Retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has been voted the best male track and field athlete in the past 75 years by Athletics Weekly.
The UK-based track and field publication recently marked their diamond anniversary (75th anniversary) by asking readers to vote for the top male and female athletes to have graced the sport since 1945.
The majority of readers who voted, 55.3%, said the title of “Greatest” went to Usain Bolt. He received more votes than Ethiopian long-distance runner Haile Gebrselassie (17.1%) and Czechoslovak long-distance runner, Emil Zatopek (14.5%).
There is perhaps little surprise that Bolt won the title. During his career, he dominated the sport for almost a decade and changed the face of Jamaican sprinting.
“I don’t think any athlete, any sportsman or woman since Muhammad Ali has captured the public imagination and propelled their sport as quickly and as far as Usain Bolt has,” World Athletics president Seb Coe once said of the sprinting superstar.
An eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Bolt is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016). He also won two 4 × 100 relay gold medals. He gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the first person to hold both records since fully automatic time became mandatory.
Bolt is also an eleven-time World Champion. He retired from the sport in 2017.
On the women’s side, the title of Greatest Female Athlete went to Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba who received 31.1% of the votes. Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was ranked third, with 18.9% of the votes.