TORONTO (CP) ó Speedskater Cindy Klassen is the winner of the 2006 Lou Marsh Award.
The award, decided by a panel of sports editors and broadcasters, is given annually to Canadaís outstanding athlete by the Toronto Star.
Klassen won a gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the Turin Winter Olympics to become Canadaís most-decorated athlete in any one Games.
The Winnipeg nativeís career total of six medals also makes her Canadaís most decorated Olympian.
She also captured the overall World Cup title in 2006.
Klassen edged basketball star Steve Nash, who won his second straight NBA MVP award, in a close vote.
Other finalists were American League MVP Justin Morneau, speedskater Clara Hughes, NHL MVP Joe Thornton, freestyle skier Jennifer Heil and Maurice Richard Trophy winner Jonathan Cheechoo.
The Lou Marsh Award is named after a former Toronto Star sports editor.
The panel of voters comprised representatives from the Toronto Star, The Canadian Press, the FAN590/Primetime Sports, The Globe and Mail, Sportsnet, CTV/TSN, Montreal La Presse and the National Post.
The Canadian Press announces its athlete of the year award winners later this month. The CP awards are decided by sports editors and broadcasters across the country.