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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?

Ida Keeling, 100 years old, sets world record at Penn Relays (video)

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Ida Keeling electrified the Penn Relays crowd with her 100-meter dash in 1 minute, 17.33 seconds on Saturday afternoon.

Keeling set a world record for fastest 100m by a woman 100 years and older. There is no data on USA Track and Field and masters athletics websites for a previous record holder.

“I’ll be 101 in a couple of weeks,” Keeling pointed out to NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno after the race, a mixed-gender event for athletes 80 and older. “I’ve never seen nothing like this crowd. Maybe that’s what the excitement was.”

Keeling’s advice?

“Love yourself, do what you have to do and what you want to do,” she said. “Eat for nutrition, not for taste. And exercise at least once a day.”

More on Keeling is here.

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U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

VIDEO: Race against Usain Bolt’s world record with ‘BeatBot’