5. Joannie Rochette

The story of Joannie Rochette is arguably the most heartwarming of Canadian athletes for the season, which is good enough to land her on this list. At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Rochette’s mother passed away due to a heart attack. Rochette overcame this adversity and decided to compete in the figure skating competition, where she captured a bronze medal.

4. Steve Nash

It seems as though Steve Nash is almost a guarantee to make this list every year. The point guard consistently impresses, and 2010 was no exception. He averaged 17 points per game and over 10 assists per game over the course of the year, was an NBA all-star, led the NBA in assists over the 2009-10 season, and was a member of the 50-40-90 club for the fifth straight year.

3. Georges St-Pierre

GSP is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in all of mixed martial arts, and he demonstrated just why he has gained that title throughout 2010. St-Pierre fought twice last year, both times defending his UFC Welterweight championship with overwhelming victories. His second fight, against Josh Koscheck in Montreal, was named the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 24, and is regarded as one of the best fights of the year. St-Pierre was also named Rogers Sportsnet’s Canadian Athlete of the Year.

2. Joey Votto

Votto’s season is one of the greatest by a Canadian baseball player in the history of the sport. The Etobicoke native helped lead a struggling Cincinnati Reds franchise to their first playoff appearance in fifteen years, while earning prestigious individual accolades along the way. In a season that saw him hit 37 homers, 113 RBI and a batting average above .320, Votto won the National League’s Hank Aaron Award, and became just the third Canadian to be named MVP. Votto’s story is even better when you remember that he missed much of the previous season due to personal issues arising from his father’s death – a true story of overcoming adversity.

1. Sidney Crosby

“The Kid” cemented himself as the poster boy of Canadian hockey this year. Whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard not to be impressed by the year Crosby had. He won the NHL’s Rocket Richard Trophy and Mark Messier Leadership Award for his work on the ice. Earlier this season, Crosby amassed an amazing 25-game point streak, the longest NHL streak in eighteen years. And if that wasn’t enough, Crosby will forever be the Paul Henderson of our generation, when he scored the “Golden Goal” to capture Canada’s hockey team gold at the Vancouver Olympics, and helped Canada set a record for most gold medals by a nation ever at the Winter Games.

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