Jamaica’s eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Bolt, 36, is the fastest sprinter in history and retired in August 2017 as a 19-time global champion.
He was crowned Olympic 100m and 200m champion at three successive Games – Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
“I’m living proof that if you work hard, you can get anything you want,” Bolt told BBC Sport.
“One thing my dad taught me was if you want something, work hard for it. He showed me by working hard to provide for me, my mum and my sister, so when he told me, I believed it.
“Just be focused and work towards it.”
Bolt, widely acknowledged as the greatest sprinter of all time and the only athlete to win both the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympics, clocked his enduring world record 100m time of 9.58 seconds at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
He also still holds the 200m world record of 19.19 seconds, which he set four days after his 100m record in Berlin, with those successes the first of 11 golds across four World Championships.
His first world medals (silvers in the 200m and 4x100m) came in Osaka in 2007 – a championships Bolt credits with “opening his eyes” to the hard work required for him to be successful. A false start in the 100m in Daegu four years later offered him another reminder to keep focused on his goals.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I could have gone to Daegu and won and then false-started at the Olympics.
“It reminded me to stick to what I knew. It kept me focused and kept me going.”
The Jamaican completed an unprecedented ‘triple triple’ of Olympic gold medals at his final Games in Rio – but he has since lost his 2008 4x100m title after team-mate Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance.
Bolt chose to retire after the 2017 World Championships in London, where he ended his glittering career with bronze in the men’s 100m.
Reflecting on his athletics career, Bolt said: “I feel accomplished. I accomplished all I wanted to in my sport.
“It is a great feeling to know that with the determination and sacrifice that I put in I could accomplish what I wanted to. I try to motivate people by telling them to believe in themselves.”
Previous winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement award include Billie Jean King, Pele, Bobby Charlton, Tanni Grey-Thompson, David Beckham, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Chris Hoy and last year’s recipient Simone Biles.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year takes place on Wednesday, 21 December at MediaCityUK in Salford.
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