T&FN ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
TOP 10 VOTING — MEN

T&FN began formally selecting men’s AOYs in 1959. The voting process has evolved through multiple methodologies since then.

For ’59 through ’64 no specific point totals were printed in the magazine, nor was there any ranking beyond the announcement of the winner. Unfortunately, our archives contain no paper trail that allows any reconstruction of the details.

For ’66 through ’70, the international panel voted for 5 athletes, who were scored 5-4-3-2-1. The next year the system was 6-5-4-3-2-1, and in ’72 the current 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system was introduced. So what follows is the top 10 for each of the years, where known.

Codes: * = athlete was also in the top 10 of the previous year’s voting; the number shown is % of a perfect score.

Trivia

The top scorers (scored 10-9-8….): 1. Carl Lewis 74; 2. Sergey Bubka 70; 3. Michael Johnson 68; 4. Hicham El Guerrouj 66; 5. Edwin Moses 63.

Most years in the Top 10: Bubka 10; Lewis, Moses & Johnson 9; El Guerrouj 8

There have been 5 perfect scores: Henry Rono ’78, Johnson ’96, Usain Bolt ’08 & ’09, David Rudisha ’10.

Lewis, El Guerrouj & Rudisha are the only 3-time winners, Lewis & Rudisha the only 3 in a rows.

The best U.S. years were ’66, ’67 & ’10, with 6 of the top 10.

The worst U.S. year was ’86, the only shutout (there were single scorers in ’80, ’97 & ’04).

The year with the least turnover was ’07, when no fewer than 7 of the ’06 Top 10 returned. On 3 occasions there have been 6 repeaters: ’67 (including the top 6), ’85, ’12 & ’16 (including the top 5)… There has never been a year with no repeaters, but single-shots have come up 5 times: ’70, ’73, ’89, ’90 & ’11.

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1959
1. Martin Lauer West Germany   

 

1960
1. Rafer Johnson US   

 

1961
1. Ralph Boston US   

 

1962
1. Peter Snell New Zealand   

 

1963
1. C.K. Yang Taiwan   

 

1964
1. Peter Snell New Zealand   

 

1965
1. Ron Clarke Australia 87.7%
2. Randy Matson US   
3. Michel Jazy France   
4. Kip Keino Kenya   
5. Ludvík Danek Czechoslovakia   
6. Ralph Boston US   
7. Gyula Zsivótzky Hungary   
8. Gaston Roelants Belgium   
9. Jürgen May East Germany   

 

1966
1. Jim Ryun US 95.6%
2. Tommie Smith US   
3. Randy Matson * US   
4. Kip Keino * Kenya   
5. Ron Clarke * Australia   
6. Janis Lusis Soviet Union   
7. Romuald Klim Soviet Union   
8. Ralph Boston * US   
9. Bill Toomey US   
10. Al Oerter US   

 

1967
1. Jim Ryun * US 94.4%
2. Randy Matson * US   
3. Tommie Smith * US   
4. Janis Lusis * Soviet Union   
5. Ron Clarke * Australia   
6. Kip Keino * Kenya   
7. Kurt Bendlin West Germany   
8. Ron Whitney US   
9. Jim Hines US   
10. Bob Seagren US   

 

1968
1. Bob Beamon US 89.6%
2. Janis Lusis * Soviet Union   
3. Lee Evans US   
4. David Hemery Great Britain   
5. Kip Keino * Kenya   
6. Al Oerter US   
7. Tommie Smith * US   
8. Viktor Saneyev Soviet Union   
=9. Ron Clarke * Australia   
=9. Bob Seagren * US   

 

1969
1. Bill Toomey US 84.0%
2. John Carlos US   
3. Anatoliy Bondarchuk Soviet Union   
4. Viktor Saneyev * Soviet Union   
5. Willie Davenport US   
6. Janis Lusis * Soviet Union   
7. Lee Evans * US   
8. Jorma Kinnunen Finland   
9. Marty Liquori US   
=10. Naftali Bon Kenya   
=10. John Pennell US   

