T&FN’s WORLD MEN’S
ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

(switch to Women’s AOYs)

Track & Field News has been formally choosing an Athlete Of The Year since 1959.

Our Men’s World Rankings began with the 1947 season, but for that year through
the ’58 campaign, the concept of a formally chosen AOY didn’t exist in our pages.


Here’s the all-time men’s No. 1s, with the event(s) in which they made the World Rankings that year (if the events are out of normal event order, that reflects the existence of a “primary” discipline):

1950s
1959 Martin Lauer (West Germany) 110 Hurdles, Decathlon

 

1960s
1960 Rafer Johnson (USA) Decathlon
1961 Ralph Boston (USA) Long Jump, 110 Hurdles
1962 Peter Snell (New Zealand) 800, 1500/Mile
1963 CK Yang (Taiwan) Decathlon, Pole Vault
1964 Peter Snell (New Zealand) 800, 1500/Mile
1965 Ron Clarke (Australia) 5000, 10,000
1966 Jim Ryun (USA) 1500/Mile, 800
1967 Jim Ryun (USA) 1500/Mile
1968 Bob Beamon (USA) Long Jump
1969 Bill Toomey (USA) Decathlon

 

1970s
1970 Randy Matson (USA) Shot
1971 Rod Milburn (USA) 110 Hurdles
1972 Lasse Viren (Finland) 5000, 10,000
1973 Ben Jipcho (Kenya) 1500/Mile, Steeple, 5000
1974 Rick Wohlhuter (USA) 800, 1500/Mile
1975 John Walker (New Zealand) 800, 1500/Mile
1976 Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 400, 800
1977 Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 400, 800
1978 Henry Rono (Kenya) Steeple, 5000, 10,000
1979 Seb Coe (Great Britain) 800, 1500/Mile

 

1980s
1980 Edwin Moses (USA) 400 Hurdles
1981 Seb Coe (Great Britain) 800, 1500/Mile
1982 Carl Lewis (USA) 100, 200, Long Jump
1983 Carl Lewis (USA) 100, 200, Long Jump
1984 Carl Lewis (USA) 100, 200, Long Jump
1985 Saïd Aouita (Morocco) 1500/Mile, 5000
1986 Yuriy Syedikh (Soviet Union) Hammer
1987 *Saïd Aouita (Morocco) 1500/Mile, 5000
  (*the original voting leader was Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, but his AOY status was revoked after his admission to drug use)
1988 Sergey Bubka (Soviet Union) Pole Vault
1989 Roger Kingdom (USA) 110 Hurdles

 

1990s
1990 Michael Johnson (USA) 200, 400
1991 Sergey Bubka (Soviet Union) Pole Vault
1992 Kevin Young (USA) 400 Hurdles
1993 Noureddine Morceli (Algeria) 1500/Mile
1994 Noureddine Morceli (Algeria) 1500/Mile, 5000
1995 Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 5000, 10,000
1996 Michael Johnson (USA) 200, 400
1997 Wilson Kipketer (Denmark) 800
1998 Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 5000, 10,000
1999 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500/Mile

 

2000s
2000 Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) Discus
2001 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500/Mile
2002 Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500/Mile
2003 Félix Sánchez (Dominican Republic) 400 Hurdles
2004 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 5000, 10,000
2005 Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) 5000, 10,000
2006 Asafa Powell (Jamaica) 100
2007 Tyson Gay (USA) 100, 200
2008 Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 100, 200
2009 Usain Bolt (Jamaica) 100, 200

 

2010s
2010 David Rudisha (Kenya) 800
2011 David Rudisha (Kenya) 800
2012 David Rudisha (Kenya) 800
2013 Bogdan Bondarenko (Ukraine) High Jump
2014 Renaud Lavillenie (France) Pole Vault
2015 Ashton Eaton (USA) Decathlon
2016 Wayde van Niekerk (South Africa) 400