Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Rolex Sailor of the Year Award, Sail Canada's most prestigious award, is presented annually to a Canadian sailor for bringing recognition to Canadian sailing and Sail Canada.

The award was first presented in 1986 to America's Cup supporter Paul Phelan, who successfully organized a merger between Canada's most competitive 12-meter syndicates. Nominee's with high levels of excellence in Olympic and Paralympic class sailboat competition are given priority however, other results and accomplishments will be considered. The individual selected will have shown leadership qualities with respect to the event or activity leading to their nomination and have demonstrated sportsmanship and gained the respect of fellow sailors.

One of three top finalists for the 2012 Rolex Sailor of the Year Award, Oskar Johansson has distinguished himself in the sport of sailing many times. As a 2 x Olympian he narrowly missed winning a medal in 2008 in the Tornado at the Olympic games in Beijing. In university, he led his collegiate team to a first ever-Canadian number one ranking in North America. At the 1999 Pan Am Games he won the gold medal for Canada in the sunfish class. More recently, in 2011, Oskar became one of only two Canadian skippers in the last quarter century to win the Canada’s Cup. This was a truly remarkable achievement given the short time he had spent in the boat.

Oskar has also distinguished himself with his charity work through the Nathan Cowan Memorial Fund for which he continues to actively raise money to be used toward furthering the interests of the sport of sailing through its award winners. In 2012, Oskar organized a 10th anniversary fundraiser for the Nathan Cowan Memorial Award where the sold out event had more than 300 people in attendance and raised thousands of dollars in support of developing athletes.

In 2004, Oskar joined the board of directors at a difficult time for the Canadian Yachting Association and helped to re-organize the CYA to ensure the long term success of sailing in Canada. Also, in 2004 Oskar worked diligently to help build a strong relationship between the entire Canadian Sailing Team and PJ Phelan Foundation. Following his efforts on the CYA board, Oskar joined the Olympic Development Committee to help guide the next generation of elite sailors.

Oskar is a man of few words but when he speaks he makes it count.

When asked what advice he would share for future generations of sailors - “I only won 2 awards at the Oakville yacht squadron sailing school. They were: The Crash and Burn Trophy (for the most holes and broken equipment during the summer) and the End of the Line Award for being the youngest gold graduate during my session. I’ve never won best white sail or bronze sail or most improved sailor or any of the racing awards during my sailing school tenure but look at me now. Just being a finalist for Sail Canada’s 2012 Rolex Sailor of the Year is my greatest accomplishment.  I am truly honored. Sailing is a lifelong sport and if you love it, work hard at it and set your goals high, you can do great things even if you don’t win awards when you were young.”

The year that marks a decade of contributions to his Canadian Sailing Peers is a wonderful way to recognize his accomplishments and contribution to the sport of Sailing in Canada.

Oskar will be in attendance for the award winner announcement on January 19th 2013 at The Carlu in Toronto at the annual Sail Canada Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards. 

For tickets to the Sail Canada Rolex Sailor of the Year Awards please click here.  

For information on other recipients click here.