World record sprinter Usain Bolt was named the IAAF world athlete of the year Saturday in Barcelona, beating out American hurdler Aries Merritt and Kenyan distance runner David Rudisha, who both won gold in London. It was the fourth time in five years that the Jamaican took home the honor.
“I really worked hard and I was really focused this year,” Bolt said of his season. “This season was one of my toughest. I had my ups and downs, even though we don’t like to talk about them.”
The other two men didn’t leave empty-handed, though: Merritt earned the Inspiration award after winning gold in the most competitively 110m hurdle field in history, and then breaking the event’s world record a month later at a Diamond League meet.
Rudisha, who was the only other athlete to win top honors over the last five years when he took it in 2010, earned the performance of the year award for becoming the first person to ever dip below 1:41 in the 800m.
American sprinter Allyson Felix earned female athlete of the year honors after she won the 200m and ultimately took home three gold medals from London. She beat out British heptathlete Jessica Ennis and New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams.
“My biggest defeats have come at the Olympic Games,” Felix, who finished with silver in the Athens and Beijing 200m races, explained. “But I decided to rededicate myself even harder and it was a blessing in disguise. I was able to work harder than ever before and finally it all came together.”
Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, recently met former soccer star David Beckham at a restaurant.
Both global sporting icons posted similar photos on social media with similar captions Monday morning.
Beckham played midfield for Manchester United, and Bolt is a longtime fan of the soccer club.
Bolt, who is planning on retiring after the 2017 World Championships, was recently asked about the possibility of Manchester United while hosting a Facebook Live.
“If I had the chance to play for Manchester United, I would go right now,” he said, laughing. “I would retire and start playing futbol right now. That’s how much I really want to play for Manchester United.”
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Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was running down the open field when he encountered Chicago Bears safety Chris Prosinski.
Prosinski went low and Elliott, a high school state champion in the 110m and 300m hurdles, decided to go high and hurdle the defender:
The track and field community took notice of Elliott’s hurdle.
Lolo Jones, a 100m hurdler who competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, gave Elliott grades of an A++ for difficulty and an A for technique on Twitter. She wrote that it “hands down would’ve been best NFL hurdle technique of the yr.” if a second Bears defender, Jonathan Anderson, hadn’t prevented Elliott from landing cleanly:
Dawn Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist in the 100m hurdles, also had a positive review of Elliott’s efforts:
Emma Coburn, the 2016 Olympic 3000m steeplechase bronze medalist, thought Elliott’s leap resembled her event:
Elliott finished with 30 carries for 140 yards to lead the Cowboys to a 31-17 win during Sunday Night Football.
His mother, Dawn, who was a track and field athlete at the University of Missouri, posted a photo on Twitter to remind everyone where her son inherited his hurling gene from:
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