Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named Female World Athlete of the Year.
Thompson-Herah stormed to victory in the women’s 100m at Tokyo 2020, setting a new Olympic record of 10.61 seconds.
She then earned gold in a fiercely-contested 200m race, becoming the first female athlete to successfully defend her Olympic title across both sprint distances.
Thompson-Herah capped off her Olympic campaign with a gold medal in the 4x100m relay. She did not stop there, however, lowering her personal best in her first post-Olympic race to 10.54 seconds.
Despite her remarkable year, the 29-year-old revealed she had more to give. She suggested she could break the 100m world record of 10.49, telling World Athletics President Seb Coe: “Anything is possible.”
Thompson-Herah was up against four other nominees, including Sifan Hassan. The Dutch distance runner made history in Tokyo, winning gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m events, as well as bronze in the 1,500m.
Hassan became the first ever athlete to medal in all three of these events at the same Games.
Faith Kipyegon, who set a new Olympic record as she beat Hassan in the 1,500m final, was also nominated.
Making up the shortlist was Sydney McLaughlin of the United States, who won 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay Olympic gold this summer, and Yulimar Rojas, the long jump world record holder.
Rojas became Venezuela’s first ever female Olympic champion when she triumphed at Tokyo 2020.
Over 300,000 votes were cast on social media to determine the winner of the Female World Athlete of the Year award. The opinion of the World Athletics Council also determined who received the accolade.
Athing Mu of the US received the Female Rising Star Award. The 19-year-old earned two Olympic gold medals at Tokyo 2020, triumphing in the 800m and 4x400m.
She also set a new world under-20 indoor 800m record this year, and smashed the North American under-20 records at 400m and 800m.
“This award shows all young girls that dreams can indeed come true,” Mu said.
India’s Anju Bobby George, a former long jump athlete, was named Woman of the Year. This was for her efforts advancing athletics in her home country.