Now that? That was quite a year. With a couple of months still to go, 2013 has already taken its place in the pantheon of greatest years in Canadian sporting history.
A brief refresher is in order here, because the moments came so fast and furious they all blur together. Ten months into the year, Canadian athletes have taken home tournament titles, Stanley Cups, individual honours and world championships, while bullying their way onto elite rosters of international athletes, leading Canadian teams to shocking underdog triumphs and setting themselves up among the next big things in their respective sports.
Had someone told you that 2013 would mark the first time a Canadian would go No. 1 overall at the NBA draft, you likely would have told them politely that, no, Andrew Wiggins isn’t eligible until 2014. If that same person had told you that Canada’s Davis Cup team would topple Spain — home of some of the world’s best players and its most elite tennis academy — you’d have asked them if they were feeling alright. You might have expected continued excellence from Canada’s outstanding cast of amateur athletes, and surely the triumph of a Canadian-captained NHL team wouldn’t have raised too many eyebrows. But a top-10 driver in IndyCar, and a legitimate phenom charging hard up the world golf rankings and making it impossible to leave him off the President’s Cup team? That might have been cause for a double-take.
So now comes the hard part: Only one of them can be Sportsnet’s Athlete of the Year.