BERLIN (dpa) – Usain Bolt returns to the Bird’s Nest in Beijing, where it all started in 2008, in search of more silverware in a sports year 2015 dominated by world championships.
With no Olympics or football World Cup on the agenda, the Jamaican sprinter Bolt is out for another sprint treble in August after a quiet 2014 season.
Bolt reached global superstar status by winning the 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m races in world record time at the 2008 Games in the Chinese capital. He repeated the feat 2012 in London and also has trebles from the 2009 and 2013 worlds.
Tiger Woods wants to win a golf major again at last, while his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn hopes to light up the skiing home world championships in Vail in February after missing the Sochi Olympics.
The cricket and rugby World Cups are other 2015 highlights, while football sees the women’s World Cup in Canada, and men’s continental championships in Asia, Africa, South America and the Concacaf region.
The ruling football body FIFA will decide whether to move the controversial 2022 World Cup in Qatar to the winter months to avoid oppressive summer heat. It will also elect its president in May, with Joseph Blatter seeking a fifth term.
The International Olympic Committee will implement a recently approved reform package and elect the host of the 2022 Winter Games from Almaty and Beijing.
The IOC decision will come three weeks before Beijing is the centre of athletics August 22-30, the worlds also marking a stepping stone for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
A third triple-triple is top of Bolt’s agenda, but he will need to fight off big resistance from the likes of American Justin Gatlin who had the fastest 100m and 200m times in 2014.
Bolt remains unbeaten at major finals, his only setback being disqualification from the 100m final at the 2011 worlds when he false started.
The 28-year-old Bolt remains the face of athletics which is also investigating allegations by a German broadcaster into doping in Russia, and will have a new president of the ruling body IAAF – with Britain’s Sebastian Coe seeking the job and Ukraine’s Sergey Bubka probably as well. Australia meanwhile gets the early attention with football’s Asian Cup, where Japan aim to defend the title, and the first tennis grand slam of the year at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
There Swiss veteran Roger Federer will aim for an 18th title at the majors, more than two years after his so far last at Wimbledon 2012.
His main rivals are unchanged and led by world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams will hope to maintain her dominance for another year but rising challengers for the American include Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.
Australia also jointly hosts the cricket World Cup with New Zealand in February and March, and with Melbourne has the traditional start of the Formula One season where Briton Lewis Hamilton aims to defend the 2014 crown and ex-champion Sebastian Vettel debuts for Ferrari.