Ali Van Yzendoorn has been selected as Orillia's Athlete of the Year for 2017.
"I was surprised and didn't know I was nominated until I read about it in OrilliaMatters ," said the Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate, who is the 58th winner of the prestigious award. "I am very humbled by the award and thankful ... it means the world to me."
At the 2017 Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Italy, she helped Team Canada finish fifth in the team pursuit. She won a bronze and silver medal at the 2017 Canadian National Track Championships and was selected to represent Ontario at the 2017 Canadian Road National Championship.
While those performances were exceptional, Michael Suraci, the high-performance manager of the Ontario Cycling Association, said Van Yzendoorn is more than just a great athlete. “(She) is a role model athlete,” he wrote in a letter supporting the cyclist’s nomination as Orillia’s athlete of the year. “She leads by example, giving 100 per cent effort at every training session and always striving to improve.”
On top of that, the 19-year-old brings a positive approach to training and competing. “It is rare that Ali isn’t wearing a big smile on her face and creating a positive presence at every training session,” said Suraci. “She has been one of the most grateful athletes that has come through our programs, always taking time to thank coaches and other who have supported her development.”
The athlete of the year was chosen by a nine-member panel of local judges. Other nominees were Ben Barzo, Kyle Heitzner, Dipinekumar Patel, Jack Marwick and Mike Montgomery.
For more on this, please check back with OrilliaMatters tomorrow morning.