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Bolt wins Laureus World Sportsman award

AMERICAN sprinter Shawn Crawford has a surefire plan to beat world-record holder Usain Bolt in today's Festival of Excellence athletics meet in Toronto.

"I'm going to go down to the front desk and I'm going to tell them my name is Usain Bolt," Crawford said on Wednesday during a press conference in his hotel. "Hopefully they'll give me a key. I'm going to go up to his room, tie him up, he's going to miss the track meet and it's going to be easier for me."

That might be the best chance anyone has of slowing down Bolt, the 22-year-old Jamaican who yesterday was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for his record-breaking performances at the Beijing Olympics.

Last August, Bolt became the first man to win gold in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay in world record times in the same Olympics.

He received the award from two athletics greats, Laureus World Sports Academy member Michael Johnson and Academy chairman Edwin Moses.

Bolt will compete today against a field that includes Crawford, the gold medal winner in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics and Bernard Williams, who won gold in the 4x100-meter relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Crawford finished second to Bolt in the 200 in Beijing.

Bolt said he was working hard to regain the form he was in during last summer's Olympics.

"This is my first major 100 meters for the season," Bolt said. "Pretty much its just go out there and see where I'm at and just stay injury free."

Told of Crawford's plan, Bolt laughed but said he doesn't underestimate any of his competitors.

"I'm not unbeatable, that's the first thing I want to say," Bolt said. "I go out there always focused and ready, prepared for anything."

Bolt is the first track and field athlete to win the Laureus, snapping a four-year run by tennis star Roger Federer. The previous winners were cyclist Lance Armstrong, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and golfer Tiger Woods.

"I don't think there will be a sixth (winner) until I retire," Bolt joked.

Bolt won the award over Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, motor sport racers Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi and Portugal and Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

An avid Manchester United fan, Bolt met Ronaldo after a race in that city on May 17 and passed along some running tips to the speedy forward.

"Manchester United is my team so to beat Cristiano Ronaldo is a great feeling, really," Bolt said. "To know that I watch this guy, emulate this guy and now I beat him for a great award like this. I'm happy."

That meeting came hours after Bolt's most recent race. Competing on a temporary street track, Bolt ran the world's fastest 150 meters in 14.35 seconds, breaking Canadian Donovan Bailey's 12-year-old record of 14.99 in the seldom-run distance.

The race was Bolt's first since a car accident in April, when he crashed his BMW into a ditch along a highway. Bolt required surgery on his left foot after stepping onto thorns while getting out of the wreckage.

This year's Laureus Awards ceremony was scrapped in April because of the global economic crisis. Instead, winners are receiving their awards individually at a series of smaller presentations around the world.


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