Bolt and Pearson named Athletes of the Year

MONACO Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:07pm EST

Sally Pearson (L) of Australia, World Champion in the 100 metres hurdles, and Usain Bolt of Jamaica, five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist, pose with their IAAF Athlete of the Year awards in Monte Carlo November 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jean-Pierre Amet

Sally Pearson (L) of Australia, World Champion in the 100 metres hurdles, and Usain Bolt of Jamaica, five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist, pose with their IAAF Athlete of the Year awards in Monte Carlo November 12, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jean-Pierre Amet

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MONACO (Reuters) - Jamaican Usain Bolt and Australian Sally Pearson were named Athletes of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Saturday.

Bolt, winning the award for the third time, bounced back from disqualification for false starting in the world 100 meters final to retain his 200m title, before anchoring Jamaica to win the 4x100m relay in a world record time.

Pearson enjoyed a phenomenal season, winning 15 of 16 races and taking the world 100m hurdles title in 12.28 seconds, the fastest time in 19 years.

Bolt beat compatriot and 100m world champion Yohan Blake, along with Kenyan David Rudisha, to the award, while Pearson pipped Kenyan world 5,000 and 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot and world shot put champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand.

Bolt was in less dominant form this year after returning from a back injury that ended his 2010 season, but still clocked the fastest 100m of the season (9.76secs) in Brussels on September 16, the same night that Blake ran the second fastest 200m of all time - second only to the Olympic champion.

Blake's superb run in the Belgian capital earned him male performance of the year.

"This season was a really trying one for me, I really had to work hard and step up my game," Bolt told a news conference before heading to an IAAF gala to receive his award.

"There were some close races. I really had to push myself -- there were some ups and downs throughout the season. For me this one (award) means a lot, I'm really proud of myself."

Pearson, 25, is the first Australian to win the award since it was introduced in 1988.

Her Daegu run made her the fourth fastest woman of all time over 100m hurdles, but the 2008 Olympic silver medalist said she could improve.

"I'm quite a perfectionist when it comes to my technique, there are quite a few things I can improve on," she said.

"You can never be truly happy with a race until you have won an Olympic gold medal, and that's what I want to do next year."

(Editing by Stephen Wood)

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Comments (3)
Alternative2 wrote:
Well, this is to state in clearly that Sally Pearson did not deserve the Female Athlete of the Year Award she was given, that title should belong to Vivian Cheruyot not Sally. Vivian demonstrated in all competitions that she deserves and rightfully earned the title not Sally. Sallys’ achievements are just two compared to the great achievements of Vivian (a world double gold medalist in both 5000 and 10000, a cross country, a diamond league triumph), while Sally just broke the record once and won 15 of 16 competitions she entered. Vivian on the other hand won all the competitions she entered and even broke her records ads well as other records. Why bestow an honour on someone who does not deserve it and leave a deserving athlete with nothing? This is corruption and very unfair to Vivian. If Sally is honest and a true athlete and sports person then she should return the award to be given to Vivian Cheruyot who deserves it. The IAAF has just shown the world how corrupt and racist they are in not giving Vivian her right award.

Nov 16, 2011 9:17am EST  --  Report as abuse
Alternative2 wrote:
I think it is Sally who should be given the honors that were given to Vivian and Vivian be given the honors that were bestowed on Sally. That should be the true position and not as it stands now, this is unjust and unfair to a true athlete like Vivian. In fact Sally herself admitted that she doesn’t deserve the award and that she all along knew that Vivian would be the one to earn the title. Why falsify the truth? She will not live to the expectations come the London 2012 but Vivian shall excel and do better.

Nov 16, 2011 9:22am EST  --  Report as abuse
Alternative2 wrote:
As for Bolt, I thinks he deserved it but should have been made to share that title with Rudisha as well. Bolt had a false during the world championships in his speciality (an embarrassment considering that he is the record holder)and Rudisha lived to the expectations and maintained his record. Theres is some unfairness and bias which makes me to see racism and corruption in all this selection.

Nov 16, 2011 9:25am EST  --  Report as abuse
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