Rick Zamperin: Heather Bansley, the right choice for Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year

Congratulations Heather Bansley.

The beach volleyball star has been named the 2018 Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year and has taken home the Bill Sturrup Trophy as a result.

The 31-year-old Waterdown native beat out former Hamilton Bulldogs star Brandon Saigeon and L.A. Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

As a member of the Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year committee, the decision was not an easy one.

Each of the three finalists accomplished amazing feats last year and they were all worthy of the honour, something committee members really wrestled with.

Bansley, along with partner Brandie Wilkerson, claimed the No. 1 world ranking in beach volleyball after winning gold medals at world cup events in Las Vegas, Mexico and Poland — as well as a silver in the Czech Republic and a bronze medal in Brazil.

Saigeon was a key contributor to the Bulldogs’ Ontario Hockey League championship in 2017/18, and it’s not every day that someone from Hamilton is drafted into the NBA, as Gilgeous-Alexander was last summer.

In the end, Bansley broke away as the favourite because – save for winning an Olympic gold medal – she had attained the highest level of achievement in a global sport.

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