Olympic champions Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica and Karsten Warholm of Norway have been named the World Athletes of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021, a ceremony held virtually on Wednesday (1).
Thompson-Herah produced one of the finest sprint seasons in history this year, retaining her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and adding a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. On top of her Olympic triple, she also clocked world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists and coming within touching distance of the long-standing world records.
“I just take it year by year,” said Thompson-Herah. “I went very close to the world record so you know, anything is possible. No spikes hanging up any time soon!
“The World Championships in Oregon is most definitely my next big target,” she added. “It is close to home, I hope friends and family can come out and watch. I hope I get some crowd as well. That couldn’t happen in Tokyo but hopefully in Eugene I can get my friends and family to come and cheer me on.”
The other award winners were:
Female Rising Star
The US teenager was undefeated at 800m all year, winning Olympic gold at the distance following a long but successful collegiate season. She broke the senior US 800m record with her triumph in Tokyo and then improved it to 1:55.04 just a few weeks later. She also excelled at 400m, clocking a North American U20 record of 49.57 for the distance.
“It means the world to know that my support goes beyond friends and families and extends worldwide,” said Mu. “This award shows all young girls that your dreams can, indeed, come true.”
Male Rising Star
Throughout 2021 the 17-year-old took down several marks that had belonged to sprint legend Usain Bolt. Knighton first set world U18 bests of 20.11 and 20.04 over 200m, but his rapid rise continued and he broke Bolt’s world U20 record for the distance with 19.88 and 19.84. He went on to finish fourth in the Olympic final with 19.93.
“I’m really thankful for this award,” said Knighton. “One of my most memorable moments of this year was making it to the Olympic final in Tokyo and finishing fourth at the age of 17.”
Member Federations Award
Federacion Costarricense de Atletismo (Costa Rica)
In recognition for their outstanding training, competition and development programme roll-out over the past 12 months, for their consultative work on the World Athletics Kids’ Athletics programme, and for successfully staging a host of international events over the past year.
Coaching Achievement Award
The US coach has guided the careers of many legendary athletes over the years, but this year two of his charges made history. Allyson Felix became the most decorated female track and field Olympian in history after winning her 10th and 11th Olympic gold medals in Tokyo, while training partner Sydney McLaughlin broke two world records in the 400m hurdles and claimed Olympic gold in the discipline.
SOURCE: WORLD ATHLETICS