2000 Canadian Sport Awards
ALSO ON SLAM!
Joanne Malar - Swimming
Nominated by Swimming Canada NatationIndividual medley (IM) specialist Joanne Malar has been in the spotlight since the age of 13, when she burst onto the national scene with the 1992 Olympic swim team. Her strong performance in Barcelona served notice that here was one of Canada's most promising young swimmers. Over the intervening years, the youngster from Hamilton, Ont., has blossomed into a formidable powerhouse. Malar, a 25-time national champion who is currently ranked first in the world in 200 IM and second in 400 IM, has overcome adversity and disappointment to truly come into her own.
Malar, who had to settle for fourth place in the gruelling 400 IM race at the 1996 Olympic Games (behind now-banned gold medallist Michelle Smith of Ireland), kicked off the 1999 season with strength as she posted victories at seven World Cup events and broke Canadian and Commonwealth records in 200 IM and 400 IM. Next came silver in 400 IM and bronze in 400-metre freestyle at the World Short Course Championships. Moving on to the Pan American Games, Malar brought the packed house to its feet with triple gold-medal performances in the IMs as well as in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay. So strong was her performance that she pre-qualified for the 2000 Olympic Games. A few short weeks later, Malar repeated the IM performances at the crucial Pac Pacific Championships. By the end of the season she had posted three personal best swims.
It was, she says, the best season of her career, adding, "I know I can go faster" - inspiring words with the Sydney Games on the horizon.