The readers of the prominent world renowned athletics magazine, Athletics Weekly (AW) voted Usain Bolt The Greatest in athletics from the past 75 years. They voted Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in third place, The Greatest Female Athlete from the past 75 years.
AW Awards results
The Greatest Male Athlete
1 Usain Bolt – 55.3%
2 Haile Gebrselassie – 17.1%
3 Emil Zatopek – 14.5%
The Greatest Female Athlete
1 Tirunesh Dibaba – 31.1%
2 Fanny Blankers-Koen – 25.7%
3 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – 18.9%
According to the AW, our December magazine marks the publication’s diamond anniversary and to help us commemorate the occasion we asked our readers to vote for the top male and female athletes to have graced the sport since 1945.
The readers voted Jamaica’s sprint star Bolt and Ethiopia’s distance running great Dibaba claiming clear victories.
There is perhaps little surprise in that Bolt is a winner yet again, the magazine wrote.
“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.
Usain Bolt garnered 55.3% of the votes while Haile Gebrselassie – 17.1% in second place. Ethiopia Tirunesh Dibaba gets 31.1% of the votes, Fanny Blankers-Koen – 25.7% and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – 18.9%.
Source Athletics Weekly: Usain Bolt finished top of the podium again when it came to our readers’ choice for the greatest male athlete of the past 75 years. His most notable performances didn’t always come at global meetings, however, and in the December issue of AW, Steve Smythe highlights some of his significant results outside of his senior global successes.
It was over the distance of 400m in Bridgetown when Bolt first came to the attention of statisticians, when he ran a 48.28 in finishing second in the CARIFTA Games in 2001 as a 14-year-old. Who could have predicted then that he would go on to become the fastest and greatest 100m runner in history?
Over the next 16 years, he would evolve into the world’s greatest and most famous athlete, with a number of stunning world records, six individual Olympic and seven world sprint titles and also six global relay titles to his name. He ran in a remarkable 44 world championship races and is an icon of the sport.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the most decorated athletes in history
Fraser-Pryce competes in the 60 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres. Widely regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time, her achievements on the track since 2008 helped to elevate Jamaican athletics on the international scene. In the 100 m, her signature event, she is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and a four-time world champion, while in the 200 m, she is an Olympic silver medallist and the 2013 world champion.
A six-time Olympic medallist, Fraser-Pryce rose to prominence at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, becoming the first Caribbean woman to win gold in the 100 m. At the 2012 London Olympics, she became one of only three women in history to defend an Olympic 100 m title. After injury affected her season, she won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, becoming the first female sprinter to win 100 m medals at three consecutive Olympics.
At the World Championships, Fraser-Pryce is one of the most decorated athletes in history with 11 medals, including nine gold and two silver. She is the only sprinter, male or female, to win four world titles in the 100 m—in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019. Her win in 2019 at the age of 32 made her the oldest female sprinter, and the first mother in 24 years, to claim a global 100 m title. In 2013, she became the first woman to sweep the 100 m, 200 m and 4 × 100 m at a single World Championship, and was voted the IAAF World Athlete of the Year. She added the 60 m world title in 2014, making her the only woman to hold World Championship titles in all four events at the same time.
A dominant force in women's sprinting, Fraser-Pryce has won more global 100 m titles than any other female sprinter in history. Nicknamed the "Pocket Rocket" for her petite stature and explosive block starts, her personal best of 10.70 seconds is the joint fourth fastest of all time. She has recorded 15 runs below 10.80 s, the most for a female sprinter, and has posted the second most sub-11 s clockings with over 50. World Athletics hailed her as "the greatest female sprinter of her generation."
In 2019, she was listed among BBC's 100 inspiring and influential women in the world.