Reprinted from
By Bill Doucet

McClintock an obvious choice. Cambridge’s Whitney McClintock cheers during her quadruple gold medal win at the world championships in Calgary. She was named Cambridge Athlete of the Year tonight.
Times file photo
 With such an illustrious list of Tim Turow Award nominees, it's hard to call anything a slam dunk.


Then again, no one had a year like Whitney McClintock. The 20-year-old water-skier won seven gold medals at world championships and six more at the Canadian championships, along with various other honours, to take home the Cambridge Athlete of the Year Award tonight at the annual Cambridge Sports Awards Banquet at the Cambridge Holiday Inn.

It was McClintock's second Tim Turow win, as she also took the crown in 2007.
McClintock was up against some lofty local names – Lindsay Carson (track), Lisa Leskien (ultra-marathon), Jackie Brown (freestyle skiing), Nathan Brannen (track), Ryan Ellis (hockey) and Bryce Davison (figure skating) – but no one dragged home the hardware like the University of Central Florida student.

Things really started for her back in May when she won gold in tricks and bronze in slalom at the U.S. Masters. Then, in August, it was the world championships on home turf. In Calgary, she won slalom, tricks and the overall title, as well as a gold with Team Canada. She also beat the world tournament overall points record and the tied the tournament trick record.

Ten days later, she won gold in trick, jump and overall in both the open and elite division, as well as silver in the open and elite slalom.

Though she was already picked by the awards committee on that merit, McClintock went out last weekend and took first in slalom, tricks and overall, as well as a silver in jump.

It must have been no surprise to win then, right Whitney?

“I guess I’m lucky it’s not an Olympic year,” McClintock said with a laugh.

“I never really expect anything to come to me, except what I create myself. To get an award for something I do, I never would expect it. It’s always an honour and nothing is ever expected in your lifetime, so you just have to appreciate everything that comes your way.”

McClintock said she puts her second athlete of the year award right up there with her other accomplishments this season.

“It’s just so amazing,” she said.

“Winning the worlds is something I’ve been living my life for, even though I was only 19 when I won, but I’d been training my whole life for it. Then, I just won the under-21 worlds in the same events, and now I have this wonderful award to congratulate for the amazing season I had. It’s a wonderful honour.”

And being recognized at home is something that never gets old.

“Hometown is something that no one ever forgets. Even though I don’t live there anymore, that’s where I grew up and where I learned how to water-ski. It’s where people kind of recognize me as a success. Even though I'm known on the world level, it’s really nice for my hometown to see the success and appreciate it.”

Comparisons can be drawn between McClintock’s win in 2007 and this year, as she shook the perennial bridesmaid status two years ago to finally be named top athlete. She was almost untouchable then, too, garnering three gold medals at the junior U.S. Open, getting her first professional win at the Malibu Open, earning gold and silver medals in the Pan American Games, and winning three gold at the senior nationals.

“The only memory I have of 2007 that I see as a reason for winning the award is the Pan Am Games,” she said.

“That’s the only accomplishment that stands firm in my head because it’s one of those things that only happens every couple of years. The other things, like the nationals and pro wins, I can get over them and more on to the next one a lot easier.

“It’s kind of strange the way my brain works I guess. I don’t see as much success as other people see in my water skiing because I’m always looking to the next biggest thing.”
Her one biggest disappointment that year was barely getting through her third world championships.

Four days prior to the event she was practicing and rolled her ankle out of her ski binding. Though she didn’t break the bone, she couldn't put any pressure on her foot when she got out of the water. Her doctor said that the perennial tendon had slipped over her ankle bone.

The next day, she iced her ankle for 12 hours and had intense massage therapy leading up to the championships. She taped up the ankle and made it to the finals in slalom, but reinjured the foot and finished last.

“I guess that actually wasn’t a good year after all,” she joked.

“I was doing so well that year too before the worlds. I believe everything happens for a reason and the big reason was for this amazing experience - at the worlds in Canada, having my country cheering for me and winning the three gold medals at the worlds.”

Now that she’s won almost everything, what can McClintock do for an encore?

“This year has been a great success as far as world tournaments go. I don’t think anyone has ever won seven gold medals in one year in the worlds,” she said.

“But I think there are still other things in the sport that can be accomplished, including world records. Those go down in the record books and everyone remembers them and tries to achieve them. I think world records are my next goal and in the next two years I’ll be training for the next worlds. There’s still one more gold medal I didn’t get at the worlds. Hopefully, I can go for all four.”

The other award winner announced last night was Glen Gaudet for Sports Contributor of the Year. Though the award is given more as a career contribution title, it’s hard for anyone to match the accomplishments of Gaudet this year.

The coach guided the Cambridge Turbos ringette team to an Eastern Conference and National Ringette League championship, as well as a world club championship. His Turbos team lost only three games all year and was named the Team of the Year last night.

In addition, he guided Canada East to a silver medal at the inaugural World Junior Ringette Championship in August in Prague, Czech Republic.

Also at the banquet, the Southwood Sabres girls’ hockey team was honoured as High School Team of the Year and the Cambridge Minor Football Association took home the Sports Organization of the Year award.

Athlete of the Year honourable mentions went to: Riley Cassidy (swimming), Taylor White (speed skating), Samantha Hodgson (ringette), Jason Goetz (track), Maddie Gardiner (gymnastics), Victoria Moors (gymnastics), Cody Adair (martial arts), Isaish Fernandez (martial arts), Matt LeMay (golf), Sami Bailey (beach volleyball), Mallory O’Hara (volleyball), Carmen Douma-Hussar (track), Megan Gilmore (volleyball), Jason McClintock (water skiing), Jellisa Westney (track), Brittney Cline (gymnastics), Amanda Overland (speed skating), Richard Shoebridge (speed skating), Jeff Hunt (baseball), Scott Stajcer (hockey), Kirsten Peterman (bowling/gymnastics), Mikaela Gerber (gymnastics), Ashley Nichols (martial arts), Mitch Fowler (martial arts), Brittany Riley (beach volleyball), Allison Feliciano (volleyball), Joren Zeeman (volleyball), Trevor Sheppard (karate), Amelia Walsh (BMX racing), Chisomo McHaina (track), Jordan Duggan (lifesaving), Avery Sutton (martial arts) and Justin Garant (martial arts).

Honourable mentions, masters category, are: Stuart Summerhayes (race walking), Katherine Willis (track) and Tim Dawkins (swimming).

The 2009-10 inductees into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame were also announced. They are: Cambridge Winter Hawks 1999-2000 team; gymnastics coach Elvira Saadi, builder; volleyball player Jason Mulholland, athlete; decathlete Brian Anderson, athlete; softball’s Bob Cunningham, builder; and baseball and hockey’s Bob Hadfield, builder.

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