by Jodee Brown
Jamaica can now lay claim to being only the third country ever to sweep IAAF Athlete of the Year honors after Olympic legends, Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Prycetook home the male and female titles respectively at a gala on Saturday in Monaco.
Neither athlete winning was a shock in truth as both left their marks on the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, with both winning the 100m and 200m titles as well as anchoring Jamaica to gold in the 4 by 100 relays. Bolt beat out British long distance Olympic champion,Mohamed Farah and Ukranian high jumper, Bohdan Bondarenko on the men’s side while Fraser-Pryce beat New Zealand’s world champion shot-putter, Valerie Adams and the Czech Republic’s 400m queen, Zuzana Hejnova.
While Bolt’s victory continued his stellar run of consecutive athlete of the year triumphs (five in the last six year – exception being 2010), the win for Fraser-Prycebroke a 23 year drought for Jamaican women in relation to the award, being the first since legendary sprinter, Merlene Ottey to do so. The win comes after Fraser-Pryce was surprisingly left off the shortlist last year despite retaining her 100m title at last year’s Olympics in London.
Prior to Jamaica’s sweep this year, only the United States in 1988 (Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner) and the United Kingdom in 1993 (Colin Jackson and Sam Gunnell).