Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce win Athlete of the Year awards; more drug testing comments

Usain Bolt

Two Jamaicans winning the most prestigious awards in track and field did not come and go without more talk of Jamaica’s drug-testing program.

Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, both triple gold medalists at the World Championships in August, swept the IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards announced in Monaco on Saturday.

Bolt, 27, beat out British distance runner Mo Farah and Ukraine high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko to win for the fifth time in six years. He’s the only man or woman to win the award more than three times. It’s been awarded annually since 1988.

“I know track and field’s been through a lot, but I see a lot of positive things coming out,” said Bolt, who also signed 10 copies of his recently released book in 24 seconds before receiving his award. “(To the athletes), show the world that we can do this, and we can make athletics a better place.”

Fraser-Pryce, 26, won over New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams and Czech 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnova. She’s the first Jamaican woman since Merlene Ottey in 1990 to win the award.

“There is a little question on the men’s side because Usain wasn’t the usual Usain, and I think he does have some very good competition from Bondarenko,” NBC Olympics track and field analyst Ato Boldon told the Jamaica Gleaner before the awards. “I said in the stadium at the world champs that if there was an award for best track and field athlete overall, it would go to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, that’s how good I think her performance was.”

News before the announcement at the World Athletics Gala centered on drug testing.

In August, it was reported that Jamaica’s anti-doping agency carried out one out-of-competition drug test in the five months leading into the 2012 Olympics.

In October, the World Anti-Doping Agency visited Jamaica to investigate its anti-doping setup and said it was “satisfied” that Jamaica’s minister of sport “accepted the practical suggestions” WADA made.

WADA said it’s asked Kenya to perform an independent investigation of its anti-doping system for the past 18 months, but it has not seen evidence that it has been carried out.

IAAF president Lamine Diack defended Jamaican and Kenyan athletes in Monaco on Saturday.

“I read in the newspapers and it was like a campaign against Jamaica, and I think it was ridiculous,” Diack said, according to the Jamaica Gleaner. “They are the most tested athletes in the world.

“And so I read in the newspapers how WADA are going there and they are going to suspend (Jamaica from the Olympics), they cannot suspend anybody!

“It was ridiculous, this campaign. After Jamaica they went to Kenya because some doctor went there and said the Kenyan athletes are not controlled. They are the most controlled. Six hundred fifty or so athletes in Kenya controlled every time in and out of competition. They went there, what did they find, nothing.”

Fraser-Pryce has threatened not to compete if the Jamaican federation doesn’t do more to support its athletes.

Bolt, too, had a say, with his Twitter account linking to the Gleaner article with Diack’s comments on Twitter.

Bolt may have been spurred because he lost a would-be big-money sponsorship deal due to Jamaica’s drug-testing issues, according to the Telegraph.

“A sponsor came up to us and was saying, ‘We’d like to sponsor you,'” he said, according to the newspaper. “They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it’s viable to sponsor you and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics.

“That information is not correct, so there are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it’s causing problems for me when it comes to making money from my sport.”

Bolt’s obsession with ‘Call of Duty’

Rafael Nadal expected to miss rest of 2023 season after surgery

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is expected to need five months to recover from arthroscopic surgery for a left hip flexor injury that kept him out of the French Open, effectively ruling him out for the rest of 2023 ATP tournament season.

Nadal underwent the surgery Friday night in Barcelona on the eve of his 37th birthday. He posted that, if all goes well, the recovery time is five months.

The timetable leaves open the possibility that Nadal could return for the Nov. 21-26 Davis Cup Finals team event in Malaga, Spain, which take place after the ATP Tour tournament season ends.

Nadal announced on May 18 that he had to withdraw from the French Open, a tournament he won a record 14 times, due to the injury that’s sidelined him since January’s Australian Open.

Nadal also said he will likely retire from professional tennis in the second half of 2024 after a farewell season that he hopes includes playing at Roland Garros twice — for the French Open and then the Paris Olympics.

When Nadal returns to competition, he will be older than any previous Grand Slam singles champion in the Open Era.

Nadal is tied with Novak Djokovic for the men’s record 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

While Nadal needs to be one of the four-highest ranked Spanish men after next year’s French Open for direct Olympic qualification in singles, he can, essentially, temporarily freeze his ranking in the top 20 under injury protection rules.

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2023 French Open TV, live stream schedule


The French Open airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points at Roland Garros in Paris.

Tennis Channel has live daily coverage with NBC and Peacock coming back for the middle weekend, plus the men’s and women’s singles semifinals and finals.

All NBC TV coverage also streams on and the NBC Sports app.

It’s the first French Open since 2004 without Rafael Nadal, the record 14-time champion who is out with a hip injury and hopes to return next year for a likely final time.

In his place, the favorites are top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic, who is tied with Nadal for the men’s record 22 Grand Slam singles titles.


No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland is favored to claim a third French Open title, a year after beating American Coco Gauff in the final. She bids to join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win the French Open three or more times since 2000.

Two Americans are ranked in the top six in the world — No. 3 Jessica Pegula and Gauff.

The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Broadcast Schedule

Date Time (ET) Platform Round
Sunday, May 28 5 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
12-3 p.m. Peacock (STREAM LINK)
Monday, May 29 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
11 a.m.-3 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM)
3-5:30 p.m. Peacock (STREAM LINK)
Tuesday, May 30 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis Channel First Round
Wednesday, May 31 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Thursday, June 1 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis Channel Second Round
Friday, June 2 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
Saturday, June 3 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Tennis Channel Third Round
12-3 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM)
3-5:30 p.m. Peacock (STREAM LINK)
Sunday, June 4 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
12-3 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM)
3-5:30 p.m. Peacock (STREAM LINK)
Monday, June 5 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Tennis Channel Fourth Round
Tuesday, June 6 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
2-5 p.m. Tennis Channel
Wednesday, June 7 5 a.m.-12 p.m. Tennis Channel Quarterfinals
2-5 p.m. Tennis Channel
Thursday, June 8 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Tennis Channel Women’s Semifinals
11 a.m.-2 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM)
Friday, June 9 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tennis Channel Men’s Semifinals
11 a.m.-3 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM)
Saturday, June 10 9 a.m.-2 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM) Women’s Final
Sunday, June 11 9 a.m.-2 p.m. NBC (STREAM) | Peacock (STREAM) Men’s Final