World record track stars Usain Bolt, David Rudisha, and Aries Merritt were named finalists for the men’s World Athlete of the Year award in Monaco Monday after receiving the most votes in a three-week poll.
And while Bolt might seem the easy choice when the award is announced at the IAAF’s centenary celebrations in Barcelona Nov. 24, we’re not sure the three-time winner is worthy of the 2012 title.
Here are the resumes for the three nominees:
Usain Bolt – The world’s most charismatic athlete became the first man to win the 100m and 200m gold medals in consecutive Olympics, did it against the fastest field in history, and broke his own Olympic record to boot. He won three golds in London, but lost both the 100m and 200m Jamaican national championships to Yohan Blake – and, if rumors are true, a drunken footrace to Mickey Rourke.
David Rudisha – The 2010 World Athlete of the Year broke his own world record in the 800m, finishing in 1:40.91 for what London Olympics chairman Sebastian Coe called the “performance of the Games.” The Kenyan star now holds the three fastest and six of the eight fastest 800m times in history.
Aries Merritt – The American 110m hurdler won gold in London, and then, somehow not satisfied, went on to shatter Cuban Dayron Robles’s world record a month later, running 12.80 at a Diamond League meet in Brussels. Merritt also won the 2102 60m hurdles at the indoor world championships in Istanbul in March.
So who do you think should win?
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — The Brazilian torch relay for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics has kicked off with volleyball player Fabiana Claudino running the first leg after the torch was ignited by embattled President Dilma Rousseff.
Rousseff says “Brazil is ready to host the most successful Olympics in history.”
The Olympic flame arrived in a lantern on a flight from Switzerland a few hours earlier and was taken to the Planalto presidential palace.
The three-month relay across Brazil, ending at the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, will involve 329 cities and 12,000 torchbearers. Rio organizers hope it will build enthusiasm for the games, which has lagged as Brazil battles bribery and corruption scandals and its deepest recession in decades.
The start of the relay comes just a week before the Brazilian senate is expected to suspend Rousseff for six months as it considers her impeachment.
MORE: Rio Olympic flame will live downtown — not in stadium
Michael Phelps could face his lightest-ever competition run-up to an Olympic Trials after opting not to swim at a meet in Atlanta next week.
Last week, Phelps noted one other scheduled meet before the U.S. Olympic Trials (June 26-July 3). That’s in Austin, Texas, from June 3-5.
In his previous four Olympic cycles, Phelps swam at least two meets in the final two months before the Olympic Trials, according to USA Swimming statistics.
Phelps’ training plan in May and June will be impacted by the impending birth of his first child. Fiancée Nicole Johnson is 36 weeks pregnant, according to her Instagram.
Without Phelps, the Atlanta meet is expected to include five-time 2015 World champion Katie Ledecky, 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin, Olympic 100m free champion Nathan Adrian and rising sprint freestyler Caeleb Dressel.
VIDEO: Phelps’ interview with Matt Lauer