Ashton Eaton or Christian Taylor can become the first U.S. man to win the IAAF World Athlete of the Year since 2007, but either must beat Usain Bolt to do it.
Eaton, Taylor and Bolt, all 2012 Olympic and 2015 World champions, were named the three finalists for the award Wednesday. They were chosen by an international panel of experts from a long list of nine athletes.
Bolt swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at August’s World Championships. Taylor won the triple jump with the second-best jump of all time. Eaton broke his world record to win the decathlon.
Great Britain’s Mo Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m at Worlds, was among the star athletes who didn’t make the finalist cut.
When Eaton first broke the world record (and later won Olympic gold) in 2012, he was not one of the three finalists. That year, Bolt beat out world-record breakers David Rudisha and Aries Merritt.
The last U.S. man to win World Athlete of the Year was Tyson Gay in 2007. Bolt earned the honor five of the next six years before France pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie succeeded him in 2014.
MORE: Women’s Athlete of the Year finalists
Usain Bolt wasn’t dressed to race, but he took up a challenge from an unlikely opponent at The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday.
The six-time Olympic champion went on the show as part of a Los Angeles visit, three days after he partied at Oktoberfest in Munich for a third straight year. Also Tuesday, Bolt met with USC sprinter Andre De Grasse, who shared bronze in the World Championships 100m behind the gold medalist Bolt in Beijing on Aug. 23.
On Ellen, Demarjay Smith, an 8-year-old YouTube sensation for his videos as a personal trainer, said he could beat Bolt in a race. Watch the segment here.
“100 percent,” the Bronx boy said. “Trust me.”
Then Ellen brought Bolt out from off stage, all three of them did push-ups together and then headed to a parking lot for a race.
“Come on, Usain, don’t be scared of me,” the kid said.
Bolt, wearing jeans, did not back down, even though the starting blocks were positioned backwards. Smith clearly false-started, but Bolt didn’t call it back.
They sprinted for about 15 seconds, with Bolt unable to catch Smith and pulling up before the finish line, holding the back of his right leg.
“I got cramps,” Bolt said. “You got lucky, man. I want a rematch, though.”
Also on Ellen, Bolt talked about training for his last Olympics and that he’s considered moving into acting after his planned 2017 retirement. Watch part of that interview here.
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Usain Bolt drank, danced and sang at Oktoberfest on Saturday, partying at the Munich festival for (at least) a third straight year.
This time, Bolt brought Germany’s best Alpine skier with him — World Championships slalom medalist Felix Neureuther. Bolt also brought Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, the man who has helped the six-time Olympic champion sprinter get over recent injuries.
Here’s video of Bolt and Neureuther sharing a microphone to join in on a group song. For the second straight year, he performed on stage to Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” and Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”
Here are Bolt’s highlights from past Oktoberfests: 2014 | 2013.
Bolt has been enjoying his offseason, having also partied with Lil Wayne in south Florida the previous weekend.
MORE USAIN BOLT: Watch Bolt lose at the Athens 2004 Olympics