Bolt is Sportsman of the Year

"Every now and then comes an athlete for the times and I believe Usain Bolt is that athlete," the four-times Olympic champion Johnson said in recognising Bolt as the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year.

"It happened for me in 1996, it happened with Carl Lewis in 1984 and Jesse Owens in 1936 and now it is happening for Usain. He doesn't just want to win races and medals, he wants to test the limits."

Bolt smashed both the 100 and 200 metres world records at the Beijing Olympics last year, running 9.69 seconds in the 100 and 19.30 seconds in the 200. But Johnson, the 400 metres world record holder who lost his 200 metres record to Bolt, said he was not ready yet to proclaim the Jamaican the best sprinter of all-time.

"For him to be the greatest, he'll have to win gold at another Olympics or a world championship, show some consistency and longevity," Johnson said.

"But there's no reason for me to think he can't do it."
The 22-year-old Bolt pipped swimmer Michael Phelps, world tennis number one Rafael Nadal, soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton and MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi for the Laureus award.

Bolt, 22, received the award from Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Edwin Moses and academy member Michael Johnson on the eve of the Festival of Excellence track and field meet here on Wednesday. At Beijing, the Jamaican sprint star became the first man in history to win the 100M, 200M and 4x100M relay gold medals in world record times at the same Games.

Bolt’s 200 metres time in Beijing broke the long-standing world record of 19.32 seconds set by Johnson in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

He will run his first major 100 metres of the year in Toronto on Thursday and Bolt said the race would be a good gauge of his training. Bolt shrugged when asked if he would move up to the 400 metres in the future.

"A lot of people are saying I should... I'm thinking about it, but I'm not sure yet," he said, adding he and his coach were still trying to decide if he should attempt to repeat the 100-200 double in London in 2012, or if he might try a 200-400 double.

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