Rebecca Smith and Ben King Recognized as the 2021 Red Deer Advocate Athletes of the Year
The Red Deer Sport Award Committee has announced the two recipients for the Red Deer Advocate Athlete of the Year Award. Swimmer Rebecca Smith is the 2021 Female Athlete of the Year and Ben King of the Red Deer Rebels is the 2021 Male Athlete of the Year. This award recognizes amateur athletes who have been highly successful in their sport in the past calendar year.
Other nominees for this year’s Male Athlete of the Year were WHL player Nate Danielson, golfer Carter Graf and beach volleyball duo Josh Gagnon and Colby Nemeth. Other nominees for Female Athlete of the Year were golfer Eileen Park and Red Deer Polytechnic Queens volleyball player Kaylee Domoney.
Rebecca Smith is the Red Deer Advocate Female Athlete of the Year. She shined on the biggest stage in her sport, representing Canada and Red Deer magically at the Toyko Olympics in July. Smith’s crowning achievement came with the world watching when she earned silver in the 4 by 100-metre freestyle relay at the Olympics. She also helped Canada finish fourth in the 4 by 200-metre freestyle relay, setting a Canadian record in the process. To cap off 2021, the 22-year-old won four medals at the short-course world championships in December. Swimming for the University of Calgary Dinos in 2021, She won six gold medals at the Canada West Conference Championships in November of 2021. That performance led to her being named the Canada West Women’s Swimmer of the Year.
(Photo of Rebecca Smith, photo credit: Red Deer Sport Award Committee)
Ben King is the Red Deer Advocate Male Athlete of the Year. Representing the Red Deer Rebels over the past three seasons, King found another gear in 2021. He had 28 points in 21 games last year during a shortened season for the Rebels and in the first half of his 19-year-old campaign, he was on fire. He had 38 points in 34 games, including 22 goals. Of those goals, 12 were on the power play, which led the WHL for the majority of the first half. He also had five game-winning goals over that span. The centre is a major reason why the Rebels are in a tight battle for first place in the WHL’s Central Division.
(Photo: Ben King (R) received the Red Deer Advocate Male Athlete of the Year award, photo credit Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)