Usain Bolt and Simone Biles have been named as the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco.
The pair emerged as the winners of the vote by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, and received their awards in front of a crowd that included Prince Albert and Princess Charlene.
Bolt joined Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Kelly Slater as a four-time Laureus Award winner, having scooped the male honour.
The Jamaican sprinter won gold medals in the 100 meters, 200m and 4x100m relay for the third consecutive Olympics at Rio 2016.
Last month, he returned the 4x100m relay gold from Beijing 2008, after team-mate Nesta Carter was disqualified for doping.
Bolt saw off competition from American basketball stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry, Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, and Britain’s athletics and tennis stars Mo Farah and Andy Murray.
The sportswoman award was claimed by Biles after she won four Olympic gold medals and a bronze at Rio 2016, aged just 19.
Fellow Americans Allyson Felix and Katie Ledecky were also nominated after their success in athletics and swimming respectively.
German tennis star Angelique Kerber, British cyclist Laura Trott and Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson were also among the nominees.
Michael Phelps, who had been nominated for the men’s honor on five occasions but never won, was given the Comeback of the Year award.
It followed the American going into retirement by winning a further five Olympic golds, taking his tally to 23 overall.
Italy’s Beatrice Vio, the only quadruple amputee in international wheelchair fencing, won the Disability Award.
The 19-year-old won gold and bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Germany’s Nico Rosberg was given the Breakthrough of the Year Award having won a maiden Formula One World Championship, after ending as the runner-up in 2014 and 2015.
Rosberg, who has recently retired from the sport, saw off competition from Olympic track and field world-record breakers Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia and Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa for the honour.
English Premier League champions Leicester City were also among the nominees for the award, but they instead picked up the Spirit of Sport Award after their unlikely triumph last season.
Downhill mountain biker Rachel Atherton of Britain won the Action Sportsperson of the Year, while the Chicago Cubs’ first Major League Baseball World Series victory for 108 years saw them claim the Team of the Year honor.
The Laureus Sport for Good Award was presented to the South African based Waves for Change initiative, who use the sport of surfing project for vulnerable young adults growing up in South Africa’s most violent communities.
The Barcelona Under-12 football team were voted as winners of the inaugural Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award, after the humanity and warmth they showed in consoling a Japanese team who they had beaten.
Yesterday the Refugee Olympic Team were presented with the Laureus Sport for Good Award for Sporting Inspiration.
By Michael Pavitt
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.