Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva were named World Athletes of the Year at IAAF awards ceremony held recently in Monaco.
Bolt, 22, won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m gold medals during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and became the first man to do so since Carl Lewis in 1984. He’s undoubtedly the fastest man in the world today and has numerous world records in his name which he set while achieving the feat.
“He is invincible,” said IAAF president Lamine Diack when asked to describe Jamaican sensation Bolt who became the third sprinter in succession to win the best athlete award after compatriot Asafa Powell (2006) and America’s Tyson Gay (2007).
Isinbayeva won the award for the third time in her career. She set her 24th world record in Beijing defending her gold medal and has still been unbeaten in the outdoor competitions.
“This is worth more to me than the previous awards because I had difficult years in 2006 and 2007,” she said. Life is boring without records. I want to go out with a height that is unbeatable for 100 years,” she said, with her sights set on a possible 5.20m.
Both of them were given $100,000 as the prize money.
Cuba’s Dayron Robles won the Male Performance of the Year award for his performance in the Olympics where he won the 110-meter hurdles gold setting a world record. Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia and Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic shared the female award.
More photos and a video of Bolt and Isinbayeva are below.
Yelena Isinbayeva Video