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Thursday, December 1, 2011

IAAF Athlete of the Year 2011 – Usain Bolt & Sally Pearson

Carl Lewis (1961) - Frederick Carlton "Carl"  - American track and field athlete, won 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold, and 10 World Championships medals, of which 8 were gold. His career spanned from 1979 when he first achieved a world ranking to 1996 when he last won an Olympic title and subsequently retired.   The mercurial Flo-Jo -  Florence Griffith-Joyner  another  American track and field athlete considered the "fastest woman of all time" based on the fact that she still holds the world record for both the 100 metres and 200 metres, both set in 1988 and never seriously challenged.  She died at the age of 38 in 1998.

Both of them were selected as IAAF Athlete of the Year Award in the year it was instituted – 1988.  As you would know, IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations]  is the international governing body for the sport of athletics. It was founded in 1912 at its first congress in Stockholm, Sweden by representatives from 17 national athletics federations as the International Amateur Athletics Federation. Since October 1993 it has been headquartered in Monaco.  The athlete of the Year is given to best of the athletes who participate in events within the sport of athletics organised by the International Athletic Foundation of the  IAAF  including track and field, cross country running, road running, and racewalking.

The IAAF Athlete of the Year Award for 2011 were announced recently.  In Men, it was the mercurial – Usain Bolt.  The Jamaican sprinter is a 5 time World and 3 time Olympic gold medallist,  holds the World & Olympic record in 100 meters; 200 meters and 4 x 100 m relay.    His run at Beijing Olympics @ 9.69 seconds was described as 'We've never seen anything like that before,'  by the great Olympian Michael Johnson.    The woman alongside to receive this award this year is Sally Pearson, the hurdler becoming the first Australian to win the award and becoming the best female athlete in the world.   It came closely after her home town, the Gold Coast was named  the host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  Pearson was recognised for her international season in which she won 15 straight 100m hurdles races and dominated her event at the world championships.  She set seven of the year's fastest 11 times, crowned by her stunning performance in the world championship final, where she ran the fastest 100m hurdles time for almost 20 years, 12.28sec.  Even Cathy Freeman and Jana Pittman at the height of their careers did not win this award.

Pearson was recognised ahead of contenders in Kenyan distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot, who won three world titles this year (5000m, 10,000m and cross country) and New Zealand's world shot put champion Valerie Adams.  The 25-year-old sprint hurdler said she was honoured just to be included in the top 10.

For Bolt, it was the third time he has collected his sport's top award,  having won the award earlier in 2008 and 2009.    Bolt is not alone – somebody has done that earlier by winning in 2001, 2002 & 2003.   that was Hicham El Guerrouj – the King of the Mile – Moroccan middle distance runner holding record for the 1500 meters, mile and outdoor 2000 meters World records.  He is also a double Olympic Gold medallist.

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.

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