Complete roster of World Athlete of the Year Award winners

Photo of Usain Bolt and Faith Kipyegon.

Established in 1988, this annual accolade acknowledges the exceptional achievements of male and female track and field athletes during a given calendar year. Delve into the comprehensive collection of winners here. The esteemed World Athlete of the Year award ceremony for 2023 is scheduled for Monday, December 11, in Monte Carlo.

Since its initiation, this award has celebrated outstanding athletes, with Usain Bolt securing a remarkable six victories. Renowned multiple winners, including Hicham El Guerrouj and Yelena Isinbaeva, have each claimed the honor three times. Other two-time awardees encompass Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Sanya Richards, Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge, and Mondo Duplantis, who is a candidate this year.

Introduced in 2005, the Rising Star of the Year award highlights the best under-20 athlete. A previous Rising Star recipient, Nafissatou Thiam, later ascended to claim the World Athlete of the Year title. Erriyon Knighton stands as the sole athlete to achieve two Rising Star awards. Explore the complete list of World Athlete of the Year and Rising Star of the Year winners below.

Recipients of the World Athlete of the Year Awards Winners

1988Carl Lewis (USA)Florence Griffith Joyner (USA)
1989Roger Kingdom (USA)Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)
1990Steve Backley (GBR)Merlene Ottey (JAM)
1991Carl Lewis (USA)Katrin Krabbe (GER)
1992Kevin Young (USA)Heike Henkel (GER)
1993Colin Jackson (GBR)Sally Gunnell (GBR)
1994Noureddine Morceli (ALG)Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
1995Jonathan Edwards (GBR)Gwen Torrence (USA)
1996Michael Johnson (USA)Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)
1997Wilson Kipketer (DEN)Marion Jones (USA)
1998Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)Marion Jones (USA)
1999Michael Johnson (USA)Gabriela Szabo (ROU)
2000Jan Zelezny (CZE)*Marion Jones (USA)
2001Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Stacy Dragila (USA)
2002Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Paula Radcliffe (GBR)
2003Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Hestrie Cloete (RSA)
2004Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2005Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2006Asafa Powell (JAM)Sanya Richards (USA)
2007Tyson Gay (USA)Meseret Defar (ETH)
2008Usain Bolt (JAM)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2009Usain Bolt (JAM)Sanya Richards (USA)
2010David Rudisha (KEN)Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
2011Usain Bolt (JAM)Sally Pearson (AUS)
2012Usain Bolt (JAM)Allyson Felix (USA)
2013Usain Bolt (JAM)Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)
2014Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)Valerie Adams (NZL)
2015Ashton Eaton (USA)Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)
2016Usain Bolt (JAM)Almaz Ayana (ETH)
2017Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)
2018Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)Caterine Ibarguen (COL)
2019Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)Dalilah Muhammad (USA)
2020Mondo Duplantis (SWE)Yulimar Rojas (VEN)
2021Karsten Warholm (NOR)Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM)
2022Mondo Duplantis (SWE)Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (USA)
2023Noah Lyles (USA)Faith Kipyegon (KEN)
World Athlete of the Year Awards

Recipients of the Rising Star of the Year Award

2005Harry Aikines-Aryeetey (GBR)
2006Margus Hunt (EST)
2007Ruth Bosibori (KEN)
2008Pamela Jelimo (KEN)
2010Till Wöschler (GER)Angelica Bengtsson (SWE)
2011Kirani James (GRN)Christin Hussong (GER)
2012Keshorn Walcott (TTO)Anthonique Strachan (BAH)
2013Mary Cain (USA)
2014Wilhem Belocian (FRA)Morgan Lake (GBR)
2015Abdul Hakim Sani Brown (JPN)Candace Hill (USA)
2016Andre De Grasse (CAN)Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)
2017Karsten Warholm (NOR)Yulimar Rojas (VEN)
2018Mondo Duplantis (SWE)Sydney McLaughlin (USA)
2019Selemon Barega (ETH)Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR)
2021Erriyon Knighton (USA)Athing Mu (USA)
2022Erriyon Knighton (USA)Adriana Vilagos
2023Emmanuel Wanyonyi (KEN)Faith Cherotich (KEN)
Rising Star of the Year Award


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