Special Report: Yearender 2008
BEIJING, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Following are the top 10 athletes of the year 2008 selected by Xinhua News Agency: (来源：英语麦当劳 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates after his team won the men's 4x100m medley relay final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, in Beijing, Aug. 17, 2008.(Xinhua File Photo)
1. Michael Phelps (male, United States)
The 23-year-old swimmer won eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympic Games, not only refreshing his compatriot Mark Spitz's record of taking seven golds in one Olympic Games (Munich 1972), but also setting the total record of gold taking by a single person (14) in the Olympic history.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica jubilates after the men's 200m final at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, during Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Aug. 20, 2008. Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the title with 19.30 seconds and set a new world record. (Xinhua File Photo/Guo Dayue)Photo Gallery>>>
2. Usain Bolt (male, Jamaica)
The 22-year-old sprinter collected three Olympic gold medals in Beijing from 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 meters relay races, and simultaneously broke the world records of the three events. He was elected by IAAF as the best male athlete of the year 2008.
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo poses with the Ballon D'Or trophy ahead of their Champions League soccer match against AaB Aalborg in Manchester, northern England, December 10, 2008. (Xinhua File Photo)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (male, Portugal)
The 23-year-old football talent scored 42 goals for Manchester United, playing the key role in helping the club grab the titles of the English Premier League and the European Champions League. On Dec. 2, he was elected the best European footballer of 2008.
Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia celebrates after breaking the world record during the women's pole vault final of the athletics competition in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in this August 18, 2008 file photo. Predictably, Isinbayeva set a world women's pole vault record for the second time in as many Games. Agility, athleticism and artistry fused as Isinbayeva soared 5.05 metres to set her 24th world record.(Xinhua File Photo)
4. Yelena Isinbayeva (female, Russia)
The 26-year-old athlete set the world record of 5.04 meters in the women's pole vault at the IAAF Grand Prix Monaco leg. Then, she retained her Olympic title in Beijing with a new high of 5.05 meters. In November, she was elected by IAAF as the best female athlete of the year 2008.
Chinese diver Guo Jingjing waves to spactators during the awarding ceremony of women's 3m springboard at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube in Beijing, China, Aug. 17, 2008. Guo won the gold medal in the event with a score of 415.35 points(Xinhua File Photo)
5. Guo Jingjing (female, China)
The 26-year-old diver successfully defended her Olympic three-meter springboard sychronized title with her compatriot Wu Minxia, and retained her Olympic three-meter springboard single gold in Beijing. She has become the only athlete to sweep both three-meter springboard sychronized and single titles in two consecutive Olympic Games.
Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his trophy after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in their finals match at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London July 6, 2008.(Xinhua File Photo)
6. Rafael Nadal (male, Spain)
The 22-year-old tennis star claimed the men's singles titles in the French Open, Wimbledon and the Beijing Olympics this year. He also overtook Roger Federer from Switzerland to top the ATP ranking.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant stands with his daughter Natalia (L) and holds his other daughter Gianna along with the Maurice Podoloff Trophy after being named the NBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) during a presentation in Los Angeles, California May 6, 2008. Bryant, long regarded as one of the basketball league's top players, wins the award for the first time in his 12-year NBA career. (Xinhua File Photo)