track and field

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 19:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
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Usain Bolt leads IAAF award winners

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Usain Bolt is track and field’s male athlete of the year, winning the award from the sport’s governing body for a sixth time.

Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia won the women’s award, after her world-record run to win Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters.

The awards were handed out Friday by the IAAF at a gala ceremony in Monaco. The winners were chosen by athletics officials, athletes, journalists and an online public poll.

Bolt won golds in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100 meters at the Rio Olympics, repeating his feats of the 2012 London Games and in Beijing in 2008.

Ayana smashed the world record in the Olympic 10,000m. Her time of 29:17.45 shaved more than 14 seconds off the previous best.

MORE: Bolt on why he won’t pull a Michael Phelps

Usain Bolt on the goal he ‘missed out on,’ why he won’t pull a Michael Phelps

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 14:  Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates winning the Men's 100 meter final on Day 9 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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Usain Bolt said the only thing that he “missed out on” during his unrivaled career was breaking 19 seconds in the 200m.

Bolt, who owns the 200m world record of 19.19 from 2009, finally gave up on his goal of lowering the mark at an interesting time and place — during the Rio Olympic 200m final.

“In my mind, I genuinely thought I could run under 19 seconds until I came off that corner and my legs decided that we weren’t going to do anything about this,” Bolt said Friday in Monaco for the annual IAAF awards gala.

Bolt clocked 19.78 seconds to win gold in Rio, way off his times from 2008 (19.30) and 2012 (19.32). For years, he has talked about wanting to break 19 seconds in the 200m, his signature race.

“That’s probably the only thing, I wouldn’t say regret, but something that I missed out on,” Bolt said. “It wouldn’t be a regret because no one would have thought I would have run 19.19. Not even myself. So, for me, it was something that was possible, could be possible, and I missed out on.”

Bolt has said he won’t race the 200m at his final global championship, the world championships in London in August. He will focus on the 100m and 4x100m relay and he might not race the 200m again before he retires in 2017 or 2018.

“I’m not trying to do too much work than I have to do,” Bolt said Friday. “So if I run the 100m and the 4x100m, then my workload would be cut, I wouldn’t say significantly, but it will be cut down.”

Bolt has also said he’s not focused on trying to break any world records next season. Getting through the year healthy, which has been a problem in recent years, and appeasing his fans are the goals.

Bolt also repeated that he would not pull a Michael Phelps by taking a year off from the sport and then unretiring for one more Olympic run.

Bolt said his longtime coach, Glen Mills, cautioned against it.

“Most athletes that leave the sport and come back, it never goes well,” Bolt said. “If you leave track and field and put weight on and pretty much do no form of running, then to come back two years from that and to compete again, it’s not going to be the same.”

Bolt reportedly told German media that Phelps’ swimming can’t be compared to his sprinting in comments published last week.

“Swimming is something natural,” Bolt reportedly said. “Michael will continue to swim after his retirement.

“But 100 and 200 meters of running, this is nothing natural. If you stop this, you don’t start again. At least I will not.”

VIDEO: Bolt on the dying fan he won’t forget

NBC Sports to air USA Track and Field events through 2024

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AP
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NBC Sports will present at least 18 hours per year of live USA Track and Field event coverage through 2024, with at least eight hours per year on NBC.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will also stream all linear content, plus digital-only USATF programming.

Events include the Olympics and Olympic Trials, U.S. Indoor and Outdoor Championships, the Prefontaine Classic, Drake Relays, Penn Relays and Millrose Games.

More on the historic eight-year agreement between NBC Sports and USA Track and Field is here.

NBC Universal has the Olympic broadcast rights through 2032.

MORE: USATF Athlete of the Year winners named