 

1970
1. Randy Matson US 66.0%
2. Wolfgang Nordwig East Germany   
3. Kerry O’Brien Australia   
4. Chihchin Ni China   
5. Jean-Claude Nallet France   
6. Chris Papanicoláou Greece   
7. Pauli Nevala Finland   
8. Yevgeniy Arzhanov Soviet Union   
9. Viktor Saneyev * Soviet Union   
10. Ralph Mann US   

 

1971
1. Rod Milburn US 82.8%
2. John Smith US   
3. Juha Väätäinen Finland   
4. Valeriy Borzov Soviet Union   
5. Don Quarrie Jamaica   
6. Wolfgang Nordwig * East Germany   
7. Pat Matzdorf US   
8. Jay Silvester US   
9. Yevgeniy Arzhanov * Soviet Union   
10. Dave Bedford Great Britain   

 

1972
1. Lasse Viren Finland 91.0%
2. John Akii-Bua Uganda   
3. Nikolay Avilov Soviet Union   
4. Valeriy Borzov * Soviet Union   
5. Frank Shorter US   
6. Anatoliy Bondarchuk Soviet Union   
7. Viktor Saneyev Soviet Union   
8. Pekka Vasala Finland   
9. Rod Milburn * US   
10. Bernd Kannenberg West Germany   

 

1973
1. Ben Jipcho Kenya 89.3%
2. Al Feuerbach US   
3. Rod Milburn * US   
4. Dwight Stones US   
5. Emiel Puttemans Belgium   
6. Filbert Bayi Tanzania   
7. Ricky Bruch Sweden   
8. Steve Williams US   
9. Rick Wohlhuter US   
10. Klaus Wolfermann West Germany   

 

1974
1. Rick Wohlhuter * US 95.5%
2. Jim Bolding US   
3. Brendan Foster Great Britain   
4. Bruce Jenner US   
5. Ian Thompson Great Britain   
6. Filbert Bayi * Tanzania   
7. Ben Jipcho * Kenya   
8. Viktor Saneyev Soviet Union   
9. Silvio Leonard Cuba   
10. Dwight Stones * US   

 

1975
1. John Walker New Zealand 84.3%
2. Brian Oldfield US   
3. Karl-Hans Riehm West Germany   
4. Guy Drut France   
5. Bruce Jenner * US   
6. Viktor Saneyev * Soviet Union   
7. Anders Gärderud Sweden   
8. João Oliveira Brazil   
9. Mike Boit Kenya   
10. Filbert Bayi * Tanzania   

 

1976
1. Alberto Juantorena Cuba 95.0%
2. Bruce Jenner * US   
3. Mac Wilkins US   
4. Edwin Moses US   
5. Lasse Viren Finland   
6. Viktor Saneyev * Soviet Union   
7. Anders Gärderud * Sweden   
8. John Walker * New Zealand   
9. Don Quarrie Jamaica   
10. Miklós Németh Hungary   

 

1977
1. Alberto Juantorena * Cuba 95.0%
2. Edwin Moses * US   
3. Rolf Beilschmidt East Germany   
4. Władysław Kozakiewicz Poland   
5. Steve Ovett Great Britain   
6. Miruts Yifter Ethiopia   
7. Udo Beyer East Germany   
8. Bill Rodgers US   
9. Samson Kimobwa Kenya   
10. Daniel Bautista Mexico   

 

1978
1. Henry Rono Kenya 100.0%
2. Volodimir Yashchenko Soviet Union   
3. Udo Beyer * East Germany   
4. Edwin Moses * US   
5. Steve Ovett * Great Britain   
6. Wolfgang Schmidt East Germany   
7. Renaldo Nehemiah US   
8. Raul Gonzales Mexico   
9. Clancy Edwards US   
10. Michael Wessing West Germany   

 

