World Championships silver medallist skier & runner earn Athlete of the Year honours at Ottawa Sports Awards
Ottawa Sports Awards – OTTAWA — Dustin Cook and Melissa Bishop are both speedsters – the first on skis, the second on shoes – and they both celebrated sweet silver medals at World Championships in 2015.
The local world-class athletes were born just six months apart and had their breakthrough successes at the same six-month gap – Cook at February’s FIS World Alpine Ski Championships in Colorado and Bishop at August’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.
And now they’ve got one more thing in common – Cook and Bishop were recognized as the city’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for 2015 at the Jan. 27 Ottawa Sports Awards banquet at Algonquin College.
“It’s pretty cool,” Cook says. “And it’s really neat to actually be here – it’s the first time I’ve been here – and see all the athletes from Ottawa. It’s a small, big town kind of thing. And it’s really nice to be recognized among these athletes. It’s a real honour for sure.”
Cook, who also won super-g gold and bronze medals on the World Cup circuit in 2015, normally would not have been able to attend a banquet in Ottawa at this time of year, however he is currently at home rehabbing his injured knee.
“It was an amazing year. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it still happened,” signals the 26-year-old Mont-Ste-Marie athlete. “Now I just use it as motivation in rehab to come back and come back stronger than ever.”
Early in 2015, Bishop would have been shocked to be receiving awards of any kind come year end. The Ottawa Lions Track-and-Field Club athlete was injured at the time, but came back with personal-best performances.
Bishop won the women’s 800 metres at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games with an unforgettable finish, darting past a podium’s worth of rivals down the home stretch. She then went on to win world silver, setting a new Canadian record of 1:57.52 in the process.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support,” says Bishop, who was unable to attend the banquet since she was training in warmer climates. “If you’re a runner or anybody in sport or chasing after dreams in general, I’d like to say continue on. Enjoy the ride. It’s not going to happen overnight. It took me almost 15 years to get here, so enjoy the ride. The ups and downs will come, but I promise all the hard work is totally worth it.”
Taking home the Male and Female Team of the Year Awards were a pair of very familiar recipients. The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team received their fifth consecutive Male Team honour, while the Rachel Homan Ottawa Curling Club rink won Female Team for the fifth time in the past six years.
Ottawa Lions and Canadian 4×100 m relay team coach Glenroy Gilbert and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby boss Jen Boyd both accepted the third Male and Female Coach of the Year honours of their careers.
Lifetime Achievement honourees included Agnes Laing (Mayor’s Cup), Karen Butcher (Technical Official), Tobie Gorman (Coach) and Sheilagh McCaskill (Volunteer/Administrator). Gordon and Kathleen Stringer accepted the inaugural Spirit of Sport Award.
Also recognized at the banquet by the crowd of over 550 were the city’s top athletes in over 60 individual sports, and over 50 local teams that won at minimum a provincial championship.
University of Ottawa student Irene Patrinos (rugby) and Algonquin College student Alex Bergstrom (orienteering) were the lucky draw winners of $1,000 Howard Darwin Memorial Scholarships, supported by the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club.
Ausome Ottawa, a group that enriches the lives of families living with autism through sport, received this year’s Ottawa Sports Endowment community donation.
Organizers also paid tribute to Gord Esnard, the soon-to-be-retired food and conference services assistant general manager at Algonquin College who has been a driving force in the success of the event for many years.
“We’d like to send a big thank you to everyone involved in bringing the Ottawa Sports Awards to life,” says Ottawa Sports Awards Board of Directors Chair Doug Scorrar. “And a big congratulations to all our award winners. We can say without any doubt that this was another exceptional year for sport in Ottawa.”
The complete list of winners is available at: https://www.ottawasportsawards.ca/node/1767
Chair, Ottawa Sports Awards
Director, Ottawa Sports Awards