Monte Carlo - Usain Bolt has won a record-tying third Athlete of the Year award despite losing his hold on the 100 meters, athletics's most prestigious event. Australian Sally Pearson also clinched her first trophy for a nearly flawless season in the 100 meters hurdles.
In a vote which was said to be exceptionally tight, Bolt beat his Jamaican training team-mate and new 100 meter champion Yohan Blake and 800 meter champion David Rudisha. After false starting the 100 final at the world championships in Daegu, Bolt came back to claim the 200 and anchored the Jamaican team to a world record and the title in the 4x100 relay.
Pearson ran the fastest hurdles race in 19 years to clinch the world title and only saw a perfect season go to waste when she crashed in the last Diamond League race in Brussels. She beat double long distance world champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya and New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams.
With his third title, Bolt equaled Moroccan middle distance great Hicham El Guerrouj who won a triple from 2001 to 2003.
Bolt says he wants to go for four gold medals at next summer's London Olympics, adding the 4x400 meters relay to his usual schedule.
The defending Olympic champion in the 100, 200, and 4x100 from the 2008 Beijing Games said on Saturday that if he is fit and if Jamaica can challenge for gold, he wants a place on the other relay team, even though he has never competed in the event at the top level.
He said that "if I can help to get them a gold medal, I will want to go on that team."
The last male athlete to win four gold medals at the Olympics was Carl Lewis at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.