The 36-year-old is the only athlete to win the 100m and 200m titles at three consecutive Olympics, having done so at Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016.
He is the fastest sprinter in history and still holds the 100m and 200m world records, which stand at 9.58 seconds and 19.19 secs respectively.
A Jamaican team featuring Bolt, Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater also hold the world record for the 4x100m relay, a time of 36.84 secs set in the London 2012 final.
"I've accomplished all I wanted to in my sport, so it's just a great feeling to know that with determination and sacrifice that I put in that I could accomplish what I wanted to," Bolt told BBC Sport.
"I always try to motivate people and say listen, believe in yourself and just go out there and do your best."
Eleven-time world champion Bolt officially called time on his glittering 13-year career following the 2017 World Championships in London.
His 100m world record was set at the Berlin World Championships in 2009, four days before he broke his own 200m world record at the same event.
American gymnast Simone Biles was last year's recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award, with other previous winners including Billie Jean King, Pele, Bobby Charlton, Tanni Grey-Thompson, David Beckham, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Chris Hoy.
BBC Sports Personality of the Year takes place next Wednesday evening at Media City UK in Salford.