Usain Bolt became the first sprinter to win gold in the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m at a third straight Olympic Games in Brazil, cementing his place among the greatest athletes of all time.
The Jamaican, who is set to retire following the World Championships in London next year, has now received the accolade a record six times, beating off competition from Mo Farah and Wayde van Niekerk.
Following the announcement, the 30-year-old posted on Instagram: “Thank you all!!!! Honoured to be your @iaaf Athlete of the Year for the sixth time #Blessed #Humbled.”
Bolt added on Twitter: “Salute to all the nominees for the @iaaf Athlete of the Year award. To all the athletes out there keep working hard & believing in all your dreams.”
Thank you all Honoured to to be your @iaaf Athlete of the Year for the 6th time #Blessed #Humbled
Salute to all the nominees for the @iaaf athlete of year award. To all the athletes out there keep working hard & believing in your dreams.
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) December 2, 2016
Almaz Ayana became the third Ethiopian woman after Genzebe Dibaba and Meseret Defar to win the annual award after claiming 10,000m gold and 5,000m bronze in Rio.
She stormed to the 10,000m title in a world record time of 29 minutes and 17.45 seconds, with third place over the shorter distance her only defeat of the year, and was picked ahead of Elaine Thompson and Anita Wlodarczyk.
Sprinter Andre De Grasse won the Male Rising Star award after podium finishes in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m, while 22-year-old Nafissatou Thiam was victorious in the female category having won Olympic heptathlon gold.
The Coaching Achievement award went to Harry Marra, who guided Ashton Eaton to a second successive Olympic decathlon victory and Brianne Theisen-Eaton to heptathlon bronze.