By Emily Goddard

Christine Sinclair 1101December 11 - Christine Sinclair, who led Canada's women's football team to a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics  has been named the winner of the 2012 Lou Marsh Award.

The 29-year-old, who scored an Olympic-record six goals to win the Golden Boot and clinched a hat trick in a 4-3 extra-time semi-final loss to the United States, is the first soccer player to win the award in its 76-year history.

"I'm just in shock," said Sinclair (pictured top), who was Canada's flag bearer at the Olympic Closing Ceremony in London.

"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."

According to the Canadian Soccer Association Sinclair contributed to 65.9 per cent of her team's scoring in 2012 but she insists head coach Jon Herdman deserves plenty of credit.

"I know he brought back the passion and the love of the sport within me," she said.

"He had me believing that absolutely anything was possible as an individual soccer player and he's the first coach in a long time that has had the veteran players on the team learning new things.

"It hasn't happened in a long time and I think he deserves the credit for the way that I performed this year and the way the team performed."

Christine Sinclair 111212Christine Sinclair scored an Olympic-record six goals at London 2012

Sinclair's 143 career international goals rank third all-time and second among active players behind American Abby Wambach, who has 148 to her name.

Despite her successes, 2012 has been something of a controversial year for Sinclair as she was suspended four matches by FIFA for comments she made after Canada's semi-final loss to the US.

She was also recently snubbed for the FIFA Women's Player of the Year award, which had a shortlist featuring Wambach, American Alex Morgan and Brazil's Marta.

Sinclair has been on the shortlist six times in her career, but she has had an outstanding 2012 making this year her best shot at the Ballon d'Or.

The Lou Marsh Award, which is decided by a panel of national sports editors, reporters and broadcasters, is given annually to Canada's top athlete by the Toronto Star and is named after a former sports editor of the newspaper.

Other finalists for the award were speed skater Christine Nesbitt, trampolinist and Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan, figure skater Patrick Chan – last year's winner, cyclist Ryder Hesjedal and Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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