Christine Sinclair was undoubtedly Canada's top athlete in 2012. (Getty Images)Christine Sinclair's three-goal performance against the United States was one of the biggest Canadian stories of the 2012 London Games. But it's her most recent hat trick that has thrown the women's soccer star back into the media spotlight.
What a roller coaster few months it has been for the 29-year-old of Burnaby, B.C. She won over the hearts of many Canadians with her stunning Olympic performance, but her unsportsmanlike behavior during, and after Canada's semifinal loss to the U.S. earned her a four-game suspension, $3,500 fine and is likely what kept her off the short list of finalists for the FIFA women's player of the year award.
For more than two weeks now the common belief around the Canadian sporting world has been that Sinclair was snubbed by FIFA as a sort of 'retribution' for her unsportsmanlike behavior in London but interestingly enough, Sinclair took a moment on Thursday while on the popular Canadian radio show Prime Time Sports to clarify that it's not soccer's governing body that decides on who is shortlisted as finalists for the men's and women's player of the year awards.
"That's the thing that I don't think people understand with the whole FIFA player of the year thing," she said. "FIFA actually nominated me. FIFA comes up with their list of a top-10 [nominees] and then once it's to the top-10 it's strictly done by voting from media, from national team coaches [and] national team captains. And so if you would like to be upset, be upset with those people."
The fact that Sinclair was left off the list of finalists for the most prestigious annual award in her sport hasn't stopped several outlets in Canada from awarding her as the nation's athlete of the year though. And it's probably also safe to assume that the she will take home the Canadian Press female athlete of the year award, which will be handed out later this month.
While she'd likely trade in any or all of the individual success for Olympic gold it has to be nice for Sinclair to know that while internationally she may not be getting the support she deserves, she definitely is at home.