] Swimming 1 First person to swim across Lake Ontario[28]
1955 Marilyn Bell Swimming 2 Youngest person to swim across the English Channel[28]
1956 Marlene Streit[b] Golf 3 Winner of eight tournaments, including U.S. Women's Amateur[29]
1957 Marlene Streit Golf 4 Winner of Canadian closed and Ontario amateur championships[29]
1958 Lucille Wheeler[b] Skiing 1 Winner of downhill and slalom world championships[30]
1959 Anne Heggtveit Skiing 1 Winner of multiple European events[31]
1960 Anne Heggtveit[b] Skiing 2 Gold medallist at the 1960 Winter Olympics[32]
1961 Mary Stewart Swimming 1 Set world record in 110-yard butterfly[33]
1962 Mary Stewart Swimming 2 Gold medallist at 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games[34]
1963 Marlene Streit Golf 5 Winner of three tournaments, including Canadian open and closed championships[6]
1964 Petra Burka Figure skating 1 Canadian champion and bronze medal winner at 1964 Winter Olympics[35]
1965 Petra Burka[b] Figure skating 2 Winner of world championship[36]
1966 Elaine Tanner[b] Swimming 1 Quadruple gold medallist at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games[37]
1967 Nancy Greene[b] Skiing 1 Winner of the 1967 Alpine Skiing World Cup[38]
1968 Nancy Greene[b] Skiing 2 Gold and bronze medallist at 1968 Winter Olympics and winner of the 1968 Alpine Skiing World Cup[39]
1969 Beverly Boys Diving 1 Canadian champion and winner of English diving championship[40]
1970 Beverly Boys Diving 2 Double gold medallist at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games[41]
1971 Debbie Van Kiekebelt[d] Pentathlon 1 Gold medallist at 1971 Pan American Games[11]
1971 Debbie Brill[d] High jump 1 Gold medallist at 1971 Pan American Games[11]
1972 Jocelyne Bourassa Golf 1 Top-20 finish in the LPGA Tour standings[42]
1973 Karen Magnussen Figure skating 1 Winner of world championship[43]
1974 Wendy Cook Swimming 1 Triple gold medallist at the 1974 British Commonwealth Games[44]
1975 Nancy Garapick Swimming 1 Set world record in the 200 metre backstroke[45]
1976 Kathy Kreiner Skiing 1 Gold medallist at the 1976 Winter Olympics[46]
1977 Cindy Nicholas Swimming 1 First woman and fastest person to complete a double crossing of the English Channel[47]
1978 Diane Jones-Konihowski Pentathlon 1 Gold medallist at the 1978 Commonwealth Games[2]
1979 Sandra Post[b] Golf 1 Second on the LPGA Tour, earned more prize money in a single year than any previous Canadian golfer[48]
1980 Sandra Post Golf 2 Earned over US$100,000 on LPGA Tour[49]
1981 Tracey Wainman Figure skating 1 Winner of the St. Ivel International[50]
1982 Gerry Sorensen Skiing 1 Winner of the downhill world championship[51]
1983 Carling Bassett Tennis 1 Winner of one tournament and finalist in two others as first year professional[52]
1984 Sylvie Bernier Diving 1 Gold medallist at the 1984 Summer Olympics[53]
1985 Carling Bassett Tennis 2 Ranked 17th in the world by the Women's Tennis Association[54]
1986 Laurie Graham Skiing 1 Seven top-three finishes and third overall in downhill[55]
1987 Carolyn Waldo Synchronized swimming 1 Double gold medallist at World Aquatic Championships[56]
1988 Carolyn Waldo[b] Synchronized swimming 2 Double gold medallist at the 1988 Summer Olympics[57]
1989 Helen Kelesi Tennis 1 Ranked 13th in the world by the Women's Tennis Association[58]
1990 Helen Kelesi Tennis 2 First woman to win four consecutive national senior championships[59]
1991 Silken Laumann[b] Rowing 1 World champion in single skulls and World Cup winner[60]
1992 Silken Laumann Rowing 2 Won bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics, less than three months after serious accident that doctors predicted would end her career[25][61]
1993 Kate Pace Skiing 1 Winner of the downhill world championship[62]
1994 Myriam Bédard[b] Biathlon 1 Double gold medallist at 1994 Winter Olympics[63]
1995 Susan Auch Speed skating 1 Won silver and bronze medals at world championships, second overall in World Cup[64]
1996 Alison Sydor Cycling 1 Silver medallist at 1996 Summer Olympics, world champion and World Cup winner[65]
1997 Lorie Kane Golf 1 Earned Canadian record of US$426,000 on LPGA Tour[66]
1998 Catriona Le May Doan Speed skating 1 Gold and bronze medallist at 1998 Winter Olympics, leader in the World Cup at both 500 and 1000 metres[67]
1999 Nancy Greene
Athlete of the century[c]
Skiing Olympic gold medallist, two-time Alpine World Cup champion, six-time Canadian champion[14]
2000 Lorie Kane Golf 2 Winner of three LPGA Tour events[68]
2001 Catriona Le May Doan Speed skating 2 Canadian and world champion, set world record at 500 metres[69]
2002 Catriona Le May Doan[b] Speed skating 3 Gold medallist at 2002 Winter Olympics, world champion, overall champion and set Olympic record at 500 metres[5]
2003 Perdita Felicien Track and field 1 World champion in the 100 metres hurdles[70]
2004 Lori-Ann Muenzer Cycling 1 Gold medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics[71]
2005 Cindy Klassen Speed skating 1 Set four world records en route to winning eight medals on World Cup circuit[72]
2006 Cindy Klassen[b] Speed skating 2 Won five medals (one gold, two silver, two bronze – Canadian record) at the 2006 Winter Olympics[73]
2007 Hayley Wickenheiser Ice hockey 1 Captained Team Canada to world championship and named most valuable player of tournament[74]
2008 Chantal Petitclerc[b] Wheelchair racing 1 Won five gold medals and set three world records at 2008 Summer Paralympics[15]
2009 Aleksandra Wozniak Tennis 1 First Canadian in ten years to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam event[75]
2010 Joannie Rochette Figure skating 1 Won bronze medal at 2010 Winter Olympics days after her mother died of a heart attack[76]
2011 Jennifer Heil Freestyle skiing 1 Finished her career by winning two gold medals in women's moguls at the Freestyle Skiing World Championships[77]
2012 Christine Sinclair[b] Soccer 1 Won bronze in soccer with Team Canada at the 2012 Olympics[78]
2013 Eugenie Bouchard Tennis 1 Climbed to number 32 in the WTA rankings, was named Newcomer of the Year[79]
2014 Eugenie Bouchard Tennis 2 Reached number 5 in the WTA rankings, was named Most Improved Player, reached Wimbledon Finals.[80]
2015 Brooke Henderson Golf 1 First Canadian to win on the LPGA Tour in more than a decade.[81]
2016 Penny Oleksiak[b] Swimming 1 Won four medals (including one gold) at the 2016 Summer Olympics in swimming[82]
2017 Brooke Henderson Golf 2 Won two LPGA Tour events, finishing 6th on the money list.[83]
2018 Brooke Henderson Golf 3 Won two LPGA Tour events, first Canadian winner of the Canadian Women's Open title in 45 years, 4th on the money list[84]
2019 Bianca Andreescu[b] Tennis 1 Became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title by capturing the US Open women's singles championship[85]
2020 Christine Sinclair Soccer 2 Became the all-time leading goal scorer in international play[86]


a According to the Canadian Press, the award was discontinued between 1942 and 1945 because "sports writers decided athletes cannot rate as heroes while young Canadian pilots, paratroopers and corvette gunners fought for freedom in the shadow of death".[3]

b Denotes athlete also won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canadian athlete of the year[87]

c No winner was announced for the years 1950 or 1999 as the Canadian Press instead voted for athlete of the half-century and century, respectively.[88]

d Joint winners named in 1971


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Further reading[edit]