1979
1. Seb Coe Great Britain 95.8%
2. Renaldo Nehemiah * US   
3. Edwin Moses * US   
4. Larry Myricks US   
5. Udo Beyer * East Germany   
6. Steve Ovett * Great Britain   
7. Wolfgang Schmidt * East Germany   
8. Harald Schmid West Germany   
9. João Oliveira Brazil   
10. Pietro Mennea Italy   

 

1980
1. Edwin Moses * US 99.2%
2. Pietro Mennea * Italy   
3. Steve Ovett * Great Britain   
4. Władysław Kozakiewicz Poland   
5. Lutz Dombrowski East Germany   
6. Miruts Yifter Ethiopia   
7. Daley Thompson Great Britain   
8. Gerd Wessig East Germany   
9. Seb Coe * Great Britain   
10. Karl-Hans Riehm West Germany   

 

1981
1. Seb Coe * Great Britain 97.0%
2. Carl Lewis US   
3. Renaldo Nehemiah US   
4. Edwin Moses * US   
5. Steve Ovett * Great Britain   
6. Ben Plucknett US   
7. Alberto Salazar US   
8. Konstantin Volkov Soviet Union   
9. Yuriy Syedikh Soviet Union   
10. Henry Rono Kenya   

 

1982
1. Carl Lewis * US 96.2%
2. Daley Thompson Great Britain   
3. Bob Roggy US   
4. Keith Connor Great Britain   
5. Alberto Salazar * US   
6. Yuriy Syedikh * Soviet Union   
7. Dave Moorcroft Great Britain   
8. Harald Schmid West Germany   
9. Milt Ottey Canada   
10. Luis Delís Cuba   

 

1983
1. Carl Lewis * US 98.8%
2. Edwin Moses US   
3. Sergey Litvinov Soviet Union   
4. Calvin Smith US   
5. Steve Cram Great Britain   
6. Rob de Castella Australia   
7. Detlef Michel East Germany   
8. Greg Foster US   
9. Jianhua Zhu China   
10. Daley Thompson * Great Britain   

 

1984
1. Carl Lewis * US 99.6%
2. Uwe Hohn East Germany   
3. Yuriy Syedikh Soviet Union   
4. Saïd Aouita Morocco   
5. Joaquim Cruz Brazil   
6. Sergey Bubka Soviet Union   
7. Edwin Moses * US   
8. Daley Thompson * Great Britain   
9. Seb Coe Great Britain   
10. Carlos Lopes Portugal   

 

1985
1. Saïd Aouita * Morocco 93.8%
2. Steve Cram Great Britain   
3. Sergey Bubka * Soviet Union   
4. Willie Banks US   
5. Uwe Hohn * East Germany   
6. Ulf Timmermann * East Germany   
7. Carl Lewis * US   
8. Steve Jones Great Britain   
9. Mike Conley US   
10. Joaquim Cruz * Brazil   

 

1986
1. Yuriy Syedikh Soviet Union 88.4%
2. Saïd Aouita * Morocco   
3. Ben Johnson Canada   
4. Sergey Bubka * Soviet Union   
5. Daley Thompson Great Britain   
6. Gabriel Tiacoh Côte d’Ivoire   
7. Steve Cram * Great Britain   
8. Seb Coe Great Britain   
9. Ulf Timmermann * East Germany   
10. Igor Paklin Soviet Union   

 

1987
1. Saïd Aouita * Morocco   
2. Carl Lewis US   
3. Sergey Bubka * Soviet Union   
4. Patrik Sjöberg Sweden   
5. Francesco Panetta Italy   
6. Werner Günthör Switzerland   
7. Khristo Markov Bulgaria   
8. Edwin Moses US   
9. Sergey Litvinov Soviet Union   
10. Ulf Timmermann East Germany   
[¶Ben Johnson Canada voted No. 1 with 96.8% rating but retroactively banned for doping   

 

