Toronto area athletes - including an Olympic gold medal-winner who makes Toronto her training base, a pair of world champion volleyballers and another world champion in the flying disc sport of ultimate -- could win big at Thursday's Ontario Sport Awards ceremony at Ontario Place.
Heather Moyse, who shared Olympic bobsleigh gold with Kaillie Humphries, the volleyball team of Sam Schachter and Garrett May, and ultimate player Cameron Harris of Aurora, have all been nominated for a 2010 Ontario Sport Award. The awards are the province's highest recognition of the contributions of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and corporate sponsors to amateur sport in Ontario.
Moyse is nominated for Female Athlete of the Year. Besides winning the gold with Humphries, s e also competed in three World Cup races in 2010, placing on the podium twice. Despite a painful ankle break, she recovered to be part of Team Canada at the women's rugby World Cup in England, where the team placed sixth. Also nominated among Ontario women are Olympic wrestler Ohenewa Akuffo, who won Commonwealth gold and world silver in 2010 and Olympic bronze-medal hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep, who won five of six World Cup races and the Diamond League title last season.
Volleyball players Schachter and May are nominated for team of the year. They won gold at the 2010 Under-21 FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) World Championship - Canada's first medal in the tournament's history. Although they are junior athletes, they went on to place fifth at the senior Volleyball Canada national championships in August and were named Junior Athletes of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Sport Awards.
Male athlete of the year nominees are: Harris, who won gold at the Under-23 world championships in Italy as a member of Canada's Open Ultimate Team. As captain of the University of Guelph's Ultimate team, Cam led them to their first ever national title in the Open Division; Cody Sorensen of Ottawa, the brakeman on the Serge Depres sled that won the 2010 North American title; and Nyl Yakura of Pickering, Ont., who is the top ranked badminton player under 19 in Ontario, and is ranked in the top 4 in senior rankings. He won gold this year at the Junior Pan Am Championships.
Martha Sandoval Gustafson, a wheelchair athletics athlete, is nominated for Female Athlete With a Disability of the Year. She set Canadian records in both the shot put and discus events at the Ontario Para-Athletics Championships. She earned a nomination to Team Canada for the 2011 International Paralympic Committee World Championships.
Figure skating's Ann Shaw of Toronto, a former international judge and referee, will be recognized with the Rolf Lund/Jule Nisse Award for lifetime commitment to sport. Also, Greg Dailey and Duncan Vignale of Toronto, Eric Martin of Etobicoke, and Sylvia Jaksetic of Scarborough will be recognized with special achievement awards.