The Gleaner's Man of the Year for 2008, Usain Bolt, raises his trophy during the awards function at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, yesterday. - Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer
Usain Bolt's trophy cabinet is getting awfully packed. After months of receiving national gold medals, honours and dozens of gifts and prizes, 'Lightning Bolt' took home another august award yesterday when he was named The Gleaner's Man of the Year 2008.
As the drum roll echoed from the speaker boxes at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, and images of Bolt on the Beijing tracks appeared on two large screens, the anxious audience relived the thrilling Olympic moments.
Then came the announcement that Usain Bolt was the Man of the Year and loud applause erupted.
Bolt was voted the top man by a selection panel from a stellar field that included fellow Olympians, entertainers, members of academia, the private sector, voluntary organisations and those in the public service who were presented with individual awards.
"It's very important," Bolt said of the Man of the Year title in an interview after The Gleaner's Honour Awards function.
Earlier, he launched his signature 'to the world' sign as he descended the platform with the coveted trophy.
Replying on behalf of the award recipients, Bolt expressed gratitude to The Gleaner for the initiative.
A stellar year
Looking back on the 2008 season, he said it had been a stellar year and thanked the "special people" who helped him achieve all he had, including his family, his management team, coach Glen Mills and close friends.
The last athlete to win the top award was Deon Hemmings in 1996.
Readers made the nominations and a selection committee chaired by Professor Gerald Lalor met on September 16 to choose the recipients.
The Gleaner's Honour Awards was started in 1979 and has perennially recognised model individuals and organisations.
Editor-in-Chief of The Gleaner, Garfield Grandison, said the award recipients show that Jamaica can achieve as a society and as a country.
The Honour Award recipients
Bobby-Gaye Wilkins, Nickel Ashmeade, Dexter Lee and Sade Dunbar
Certificates of Merit
Paralympians Vinnette Green, Sylvia Grant, Tanto Campbell and Alphanso Cunningham; Sports Administrator, Molly Rhone
Usain Bolt, Melaine Walker, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Asafa Powell and Dwight Thomas
Arts and Culture
The Calabash International Literary Festival
The University ofthe West Indies
Science and Technology
Professor Robert John Lancashire
The Jamaica Defence Force
Health and Wellness
The National Health Fund
The Jamaica Cancer Society
Bolt in action during the 2008 athletic season.
Man of the Year
He is only 22, but The Gleaner's Man of the Year, Usain Bolt, has been breaking records on the track for a very long time.
His world records in the 100 and 200 metres at the 2008 Beijing Olympics are just the culmination of six great years for the former William Knibb High student.
In Beijing, Bolt became the first man to win the sprint double and the 4x100m relay gold medals since American Carl Lewis did so at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He is, however, the first to set world records in all three at the same Games.
The lanky Bolt first hit the headlines in a big way at the age of 15 at the 2002 World Junior Championships in Jamaica when he set a world age-group record of 20.58 for 200m. He now holds world age group records for the distance for ages 16 (20.13, 17 (19.93), 18 (19.93) and 19 (19.88).
Name: Usain Bolt
Date of birth: August 21, 1986
Parish of birth: Trelawny
Schools attended: Waldensia Primary and All-Age School, William Knibb High
Height: 1.93 metres
Personal best times:100m - 9.69 seconds (world record);200m: 19.30 seconds (world record);ran second leg on the Jamaican quartet which clocked world-record 37.10 seconds at Beijing Olympics; 400m - 45.28 seconds.
Gold medallist in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Silver medal winner in the 200m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
World junior record holder for the 200m - 19.93.
Gold medallist in 200m at 2003 IAAF World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada.
Gold medallist in the 200m and 400m at the 2002 Central American and Caribbean Youth Championships.
Gold medallist in 200m at 2002 World Junior Championships in Kingston, Jamaica.
Received the IAAF's 'Rising Star' Award for 2002.
One of three finalists for the IAAF's 2008 Male Athlete of the Year.