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Feb. 02, 2017
OTTAWA — Paula Preston was in the midst of receiving only the second ever Spirit of Sport award at the 2016 Ottawa Sports Awards on Wednesday night when a special someone emerged to surprise Preston on stage at the gala.
Olympic Gold Medallist Erica Wiebe flew in from Calgary to surprise her mother at the longest recurring municipal amateur sport recognition event in Canada. Wiebe gave a speech thanking her mother and presented the emotional Preston with her award.
“As an athlete so often I get recognized but there’s a reason why I am as good as I am. She drove me to practice no matter where it was or what time it was at and always supported me. I remember going to my first nationals and nobody from my Ottawa club came but me and her flew out there and she made sure I had a coach in my corner and made sure I got to weigh-ins on time and that was kind of the beginning of it all for me,” Wiebe said about her mother.
As for Wiebe, she took the stage two more times during the evening to collect her own hardware. The Stittsville wrestler was recognized as best in her sport as well as Ottawa’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Erica brought Ottawa its first Gold from a Summer Olympics since Glenroy Gilbert (the 2016 Male Coach of the Year).
“She’s a great girl,” said Erica’s counterpart, the Male Athlete of the Year, Vincent De Haitre. “I’m glad that she is receiving the award. Her performance at the Olympics was nothing short of amazing and I’m glad to see that another Ontario or Ottawa-based athlete is performing. It makes me proud to see.”
De Haitre was unable to attend Wednesday’s ceremony. The speed skater/cyclist combined stellar years in both sports to take the top spot amongst male athletes in Ottawa for the second time in his career.
The 22-year-old from Cumberland affirmed himself as one of the best speed skaters in the world in 2016. He won his first career individual gold medal in December and finished the year as the #2-ranked athlete in the men’s 1,000m. Switching lanes, De Haitre also won the men’s 1,000m time trial at the Canadian Track Cycling Championships this past fall.
The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team received their sixth consecutive Male Team of the Year Award, while the Cyclery-Opus Women’s Cycling Team received the Female Team of the Year Award for the first time ever.
Canadian 4x100m relay team coach Glenroy Gilbert and University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby boss Jen Boyd both accepted the fourth Male and Female Coach of the Year honours of their careers, in repeat performances.
Other Lifetime Achievement honourees included Sue Holloway (Mayor’s Cup), Lois LaQuerre (Technical Official), Don Moxley (Coach) and Cathy O’Doherty (Volunteer).
Also recognized at the banquet by the crowd of more than 600 were the city’s top athletes in over 60 individual sports, and over 45 local teams that won at minimum a provincial championship.
Rohan Chopra (Field Hockey) and Sarah-Lynne Begin (Ringette) were the lucky draw winners of $1,000 Howard Darwin Memorial Scholarships, supported by the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club.
The Ottawa Rowing Club was awarded this year’s Ottawa Sports Endowment community donation to fund its Let’s Row Ottawa program. The program allows high school students to visit the Ottawa Rowing Club for free for a day to expose young people to the sport and promote healthy, active living in youth.
“The Ottawa Sport community has plenty to be proud about after the 64th annual Ottawa Sports Awards,” said Doug Scorrar, chair of the Ottawa Sports Awards. “We had a sell out crowd at the Algonquin banquet facility to celebrate a record number of award recipients. It was wonderful to see the Mayor and many Councillors take time in their busy schedules to participate in the presentations to Ottawa athletes, teams and major award winners. Erica Wiebe’s surprize attendance to be part of the presentation of the Spirit of Sport to her mother was another indication of the importance of sport to our community.”
The complete list of winners is available at: https://www.ottawasportsawards.ca/award-winners/year/2016/
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Chair, Ottawa Sports Awards
Ottawa Sports Awards