Sport Yukon recognized the best among the territory’s athletes as well as the hard working coaches and administrators that make organized sports possible with an April 28 awards ceremony.
Awards for 2021 were given to coach of the year, administrator of the year and for the male and female athletes who distinguished themselves internationally.
Jan Mann, a long-time volunteer at many Yukon organizations, received the administrator of the year trophy for her work as treasurer of ElderActive over the past two years.
“This community, like every other community around the Yukon, is made stronger by the contribution of volunteers. I am but one small contributor to these efforts. So I’m extremely humbled to be recognized for volunteer work I’ve enjoyed doing,” Mann said from the podium after accepting her award.
Sport Yukon’s International Female Athlete of the Year award went to Dahria Beatty, who has been a long-time fixture on Canada’s national cross-country ski team. Her 2021 highlights included three top-20 finishes on the international circuit.
Although she is stronger in the sprint events, Beatty placed 15th in a 15 kilometre race at the Engadin World Cup event in Switzerland last year — a career best in a distance race. At World Championships held in Oberstdorf, Germany she placed 12th in the team sprint and her 4X5 kilometre relay team placed ninth.
International male athlete of the year award went to freestyle skier Etienne Geoffrey-Gagnon.
2021 was marked by Geoffrey-Gagnon’s first invitation to Dew Tour slopestyle competition. The Dew Tour is a step above world cup competition and along with serving as a Winter Olympics qualifier, it is considered a step towards the X-Games.
At the end of the last international ski season Geoffrey-Gagnon was ranked 19th in slopestyle and 49th in big air.
Both international-calibre skiers were out of the territory training or competing, but their parents were on hand to accept the awards.
Geoffrey-Gagnon video-called in to say a few words.
“Super thankful for this award, super grateful definitely for all the love and support that I’ve gotten over the years. It’s definitely not easy sometimes being an athlete, but it’s definitely moments like these that I’d say make it all worth it,” he said.
“It’s definitely always nice to feel part of the community and definitely just feel that support from back home.”
Coach of the Year went to Aaron Jensen for his work training judo athletes and assisting other combative sports like wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Athletes, fellow coaches and others involved with judo and martial arts described Jensen as a visionary who is instrumental to the sports’ profile in the Yukon, particularly through the challenging years created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I do appreciate the acknowledgement that, like you said, Judo is a way of life for me. So it’s really not something that I really think much about. I’d like to thank people like my mother, the role model that was a coach when I was a kid and got me involved in sports. So as a parent, I really thought that sports are an essential part in bringing kids up,” Jensen said.
He praised all of the sports opportunities for youth in the Yukon.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org