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Bolt, Rudisha, Merritt Named IAAF 'Male Athlete of the Year' Finalists; Farah Left Off List

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COMMENTARY | The International Association of Athletics Federation announced the finalists for the "Male Athlete of the Year" award on Nov. 6, and the list has many Britons shaking their heads in wonder.

Jamaican Usain Bolt, American Aries Merritt and Kenyan David Rudisha each made the final list. British runner Mo Farah, however, was not among the three finalists.

Perhaps it's because he's missing something that all the other finalists have.

Bolt landed on the list after successfully defending his three Olympic gold medals in London. Individually, Bolt won his second consecutive titles in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, while he added a second consecutive Olympic gold as a member of the men's 4x100-meter relay. The men's relay set a world record of 36.84 in the event. Bolt is currently the world record holder in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints, as well.

Merritt won gold in the 110-meter hurdles when he defeated reigning world champion Jason Richardson. Merritt earned the Olympic win by 12-hundredths of a second in a time of 12.92.

Less than a month later, the 27-year-old American went on to smash the 110 hurdles world record in a Diamond League meet in Brussels. There, Merritt ran to a time of 12.80 to break the previous world record of 12.87, which was held by Cuban Dayron Robles.

Rudisha won gold in the 800-meter race with a showing that London Olympic organizer Sebastian Coe called "the standout performance of the Games." In winning gold, Rudisha also broke the world record -- which belonged to Coe during the 1970s and 1980s -- when he crossed the line in a time of 1:40.91. When he did so, Rudisha became the first man to ever run the 800 faster than 1:41.00.

By comparison, Farah left the 2012 Olympic Games with two gold medals. He earned the first in the 10,000-meter and the second in the 5,000-meter. His 10,000-meter gold medal was the first ever for Great Britain.

Sure, Farah completed a great and impressive feat in winning the distance double, but there's one thing the 29-year-old British runner is missing: a world record. There is no denying that he put out impressive performances in London, but Farah didn't do anything that had never been done before. He wasn't the first to win both the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter, and he didn't run the events faster than anyone else in history. Farah is good, but he's not the best ever in his respective distances.

Bolt, Merritt and Rudisha are.

When the long list of 10 candidates was published on Oct. 9, Farah was among the 10 listed, as were Jamaican Yohan Blake, American Ashton Eaton and Grenadian Kirani James.

The IAAF "Male Athlete of the Year" award will be announced and handed out on Nov. 24, 2012 in Barcelona.

Read more from this author: Aries Merritt Breaks World Record in 110-meter Hurdles in Final Race of 2012 Diamond League Season

Sandra Johnson is a longtime Olympic fan. While working for the United States Olympic Committee and living in the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., Johnson had the opportunity to immerse herself in the Olympic Movement. Follow her on Twitter: @SandraJohnson46

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