Cornish Canada's top athlete

Jon Cornish -
Jon Cornish
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Last month New Westminster native Jon Cornish added the ultimate award a Canadian Football League player can achieve to his trophy case. Now he can put beside it the ultimate award a Canadian athlete can receive.

The Calgary Stampeders running back was named winner of the 2013 Lou Marsh Award as Canada's athlete of the year on Monday. He's the first CFL player to win the Marsh since Ottawa Rough Ridgers quarterback Russ Jackson in 1969. Last year's Lou Marsh winner was Burnaby's Christine Sinclair who led the Canadian Olympic women's soccer team to a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The honour follows on the heels of Cornish receiving the CFL's most outstanding player award, something no other Canadian had achieved in 35 years, last month

Cornish, a graduate of St. Thomas More Collegiate in Burnaby and Kansas University, also won the CFL's most outstanding Canadian award for the second consecutive season.

Cornish, 29, led the CFL in rushing this season with 1,813 yards, which is the most a Canadian has ever ran for in a season beating a record he set last year. He also led the league in yards from scrimmage (2,157) and touchdowns (14) as Calgary finished first in the West Division before losing the divisional final to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

He narrowly beat out Milos Raonic, the first Canadian man to achieve a top 10 world ranking in tennis, and bobsledder Kaille Humphries. Other finalists were decathlete Damian Warner, who finished third at the world championships, figure skater Patrick Chan and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.

The award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor and the winner is chosen by a selection of representatives from leading news organizations.

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