Jamaican Usain Bolt was named Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) on Saturday.
He retained his 200m crown at this year’s World Championships in Daegu, where he also helped Jamaica defend the 4x100m relay in a new world record time of 37.04 seconds. However in South Korea, Bolt also surrendered his chance to defend his world 100m crown when he was disqualified from the final for a false start, allowing compatriot Yohan Blake to succeed him.
“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 the 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.”
Australia’s Sally Pearson, the world 100m hurdles champion, also won the award. It is the third time Bolt has been named Athlete of the Year by governing body.
Bolt announced that he wants to go for four gold medals at next summer’s London Olympics, adding the 4×400-meter relay to his usual schedule of three sprint events.
The defending Olympic champion in the 100, 200, and 4×100 from the 2008 Beijing Games said that if he is fit and if Jamaica can challenge for gold, he wants a place on the long relay team too, even though he has never competed in the event at the global top level.
“If I can help to get them a gold medal, I will want to go on that team,” Bolt said.
The last male athlete to win four gold medals in track and field at the Olympics was Carl Lewis at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.