Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Bolt and Felix named IAAF Athletes of the Year

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bolt and Felix named IAAF Athletes of the Year

At an awards ceremony in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday night, Usain Bolt (JAM) and Allyson Felix (USA) were named the IAAF Male and Female World Athletes of the Year for 2012. This is Bolt's fourth time winning this award while Felix is a first-time winner.

Usain Bolt, 26, the World Athlete of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2011, successfully defended both his 100m and 200m titles at the Olympic Games in London, clocking 9.63 and 19.32 respectively, both the fastest times in the World this year. He concluded his Olympic appearance by anchoring a Jamaican quartet to a 36.84 World record in the 4x100m Relay. He won six out of seven competitions in the 100m, and three of four in the 200m.

"This means a lot to me as this was one of my hardest years," said Bolt. "My coach doesn't want us to discuss injuries, so I didn't talk about it, so this means a lot."

Allyson Felix, 27, following World 200m titles in 2005, 2007 and 2009, won the Olympic 200m title in London and was part of the gold medal-winning 4x100m and 4x400m Relay teams to become the first woman since 1988 to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games. The victorious 4x100m Relay quartet in London clocked a 40.82 World record. Her 21.69 victory in the 200m at the U.S. Olympic Trials was the fastest in the world this year and made Felix the fourth fastest woman in history.

“It is pretty much one of the coolest awards I’ve ever received,” Felix said. “Winning it means you are at the top of your sport, which is something we all strive for. To finally reach the goal during the journey of a long career is very special.”

The award for Male Performance of the Year went to David Rudisha (KEN). In what will likely be remembered as one the finest performances ever at an Olympic Games, Rudisha broke his own World record with a stunning solo performance, clocking 1:40.91 in the London final. Running at the head of the field virtually from the outset, the 2010 Athlete of the Year broke his own 1:41.01 record set in Rieti, Italy two years earlier. In London’s he did so without a pacemaker in a display that IAAF Vice President Sebastian Coe, himself a former World 800m record holder, described as one of "supreme physical and mental confidence".

Speaking of the London final, Rudisha said, "I was confident that I was going to win, so I wanted to do something special. I was thinking maybe 1:41, but then I broke the World record. This was a very competitive year – Usain Bolt’s three gold medals, Mo Farah’s two gold medals. So I am very happy to win this award.”

The female performance of the year award went to the USA Olympic 4x100m Relay team. The USA quartet of Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter clocked 40.82 in the 4x100m Relay final, to improve the previous mark by a massive 0.55 seconds, the biggest ever improvement on the World record in the history of the event. Their collective effort brought down what was then the third oldest women's World record which had been set by the Democratic Republic of Germany on 6 October 1985.

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