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Olympians De Haitre, Homan take top honours at Ottawa Sports Awards

Vincent De Haitre, who was named the Male Athlete of the Year, had an even better excuse – he was on his way to Korea for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.

What the 23-year-old has already accomplished in speed skating is remarkable. Last year, he was named Speed Skating Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year in long track. A silver-medal performance in the 1000m at the ISU World Single Distance Championships was paired with a second-place finish at the World Cup final. De Haitre, already a two-time Olympian, also anchored Canada’s men’s sprint team to a new world record and a gold medal at the world championships.

His mom Lucille and dad Denis were on hand to accept his athlete of the year award.

“We could never have imagined this, even when he was 16, 17,” said Lucille. “When he went to the Olympic trials when he was 19, we didn’t think he would make the Olympics. He said, ‘Mom, I just want to see how close I get to the big boys.’ That day he became one of the big boys. Him and his brother have taken us on an amazing journey, we’re really proud of both of them.”

The older brother, Rene, is graduating from the Navy’s officer program during the Olympics. Denis will return home for the graduation.

“Family comes first,” he said. “As Lucille would say, divide and conquer.”

Young Vincent’s dogged determination to excel took him to an elite level.

Said Denis: “Our neighbour would take him skating when he was six. We had no idea what speed skating was, but that’s where it all started.”

Said Lucille: “He was a very focused kid. Even when he was three and he saw a bike with training wheels, he refused to get on. He’d say, ‘I’m not a baby, I can do it without training wheels.’ So we took the training wheels off. Whatever he did, he always dedicated full attention to it.”

As it turns out, he had some inspiration – Catriona Le May Doan’s gold-medal win in the 500-metre race at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“We had to buy every box of Vector, (Le May Doan was a spokeswoman) we ate Vector for a year,” said Lucille. “When he saw her win in Salt Lake City, wear that cowboy hat and go around the ice with the flag, that was his inspiration.”

Back to the Ottawa Sports Awards, here are the other major award winners:

Kristina groves female athlete of the year:

Curling sensation Rachel Homan skipped her team to an undefeated record at the world championships, including an 8-3 win in the final. Homan, who left for Korea Wednesday, began 2017 with a win at the Scotties, where a memorable double-takeout in extra ends lifted her team to victory. She also became the youngest skip, male or female, to win three Canadian championships.

Female team of the year:

Homan’s team won the right to represent Canada at the Olympics with a hometown win at the Roar of the Rings.

Male team of the year:

The Carleton Ravens won their seventh straight national university championship, making it 13 titles in 15 years. The team was 19-0 in the regular season, scoring an average of 92 points per game while allowing a national-low of 58.6 points against.

Female coach of the year:

Jen Boyd led the U20 national team to a series victory, joined the senior women’s national team as an assistant coach and coached the uOttawa Gee-Gees women’s rugby team to its first national championship.

Male coach of the year:

Women’s basketball coach Taffe Charles led the Carleton Ravens to their most successful season, winning the OUA championship with an 18-1 regular season record, then taking bronze at nationals.

Outstanding contribution to sport in Ottawa:

Bob Wilson is a prominent contributor in the community with his volunteer work. Wilson was awarded the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and the Canada 150 Community Leadership Award in 2017.

Brian Kilrea lifetime achievement coaching award:

Earle Morris coached Rachel Homan’s team to a pair of world championship medals and was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame last year. Morris was an influential figure in the development of Curling Canada’s adult learn-to-curl program and invented The Stabilizer.

Lifetime achievement award for technical official:

George Findley has earned many accolades during his 45 years of umpiring fast pitch. He’s umpired Canadian, North-American and World Championships. He’s also a basketball official.

Lifetime achievement award for sports volunteer:

Cathy Skinner was recognized for her volunteer work with Special Olympics Ontario.

Spirit of sport award:

In his senior year of high school, Dan Stoddard lost his spot on his basketball team in Hammond when his grades dropped. He began working full-time as an OC Transpo bus driver. Last year, the 6-foot-8 father of two teenagers dropped 60 lbs., getting down to 320, and registered for full-time online business administration courses at Algonquin College. He showed up at the basketball tryouts and made the team. He’s averaging more than 12 minutes and 4.8 points per game.

Ottawa sports awards individual winners

  • Athletics: Melissa Bishop
  • Badminton : Sherry Wu
  • Baseball: Angus Adams
  • Basketball: Catherine Traer
  • Basketball: Noah Kirkwood
  • Biathlon: Alexandre Dupuis
  • Bobsleigh: Jeff McKeen
  • Bobsleigh (Skeleton): Mirela Rahneva
  • Bowling (10-Pin): Rosalie Hiscock
  • Bowling (5-Pin): Bernie Menard
  • Boxing: Marija Curran
  • Broomball: Thomas McKeown
  • Canoe, Kayak (Sprint): Madeline Schmidt
  • Canoe, Kayak (Whitewater) Cameron Smedley
  • Cricket: Akber Hussein
  • Curling: Rachel Homan
  • Cycling: Derek Gee
  • Diving: Kate Miller
  • Fencing: Téo Lemay
  • Field Hockey: Joshua Kuempel
  • Figure Skating: Christian Reekie
  • Football: Kurleigh Gittens Jr.
  • Football (Aussie Rules): Nathan Strom
  • Football (Touch): Chayce Elliott
  • Golf: Diane Dolan
  • Gymnastics (Artistic): Samuel Zakutney
  • Gymnastics (Rhythmic): Haley Miller
  • Hockey: Michael McNamee
  • Hockey (Sledge): Tyrone Henry
  • Hockey (Ball): Alicia Bloomberg
  • Judo: Benjamin Kendrick
  • Lacrosse: Connor Primeau
  • Lawn Bowling: Michelle Mackay
  • Modern Pentathlon: Melanie McCann
  • Orienteering: Emily Kemp
  • Parasport: Jason Dunkerley
  • Ringette: Kaitlyn Youldon
  • Rowing: Josh King
  • Rugby: Alexandria Bennett
  • Running (Road Racing): Tommy Des Brisay
  • Running (Cross Country): Joe Fast
  • Sailing: Matt Soosalu
  • Skiing (Alpine): Sierra Smith
  • Skiing (Cross Country): Aidan Kirkham
  • Snowboarding: Nikolas Cadieux
  • Soccer: Kris Twardek
  • Softball: Hayley Bennett
  • Special Olympics: Jack Fan
  • Special Olympics: Katie Xu
  • Speed Skating (Long Track): Vincent De Haître:
  • Speed Skating (Short Track): Ethan McKinley-Young
  • Squash: Iman Shaheen
  • Swimming: Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson
  • Synchronized Swimming: Carlie Cholette
  • Table Tennis: Yu-Hsan (Sabrina) Chen
  • Taekwondo: Éloi Paradis-Deschênes
  • Tennis: Malik Bhatnaghar
  • Trampoline: Aidan Downie-Cheetham
  • Triathlon: Joanna Brown
  • Ultimate: Alec Arsenault
  • Volleyball: Alex St-Denis
  • Water Polo: Jessica Gaudreault
  • Waterskiing: Jonah Schaffer
  • Weightlifting: Catrina Earnshaw
  • Wheelchair Rugby: Patrice Dagenais
  • Wrestling: Adam MacFadyen
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© 2020, Vincent De Haître. Canadian Olympic Dualsport Athlete. Created by: Chabo Communications & Design

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