Monte Carlo - Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt and Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva were on Sunday named World Athletes of the Year by the governing athletics body IAAF. Bolt, 22, became the first man to win three Olympic sprint golds with world records in each final at the Beijing games in August, 9.69 seconds for the 100m, 19.30 in the 200m and 37.10 in the 4x100m relay.
Bolt, who earlier in the year had bettered the 100m record to 9.72 seconds, won the poll conducted among the IAAF family and the public.
"It is an honour for me. I have worked long and hard for this," Bolt said.
The sprinter said he could give no forecasts for 2009 "but I know what I have to do to be good."
Isinbayeva won the women's award for the third time in her career, following 2004 and 2005. The 26-year-old got her second Olympic gold in Beijing with 5.05m, her third world record of the year and 24th overall.
"This is worth more to me than the previous awards because I had difficult years in 2006 and 2007," she said.
Isinbayeva will not compete in the indoor European championships in Turin but says she intends to compete at least until the 2012 Olympics.
"I want to go out with a height that is unbeatable for 100 years," she said, with her sights set on a possible 5.20m.
"Life is boring without records," she said.
Bolt and Isinbayeva received 100,000 dollars (79,400 euros) each for the award. The proclamation came at a gala in Monte Carlo.