Usain Bolt and Serena Williams named USSA 2012 Athletes of the Year

NEW YORK, USA, Monday December 31, 2012 – Jamaican sprint ace Usain Bolt has done it again, bagging yet another award as the United States Sports Academy’s (USSA) 2012 Male Athlete of the Year.

US tennis player Serena Williams took the honours as the USSA Female Athlete of the Year.

Bolt and Williams topped the voting for the USSA’s 28th annual Athlete of the Year awards, which are presented in conjunction with NBC Sports.

Sports lovers from around the world chose the top male and female athlete from 12 male and 12 female nominees in online balloting on the USSA website. Voting took place from December 1 through December 21.

The Athlete of the Year Award is the culmination of USSA’s Athlete of the Month programme in which the public nominates and votes online every month for the top athletes. Through those votes and an USSA selection committee, the male and female monthly winners are chosen, going on to form the list from which the Athlete of the Year is selected.

Bolt, USSA’s 2012 Male Athlete of the Year, remains the world’s fastest man by successfully defending his titles as the Olympic gold medallist in the 100 and 200 metres at the 2012 London Games, becoming the first man to win both events in successive Summer Olympics. The 26-year-old track star went on to take a third gold medal as the anchor of Jamaica’s world record-setting 400-metre relay team, repeating his hat-trick of wins at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Bolt triumphed over 11 finalists for the Male Athlete of the Year honour: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, US speedskater J.R. Celski, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, US decathlete Ashton Eaton, Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi, Scottish tennis player Andy Murray, US swimmer Michael Phelps and British cyclist Bradley Wiggins.

Michael Phelps emerged runner-up for the 2012 Male Athlete of the Year honour. The most-decorated Olympian in history pushed his total to 22 medals, including 18 gold, as he became the first man to win the same event at three consecutive Olympics in the 200-metre individual medley at the 2012 London Games.

Novak Djokovic, the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, finished third for the 2012 honour.

Serena Williams, the 2012 Female Athlete of the Year, took the gold medals in women’s singles and doubles at the 2012 London Games and won the championships at Wimbledon and the US Open, running her total of Grand Slam titles to 15.

The other finalists for the Female Athlete of the Year Award were Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka, Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, US gymnast Gabby Douglas, British heptahlete Jessica Ennis, US sprinter Allyson Felix, US swimmer Missy Franklin, US sprinter Carmelita Jeter, Italian figure skater Carolina Kostner, US golfer Jessica Korda, Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng and US alpine skier Lindsey Vonn.

Franklin finished second to Williams for the 2012 Female Athlete of the Year Award. The 17-year-old earned four gold medals and one bronze medal at the London Games. Vonn finished third in the female voting. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)