Usain Bolt voted L'Equipe's athlete of the year

Updated: December 17, 2008, 7:10 AM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt was honored Wednesday as French sports daily L'Equipe's athlete of the year, beating out U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal.

Bolt, who won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters and 100-meter relay at the Beijing Olympics in August, all in world-record times, was selected as L'Equipe's "Champion of Champions" for 2008.

Phelps, who made history by winning eight golds for the United States at Beijing, finished second. Nadal was third after winning the French Open and Wimbledon to take over the world No. 1 ranking.

Bolt succeeds former top-ranked Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, who won the honor the past three years. Other winners in the award's 28-year history include Michael Schumacher, Carl Lewis and Tiger Woods.

"It's phenomenal to be with all them," said Bolt, who was the first man to win the three Olympic events in a single games since Carl Lewis in 1984. "I don't have the words for it. They are all among the best in history in the most diverse sports."

The late Florence Griffith-Joyner has been the only woman honored, in 1988.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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