You have chosen your 2021 Athletes of the Year. The member-nominated award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and contributions of both our developing and excellence athletes, as well as our coaches, volunteers, officials, and clubs. Award finalists are member nominated and possess the qualities the OCA associates with performance, excellence and sport achievement.
2021 Road Female Athlete of the Year – Ruby West became second in the ITT at U23 Nationals and won the U23 Road Race. She also raced at U23 Cross Worlds in 2021 and was Canada’s top finisher. Besides becoming second at Cross Pan Ams as an Elite in December, she is now part of the track team pursuit pool.
2021 Road Male Athlete of the Year – Michael Leonard joined the Toronto Hustle Junior team European Campaign and raced for 6 weeks in Europe. He owned the podium in kermess events and became 2nd on GC at Junior Tour du Leman. Besides winning White and Red Jerseys at that race he also went on to race for the National team and at World Championships.
2021 Development Female Athlete of the Year – Ava Holmgren became CX Pan Am Champion and second at XCO National Championships. Throughout the year she also became 5th at Road Nationals RR and 7th at Road Nationals ITT. She is a multi-discipline athlete demonstrating extremely strong skills, work ethic, and commitment.
2021 Male Development Athlete of the Year – Cole Punchard was the top Canadian at the 2021 World Championships and won the UCI Junior Series event in Switzerland. He is still the best Canadian in the UCI rankings and had numerous Top 5 finishes at UCI junior series events in 2021.
2021 Development Para-Cycling Athlete of the Year – Kevin McKenna started competitive hand cycling three years ago. After purchasing a used bike he immediately started to train. Working with a YTP and periodization, Kevin has changed his life to focus on training and his goals of one day representing Canada as a para cyclist. He has continued to make gains in performances and positive lifestyle changes to assist with this. When we introduced our para-cycling camp in his hometown of North Bay, Kevin was a major asset in finding volunteers and exploring potential routes to see what worked. He is a possible-natured person, trying his hardest and always there to cheer on abs congratulate his peers. He is committed to racing nationals last year and plans to have an incredible start to this season with racing Defi Sportif in Montreal.
2021 Track Female Athlete of the Year – Nicole Bradbury won Gold in Pursuit, Elimination, Points, Madison, Team Pursuit, Silver in the TT and Team Sprint and Bronze in the Scratch races at Junior Nationals. She most likely would have gone to track worlds but chose to focus on going to both MTB and Road Worlds.
2021 Track Athlete of the Year – Derek Gee represented Canada at the 2021 Beijing Olympics in Team Pursuit, where they finished 5th. He also raced in the Madison at the Olympics, finishing 12th with Michael Foley. Additionally, he became 10th in the Omnium at 2021 Elite Worlds.
2021 CX Female Athlete of the Year – Ava Holmgren is the current Pan Am Champion and owns several UCI Junior Women wins and podiums in the US. In addition, she won at the UCI Junior Women in Gullegem in Belgium.
2021 CX Male Athlete of the Year – Ian Ackert holds the CXO U17 National Champion title and became second at Pan Am U19. In addition, he made U19 podiums in US and EU in CX. As a multi-discipline athlete, he demonstrates powerful skills, work ethic, and commitment. Besides that, Ian also volunteers as a coach to younger athletes with HNW sharing his passion and encouraging athletes to learn and refine skills.
2021 MTB Male Athlete of the Year – Gunnar Holmgren finished 17th at XCO World Championship, 9th U23 Lenzerheide World Cup and 9th U23 Snowshoe World Cup. Gunnar’s total commitment to his performance and his teammates’ success as well as his passion for working with the next generation of athletes defines him as a leader in his sport.
2021 Tim DaSilva BMX Athlete of the Year – Curtis Krey is Canada Cup Elite Champion and National Team selection for Turkey World Cup. He won his first USA Pro in May 2021. After his first year as Elite, he was ranked top 60 of year World rankings.
2021 Master Female Athlete of the Year – Sue Haviland is an outstanding Durham Shredders coach, athlete and parent of young athletes. Sue has been racing bikes for over 20 years, competing provincially, nationally and internationally. She’s also worked within the cycling community, having completed the Community Initiation coaching course, coaching the Durham Shredders for two years. Sue is a member of the Ontario Cycling Association High-Performance Committee.
2021 Master Male Athlete of the Year – Jon Barnes is an outstanding coach of Shredders, where he supports youth development and grassroots sports. Besides his engagement in coaching, he holds multiple Provincial and National Championships in MTB and CX but has also branched out to road racing over the years.
2021 OCA Volunteer of the Year – Manda Freyman created and developed the Mtb Exchange. As the founder of the MTB Exchange, Manda has poured endless amounts of her personal volunteer time facilitating the development of a Women’s Mtb Group that hosted over Eight different rides for all levels of mountain bikers across Ontario. Manda ensured all Covid Protocols were followed, ensured riders were grouped by abilities, her initiative and the dedication she has to the sport and ensuring all women feel included irregardless of experience is unparalleled. Manda is one of the most passionate, energetic and dedicated Mountain biker. She is a talented rider who constantly connects groups of women to each other encouraging development and the social aspects following each ride. Manda ensured all riders were OCA Members and created social media channels and media coverage for the events.
Contributor of the Year – Brendan Arnold is a tremendous asset to the BMX community. He works tirelessly to promote the sport of BMX and cycling. He is a fantastic coach, resource and role model for everyone interested in learning and developing their skills in BMX.
Congratulations to all winners and candidates who were nominated. Stay tuned for a new award for the 2022 season being announced shortly.