1988
1. Sergey Bubka * Soviet Union 88.2%
2. Ulf Timmermann East Germany   
3. Carl Lewis * US   
4. Roger Kingdom US   
5. Butch Reynolds US   
6. Andre Phillips US   
7. Julius Kariuki Kenya   
8. Jürgen Schult East Germany   
9. Joe DeLoach US   
10. Tapio Korjus Finland   

 

1989
1. Roger Kingdom * US 93.4%
2. Saïd Aouita Morocco   
3. Javier Sotomayor Cuba   
4. Arturo Barrios Mexico   
5. Abdi Bile Somalia   
6. Robson da Silva Brazil   
7. Paul Ereng Kenya   
8. Rodion Gataullin Soviet Union   
9. Steve Backley Great Britain   
10. Mike Conley US   

 

1990
1. Michael Johnson US 92.2%
2. Steve Backley * Great Britain   
3. Salvatore Antibo Italy   
4. Kenny Harrison US   
5. Danny Harris US   
6. Leroy Burrell US   
7. Igor Astapkovich Soviet Union   
8. Christian Plaziat France   
9. Ulf Timmermann East Germany   
10. Mike Powell US   

 

1991
1. Sergey Bubka Soviet Union 92.0%
2. Carl Lewis US   
3. Michael Johnson * US   
4. Mike Powell * US   
5. Dan O’Brien US   
6. Noureddine Morceli Algeria   
7. Samuel Matete Zambia   
8. Werner Günthör Switzerland   
9. Leroy Burrell * US   
10. Moses Kiptanui Kenya   

 

1992
1. Kevin Young US 99.3%
2. Moses Kiptanui * Kenya   
3. Quincy Watts US   
4. Sergey Bubka * Ukraine   
5. Carl Lewis * US   
6. Jan Železný Czechoslovakia   
7. Mike Marsh US   
8. Mike Conley US   
9. Dieter Baumann Germany   
10. Linford Christie Great Britain   

 

1993
1. Noureddine Morceli Algeria 94.9%
2. Colin Jackson Great Britain   
3. Jan Železný * Czech Republic   
4. Javier Sotomayor Cuba   
5. Michael Johnson US   
6. Sergey Bubka * Ukraine   
7. Linford Christie * Great Britain   
8. Mike Powell US   
9. Mike Conley * US   
10. Yobes Ondieki Kenya   

 

1994
1. Noureddine Morceli Algeria * 91.4%
2. Colin Jackson * Great Britain   
3. Javier Sotomayor * Cuba   
4. Sergey Bubka * Ukraine   
5. Michael Johnson * US   
6. Dan O’Brien US   
7. William Sigei Kenya   
8. Jan Železný * Czech Republic   
9. Vénuste Niyongabo Burundi   
10. Moses Kiptanui Kenya   

 

1995
1. Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia 94.3%
2. Jonathan Edwards Great Britain   
3. Michael Johnson * US   
4. Noureddine Morceli * Algeria   
5. Moses Kiptanui * Kenya   
6. Iván Pedroso Cuba   
7. Jan Železný * Czech Republic   
8. Wilson Kipketer Denmark   
9. Lars Riedel Germany   
10. Dan O’Brien * US   

 

1996
1. Michael Johnson * US 100.0%
2. Wilson Kipketer * Denmark   
3. Jan Železný * Czech Republic   
4. Daniel Komen Kenya   
5. Allen Johnson US   
6. Frank Fredericks Namibia   
7. Donovan Bailey Canada   
8. Lars Riedel * Germany   
9. Dan O’Brien * US   
10. Noureddine Morceli Algeria   

 

1997
1. Wilson Kipketer * Denmark 98.6%
2. Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia   
3. Daniel Komen * Kenya   
4. Hicham El Guerrouj Morocco   
5. Iván Pedroso Cuba   
6. Lars Riedel * Germany   
7. Sergey Bubka Ukraine   
8. Allen Johnson * US   
9. Frank Fredericks * Namibia   
10. Moses Kiptanui Kenya   

