2021 Indoor Men’s Athletes Of The Year

We may need to create an other-worldly AOY category for Ryan Crouser if he keeps it up. (KEVIN MORRIS)

RYAN CROUSER IS NO STRANGER to our annual Indoor Athlete Of The Year honors, and this year he completed a unique quadrifecta: he was the HS AOY in ’11, the Collegiate AOY in ’16, the U.S. AOY in ’20 and now he’s our World AOY for ’21.

World Men: Ryan Crouser (US)

3 undefeated World Record setters were in the mix, but the credentials presented by putter Ryan Crouser (74‑10½/22.82) and hurdler Grant Holloway (7.29) were so good that new triple jump king Hugues Fabrice Zango (59‑3½/18.07) was clearly only the third-best, despite producing the Nos. 1 & 8 performances ever. After much debate, we finally awarded the top spot to Crouser over fellow American Holloway.

In his 5 meets Crouser turned in all-time performances 1, 2, =3, 5, 9 & 10. On the seasonal basis he had the 8 farthest puts, plus Nos. 10–13.

Holloway’s 5 meets kicked out all-time performances 1, =3, =3 & =7, and for the year he claimed the year’s 8 fastest times, plus Nos. 10 & 14.

The 5 previous winners: ’20—Mondo Duplantis (Sweden); ’19—Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia); ’18—Christian Coleman (US); ’17—Coleman; ’16—Renaud Lavillenie (France).

U.S. Men: Crouser (Nike)

Ryan Crouser made it 2 in a row as the top American with Grant Holloway (who put his name in the AR book 4 times) again being right on his heels. Honorable mention to AR setters Donavan Brazier (1:44.21 in the 800) and Bryce Hoppel (2:16:27 in the 1000).

The 5 previous winners: ’20—Crouser; ’19—Donavan Brazier (Nike); ’18—Christian Coleman (Nike); ’17—Coleman (Tennessee); ’16—Ashton Eaton (Oregon TC).

Collegiate Men: KC Lightfoot (Baylor)

Oregon’s Cole Hocker captured a brilliant NCAA mile/3000 double, but that couldn’t compare to the three Collegiate Records (19-5¾/5.94, 19-6¼/5.95, 19-8¼/6.00) set by Baylor’s KC Lightfoot.

Honorable mention to Hocker and his teammate, 1500 (3:35.46, subsequently broken) and mile (3:50.39) CR setter Cooper Teare. Also CR setter and NCAA champ shot putter Turner Washington of Arizona State (71-8¼/21.85). LSU’s JuVaughn Harrison also deserves a nod for his historic HJ/LJ double at the NCAA. Check out a rundown on February’s CR action here.

The 5 previous winners: ’20—Chris Nilsen (South Dakota); ’19—Grant Holloway (Florida); ’18—Michael Norman (USC); ’17—Christian Coleman (Tennessee); ’16—Ryan Crouser (Texas).

High School Boys: Jaylen Slade (IMG, Bradenton, Florida)

Junior Jaylen Slade was all over the prep sprint lists, topping the charts with a national record 20.62 in the 200. Additionally, he led the yearly lists in the 55 (6.24), 60 (6.68) and 300 (32.77), not to mention also being No. 3 in the 400 (47.84).

Slade’s choice was a very narrow decision over Hobbs Kessler (Skyline, Ann Arbor, Michigan), who claimed the national mile record with his 3:57.66. Honorable mention as well to HJ leader Kamyren Garrett (Lawrence Central, Indianapolis and hurdler/long jumper Leonard Mustari (Dunbar, Ft. Myers, Florida).

The 5 previous winners: ’20—Nico Young (Newbury Park, California); ’19—Sam Affolder (Loudoun Valley, Purcellville, Virginia); ’18—Mondo Duplantis (Lafayette, Louisiana); ’17—Duplantis; ’16—Drew Hunter (Loudoun Valley, Purcellville, Virginia).