Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and American swimmer Jessica Hardy were named Male and Female Athletes of the Month for August by the United States Sports Academy.
Bolt enhanced his reputation as the world’s fastest man at the Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Berlin, as he lowered his world-record times in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, each by .11 seconds. He won the 100 in 9.58 seconds and took the 200 in 19.19. He also added a gold medal in the 4X100 relay team, running a leg for a Jamaican team that finished in 37.31, just .21 seconds short of the world record the team set previously at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. He previously set the 100 and 200 marks in Beijing.
Hardy broke the world record in the 100 breaststroke by nearly half a second at the 2009 U.S. Open National Championships. She finished the breaststroke in 1 minute, 4.45 seconds, lowering the old mark of 1:04.84 set by American Rebecca Soni at last month’s world championships. She also set a world record in the 50 breaststroke with a split of 29.95 seconds in a 100 backstroke time trial.
Finishing second to Bolt on the ballot was South Korean golfer Y.E. Yang, who became the first Asian man to win a major, upsetting Tiger Woods in the final round of the PGA Championship. Yang was ranked No. 110 in the world before his breakthrough win.
Finishing runner-up on the women’s ballot was Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, who broke her own pole vault world record by one centimeter at 5.06 meters at the Golden League meet. She set her previous record of 5.05 at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. She has broken the world outdoor and indoor marks 27 times.
Ethiopian distance runner Kenenisa Bekele was third on the men’s ballot. Bekele became the first athlete to win the 5,000 and 10,000 meters in the same IAAF World Championships, duplicating a feat he achieved at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The 10,000 win was Bekele’s fourth in the event at the world championships, having also won in 2003, 2005, and 2007.
Swimmer Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe finished third on the women’s ballot, as she regained the 200 backstroke world title with a time of 2:04.81 at the International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Championships.