Triple Olympic gold winner Usain Bolt won the prestigious Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award.

The Jamaican was honoured for his sterling performances at the Beijing Olympics where he became the first man in history to set three world records in three events in the Track and Field section—9.69 seconds at the 100 metres, 19.30 seconds at the 200 metres, and 37.10 seconds along with his teammates at the 4x100 metres relay.

Bolt, nicknamed Lightning Bolt received this coveted award from legends—the Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Edwin Moses and Academy Member Michael Johnson in Toronto where he is to take part in the Festival of Excellence Track and Field meet.

He pipped other strong contenders for this award such as swimming sensation Michael Phelps who won an unprecedented eight Olympic gold medals, Manchester United star footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo, Spanish numero uno tennis player, Rafael Nadal, who won a record-tying fourth consecutive French Open, his first Wimbledon, and the Olympic gold, and the motorsports world champions, Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi.

An ecstatic Bolt after celebrating in his trademark style said, ''It is an honour to succeed such greats as multiple winner Roger Federer, Michael Schumacher, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.

With his incredible performances at the Beijing Summer Olympics, Bolt, who had become the youngest world junior gold-medalist ever after his victory at the 200m in the World Junior Championships in 2002, brought a new lease of life in sprint which suffered a lot because of murky doping scandals and controversies.

The lanky 22-year-old, who was also bestowed with a special Olympic award earlier, next aims to smash the 400m record in 2010.

The renowned Laureus World Sports Awards are the only awards of its kind held each year, honouring sportsmen and sportswomen for their tremendous performances in the preceding year. The prestigious World Sportswoman of the Year award was taken home by Russian pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva.