Sinclair first soccer player to win top Canadian honor

[AWARDS] Christine Sinclair, who achieved one of the greatest individual feats of 2012 when she scored a hat trick in Canada's 4-3 loss to the USA in their epic Olympic semifinal match, was passed over the FIFA Women's Ballon d'Or but she earned recognition back home. The 29-year-old forward was named the winner of the 2012 Lou Marsh Award, making her the first soccer player to win the most prestigious award handed out to a Canadian athlete.

"I'm just in shock," Sinclair said on a conference call. "I can't believe first of all, the year I've had and the year my teammates had. And then to have this continue on, it's incredible, especially to have a female soccer player in Canada win this award."

Sinclair scored Olympic-record six goals as Canada won the bronze medal at the London Olympics. She finished with 23 goals on the year for Canada and now has 143 career international goals, third all-time and second among active players behind only Abby Wambach (150).

Sinclair, who was suspended four matches by FIFA for comments critical of the refereeing in the USA-Canada games, was passed over for FIFA's women's player of the year in favor of Wambach, Alex Morgan and Marta.

Marta, winner of the FIFA award five years in a row, had an uninspiring year with Brazil, which fell in the quarterfinals of the London Olympics.

The Lou Marsh Award is decided by a panel of national sports editors, reporters and broadcasters.

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