Olympic officials name best London and Sochi athletes

Fri Nov 7, 2014 12:02pm EST
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By Julian Linden

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Kenyan middle distance runner David Rudisha was named as the best male athlete of the 2012 London Olympics at the inaugural Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) awards ceremony on Friday.

Chinese table tennis player Li Xiaoxia won the women's award while Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen and Dutch speed skater Irene Wust were recognized as the top male and female athletes at this year's Sochi Winter Olympics.

Olympic officials hope the awards, held for the first time as part of an initiative to modernize the Games, will become the "Oscars of Olympics sport."

The prizes were presented at a gala ceremony in Bangkok, attended by more than 1,000 delegates from over 200 countries.

For the inaugural presentation, the winners were decided by a special committee set up by ANOC but in future will be decided by the public, voting through media.

Rudisha, who broke the world record to win the 800 meters in London two years ago, had to beat a star-studded field to win the men's individual award.

"To win this award really means a lot to me, it's very special," Rudisha said. "I can't really forget about it (winning gold), it was the greatest moment in my career.

Li claimed two gold medals in London, in singles and the team event, and was the only Chinese winner at Friday's awards.   Continued...

Gold medallist David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya shows his medal during the presentation ceremony for the men's 800m event at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 9, 2012.  REUTERS/Eddie Keogh