2016 World Athletes of the Year Men – In their own words ()2016 World Athletes of the Year Men – In their own words () © Copyright

In Their Own Words I

The men's long list for the 2016 World Athlete of the Year has been announced. These are the words the athletes used to describe their own incredible accomplishments.

Usain Bolt (JAM)

After taking the 200m crown in Rio, his eighth Olympic title – he went on to win a ninth gold medal in the relay.

“What else can I do to prove I am the greatest? I’m trying to be one of the greatest, to be among Ali and Pele.

“I have made the sport exciting, I have made people want to see the sport. I have put the sport on a different level.”

Thiago Braz da Silva (BRA)

After winning Brazil’s first Olympic title in 32 years.

“We worked really hard for this moment – not for the gold, but to take a medal. For Brazil, it is amazing. I try to do my best for the people, they believe in us.

“I couldn’t believe I cleared 6.03m. I had to say to myself ‘okay, what just happened here?’ A gold medal, a jump of 6.03m, and an Olympic record. It’s all so crazy.”

Ashton Eaton (USA)

After defending his decathlon crown from London, equalling the Olympic record of 8893 points.

“To win two Olympic golds in a row like Daley Thompson is very special. One day, I’m going to have to meet Daley, shake his hand and thank him for giving me something to chase after.

“Can I do three in a row? Maybe you should ask Daley.”

Mo Farah (GBR)

After winning the 5000m in Rio, his fourth Olympic gold.

“It’s every athlete’s dream but I can’t believe it. Being away from my family for so long, I knew I had to do something for them.

“I just want to go home now and see my beautiful kids and hang my medals around their necks.”

Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)

After winning the Olympic marathon title. He missed out on the world record by 7 seconds in London earlier this year.

“It meant more than everything, all that came before in my career, to win Olympic gold. I wanted to bring it home to Kenya.”

“Yes, the world record is in my mind. I can’t say when, but I know I can do it.”

Conseslus Kipruto (KEN)

After winning Kenya's ninth consecutive 3000m steeplechase gold in an Olympic record 8:03.28.

“[Ezekiel] Kemboi told me it would be his last race and he was going to win. He usually destroys somebody’s mind but I told him, ‘okay, let the track show who is the king’. I didn’t give him a chance.

“I looked up at the screen and I saw they were far from me, so I said: why not start celebrating? That’s when the happiness hit me, and for the last 100 metres I knew I was the champion.”

Omar McLeod (JAM)

After winning Olympic 110m hurdles gold, Jamaica's first title in the event.

“The feeling is indescribable. I don’t know what's going through my mind right now. I need to go back and just recite it a couple times, saying, ‘You’re an Olympic champion’.”

David Rudisha (KEN)

After winning 800m gold in Rio, his second Olympic title.

“London [2012] was one of my special races, running that night, breaking the world record – it was one of the greatest 800m races. But today was special to defend my title. Nobody since 1960 and '64 has done that.

“I am so excited. It is the greatest moment of my career.” 

Christian Taylor (USA)

After winning his second Olympic triple jump title.

“The job is done. I never thought on my first jump that would be the gold medal jump. I wanted it so much. It came together, the stars aligned.” 

Wayde van Niekerk (RSA)

After taking Olympic 400m gold in a world record 43.03.

“I’d love to give you the long testimony, but I don’t remember a thing. I don’t even think I was in that race; that’s how unreal it was.”