Bolt named top international athlete

Updated: January 1, 2009, 8:40 PM ET
Associated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt edged U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps in a vote for the 2008 athlete of the year by the international media.

Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva took the top place as sportswoman of the year and Spain's soccer team was voted team of the year for winning the European Championship.

In a poll by the International Sports Press Association, journalists from 96 nations gave Bolt 1,673 points to 1,557 for Phelps. Bolt won three gold medals, setting world records in the 100 meters, 200 and 400 relay to become the star of Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium. In the Water Cube, Phelps made history by winning eight golds in the pool for the United States.

Isinbayeva was undefeated outdoors in 2008, defending her Olympic title in Beijing with one of her four world records on the year.

The Spanish soccer squad earned 1,395 points, ahead of Jamaica's sprint relay team, Champions League winner Manchester United and the U.S. Olympic basketball team with 597.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press