TORONTO – Lori Ewing, a long-time sports journalist with The Canadian Press, was named the first winner of the revived Randy Starkman Award on Wednesday night, as AthletesCAN, the association of Canada’s national team athletes, unveiled the recipients of the 45th Canadian Sport Awards (CSAs).
The Randy Starkman Award was relaunched for this year’s celebration, following a decade-long absence, after its initial creation in 2012 following the sudden passing of its namesake. The award recognizes the extraordinary career and unparalleled contributions of Randy Starkman in telling the stories of Canadian sport over the past 30 years from an athletes’ perspective. It will serve as an ongoing recognition of his legacy and will be a call to action to inspire current and future Canadian sports journalists to strive for the kind of sports journalism that he demonstrated throughout his career.
In addition to Ewing, current bobsleigh athletes Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and Cynthia Appiah were honoured with the AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award and the #AthleteVoice Award for Rep. of the Year, respectively, high diver Molly Carlson took home the True Sport Award, while retired bobsleigh and athletics star Seyi Smith earned the Bruce Kidd Leadership Award. Finally, the podium performances of the Canadian 3×3 basketball teams from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games were crowned with the People’s Choice Award for Most Trending Moment of the Year.
The winners were revealed in a live virtual broadcast on AthletesCAN’s digital channels, capping off a national campaign celebrating this year’s finalists held over the course of December. Each of the winners receive a blown glass sculpture in the shape of the triumphant athlete depicted in the AthletesCAN logo, carefully crafted by Fireweed Glass Studio Ltd.
The Canadian Sport Awards continue to celebrate trailblazers, athlete-centred accomplishments and initiatives – with the ultimate goal to unite, amplify and celebrate the leadership and voices of our members.
For the complete history of CSA award winners, click here.
AthletesCAN Social Responsibility Award
A former CFL running back, Murray-Lawrence spoke out about the racism and Olympic qualification inequities he faced following the team selection for the Beijing 2022 Games. Despite posting better results over a two-year period than his white competitor who had fewer recorded races, Murray-Lawrence was denied a a full-time spot on the team, settling for an alternate position. His calls of maltreatment joined a growing voice of athletes within the sport seeking cultural change and a more athlete-centred approach.
True Sport Award
Carlson finished second overall in her first full season on the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Along the way, she has helped develop a strong program in Canada despite limited training facilities, in hopes of being added to the Olympic program at a future Games. In addition, Carlson has become a role model for people struggling with mental health, by describing how she manages her thoughts during competition on social media to her 3.5 million followers.
#AthleteVoice Award: Rep of the Year
Appiah has played a significant role on behalf of her peers, becoming one of the more vocal athletes demanding change and a new-athlete centred approach within Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, that eventually led to the election of a new President following years of maltreatment in the sport. She currently sits as an athlete representative on the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada’s (SDRCC) Athlete Advisory Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (UCCMS).
Bruce Kidd Leadership Award
Smith was elected to the International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission, aiming to tackle climate change and environmental sustainability, thanks to his background as an electrical engineer and in renewable energy technologies. The former Chair of Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Commission also made the trip to the Beijing Games this year as an athlete mentor.
Randy Starkman Award for Leadership in Sports Journalism
A former nationally-ranked sprinter herself, Ewing has reported for the national wire service since 2001, and has covered nine Olympic Games, most recently at Beijing 2022.
People's Choice Award: Most Trending Moment of the Year
Debuting at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the 3×3 basketball competition saw all four of Canada’s teams medal, with both the women’s able-bodied and wheelchair squads capturing gold, while the men’s wheelchair team earned silver and the men’s able-bodied team taking home bronze.