Is Bolt the world’s best athlete?

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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?

WATCH LIVE: Women’s slalom at 3:30 P.M. ET

Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn will take on slalom today at the Aspen World Cup stop, airing today at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and stream on NBC Sports Live Extra at the same time.

Shiffrin is seeking her first win on U.S. snow; all of her first place finishes have come from European venues. She has 14 slalom World Cup titles and winning one more would tie her with France’s Perrine Pelen for sixth overall for total slalom World Cup victories.

Vonn can only increase her record World Cup wins – she has the most at 67 wins, and only Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark has more at 86 men’s wins. Of all her titles, the fewest have come from slalom at two.

Yesterday, both Vonn and Shiffrin suffered crashes in grand slalom races.


WATCH LIVE: World Cup men’s downhill – 1:30 p.m. ET

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Before missing the downhill World Cup last year due to injury, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the title in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Today, he may become just the eighth man to win this World Cup title at least three times, but he faces competition from countryman Kjetil Jansrud, who won last year’s title in Svindal’s absence.

The World Cup men’s  downhill at Lake Louise is streaming today at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

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