This was one of the most competitive fields for the Lou Marsh Award in Canada in recent years and it became even moreso given such atypical circumstances that the sporting world had to deal with.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary athletes to be recognized and that was the case. In the end it was Super Bowl-winning right guard Duvernay-Tardif alongside Bayern Munich leftback Alphonso Davies that ended up gracefully sharing this honor.
The award generated controversy because of the changes that were made as well as the criteria that was used for a distinction that is based on on-field merits. In this case, there was truly no comparison. Davies was considered one of the best players in his position in the world. He was an integral part of Bayern’s treble-winning season and find themselves on pace to become only the second sextuple-winning side in European football history.
Should they win the Club World Cup in Feburary, they would join the 2008-09 Barcelona side to reach such a rarified status.
Although it is early in the Bundesliga season, Bayern are still contenders to win the league and DFB Pokal. Also on Monday, the defending European champs also found out that they will be facing Italian side Lazio in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
Davies is also the face of Canadian men’s national team as he was the first member of the rouge et blanc to win the Champions League and the second Canadian (Owen Hargreaves was born in Calgary and won it in 2001 with Bayern Munich and 2008 with Manchester United, but represented England) to do so.
Duvernay-Tardif only played in three games in 2020, the last one being the Super Bowl in Miami back in February. Since then, he is a frontline worker in Canada fighting against the coronavirus.
It was this and him going on hiatus in his athletic career to continue helping back home in Montreal during the coronavirus pandemic that has at almost 73 million cases worldwide.
Duvernay-Tardif was also honored in the United States as one of five athletes that Sports Illustrated declared as Sportsperson of the Year. He won this distinction alongside his teammates Patrick Mahomes, Breanna Stewart, Naomi Osaka and Lebron James.
In addition to the co-winners, Canadian olympians were part of the final cut. Canadian women’s national team members Christine Sinclair and Kadeisha Buchanan were in the top five. Sinclair became the all-time leading goalscorer in women’s international football this year while Buchanan won the women’s Champions League with Olympique Lyon this past season.
Also Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets was recognized with this nomination as he helped lead his team to the Western Conference finals in Orlando.
This was the first time since 1983 that there was a tie for this award. That year Wayne Gretzky was the best player in the NHL and also finally helped topple the New York Islanders and being an era of dominance for the Edmonton Oilers. He won this distinction alongside Rick Hansen who became prominent in the paralympic movement and was also a torch bearer in the 1988 and 2010 Winter Olympics that were held in Calgary and Vancouver respectively.