 

1998
1. Haile Gebrselassie * Ethiopia 95.8%
2. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco   
3. John Godina US   
4. Jonathan Edwards Great Britain   
5. Michael Johnson US   
6. Ato Boldon Trinidad   
7. Iván Pedroso * Cuba   
8. Maurice Greene US   
9. Tibor Gécsek Hungary   
10. Steve Backley Great Britain   
¶Bryan Bronson US voted No. 4 but retroactively banned for doping   

 

1999
1. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco 91.2%
2. Maurice Greene * US   
3. Tomáš Dvořák Czech Republic   
4. Michael Johnson * US   
5. Haile Gebrselassie * Ethiopia   
6. Wilson Kipketer Denmark   
7. Noah Ngeny Kenya   
8. Maksim Tarasov Russia   
9. Iván Pedroso * Cuba   
10. Vyacheslav Voronin Russia   

 

2000
1. Virgilijus Alekna Lithuania 88.1%
2. Michael Johnson * US   
3. Maurice Greene * US   
4. Robert Korzeniowski Poland   
5. Jan Železný Czech Republic   
6. Haile Gebrselassie * Ethiopia   
7. Jonathan Edwards Great Britain   
8. Iván Pedroso * Cuba   
9. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco   
10. Anier García Cuba   

 

2001
1. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco 95.3%
2. Maurice Greene * US   
3. Jan Železný * Czech Republic   
4. André Bucher Switzerland   
5. Jonathan Edwards * Great Britain   
6. John Godina US   
7. Tomáš Dvořák Czech Republic   
8. Félix Sánchez Dominican Rep   
9. Brahim Boulami Morocco   
10. Koji Murofushi Japan   

 

2002
1. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco 90.5%
2. Khalid Khannouchi US   
3. Félix Sánchez * Dominican Republic   
4. Róbert Fazekas Hungary   
5. Adam Nelson US   
6. Sergey Makarov Russia   
7. Roman Šebrle Czech Republic   
8. Wilson Kipketer Kenya   
9. Francisco Fernández Spain   
10. Anier García Cuba   
¶Tim Montgomery US voted No. 6 but retroactively banned for doping   

 

2003
1. Félix Sánchez * Dominican Republic 88.6%
2. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco   
3. Saïd Shaheen Kenya   
4. Christian Olsson Sweden   
5. Allen Johnson US   
6. Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia   
7. Paul Tergat Kenya   
8. Robert Korzeniowski Poland   
9. Tom Pappas US   
10. Sergey Makarov Russia   

 

2004
1. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia 92.3%
2. Hicham El Guerrouj * Morocco   
3. Stefan Holm Sweden   
4. Christian Olsson * Sweden   
5. Xiang Liu China   
6. Saïf Shaheen * Qatar   
7. Roman Šebrle Czech Republic   
8. Félix Sánchez * Dominican Republic   
9. Dwight Phillips US   
10. Virgilijus Alekna Lithuania   

 

2005
1. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia 96.1%
2. Saïf Shaheen * Qatar   
3. Virgilijus Alekna * Lithuania   
4. Justin Gatlin US   
5. Bershawn Jackson * US   
6. Dwight Phillips US   
7. Jeremy Wariner US   
8. Rashid Ramzi Bahrain   
9. Ladji Doucouré France   
10. Bryan Clay US   
¶Ivan Tikhon Belarus voted No. 3 but retroactively banned for doping   

 

2006
1. Asafa Powell Jamaica 99.1%
2. Jeremy Wariner * US   
3. Virgilijus Alekna * Lithuania   
4. Xiang Liu China   
5. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia   
6. Irving Saladino Panama   
7. Saïf Shaheen * Qatar   
8. Tyson Gay US   
9. Andreas Thorkildsen Norway   
10. Koji Murofushi Japan   

 

2007
1. Tyson Gay * US 96.5%
2. Jeremy Wariner * US   
3. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia   
4. Irving Saladino * Panama   
5. Asafa Powell * Jamaica   
6. Bernard Lagat US   
7. Xiang Liu * China   
8. Reese Hoffa * US   
9. Tero Pitkämäki Finland   
10. Haile Gebrselassie Ethiopia   

 

2008
1. Usain Bolt Jamaica 100.0%
2. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia   
3. Dayron Robles Cuba   
4. Bryan Clay US   
5. LaShawn Merritt US   
6. Haile Gebrselassie * Ethiopia   
7. Gerd Kanter Estonia   
8. Irving Saladino * Panama   
9. Sammy Wanjiru Kenya   
10. Andrey Silnov Russia   

 

2009
1. Usain Bolt * Jamaica 100.0%
2. Kenenisa Bekele * Ethiopia   
3. Tyson Gay * US   
4. LaShawn Merritt * US   
5. Steve Hooker Australia   
6. Dwight Phillips * US   
7. Andreas Thorkildsen * Norway   
8. Christian Cantwell US   
9. Sammy Wanjiru * Kenya   
10. Trey Hardee US   

 

2010
1. David Rudisha Kenya 100.0%
2. David Oliver US   
3. Christian Cantwell * US   
4. Tyson Gay * US   
5. Andreas Thorkildsen Norway   
6. Teddy Tamgho France   
7. Bershawn Jackson US   
8. Jeremy Wariner US   
9. Dwight Phillips * US   
10. Patrick Makau Kenya   

 

2011
1. David Rudisha * Kenya 82.4%
2. Usain Bolt Jamaica   
3. Robert Harting Germany   
4. Yohan Blake Jamaica   
5. Geoffrey Mutai Kenya   
6. Mo Farah Great Britain   
7. Kirani James Grenada   
8. Trey Hardee US   
9. Dayron Robles Cuba   
10. Christian Taylor US   

 

2012
1. David Rudisha * Kenya 88.1%
2. Ashton Eaton US   
3. Usain Bolt * Jamaica   
4. Aries Merritt US   
5. Mo Farah * Great Britain   
6. Robert Harting * Germany   
7. Yohan Blake * Jamaica   
8. Krisztián Pars Hungary   
9. Kirani James * Grenada   
10. Renaud Lavillenie France   

 

2013
1. Bogdan Bondarenko Ukraine 91.2%
2. Usain Bolt * Jamaica   
3. Mo Farah * Great Britain   
4. Mohamed Aman Ethiopia   
5. LaShawn Merritt US   
6. Robert Harting * Germany   
7. Ashton Eaton US   
8. Renaud Lavillenie * France   
9. Aleksandr Menkov Russia   
10. Teddy Tamgho France   

 

2014
1. Renaud Lavillenie * France 99.4%
2. Bogdan Bondarenko * Ukraine   
3. Justin Gatlin US   
4. Mutaz Essa Barshim Qatar   
5. Robert Harting * Germany   
6. Jairus Birech Kenya   
7. LaShawn Merritt * US   
8. Nijel Amos Botswana   
9. Eliud Kipchoge Kenya   
10. Krisztián Pars Hungary   

 

2015
1. Ashton Eaton US 89.2%
2. Christian Taylor US   
3. Usain Bolt Jamaica   
4. Mo Farah Great Britain   
5. Paweł Fajdek Poland   
6. Asbel Kiprop Kenya   
7. Wayde van Niekerk South Africa   
8. Justin Gatlin * US   
9. Eliud Kipchoge * Kenya   
10. Joe Kovacs US   

 

2016
1 Wayde van Niekerk * South Africa 97.8%
2 Mo Farah * Great Britain  
3 Usain Bolt * Jamaica  
4 Eliud Kipchoge * Kenya  
5 Ashton Eaton * US  
6 Conseslus Kipruto Kenya  
7 Christian Taylor * US  
8 Ryan Crouser US  
9 Omar McLeod Jamaica  
10 David Rudisha Kenya