YET ANOTHER HONOR came Mondo Duplantis’s way, as our panel of Performance Of The Year voters awarded our AOY’s highest leap 15 of 18 No. 1 votes to make it an easy choice. No other performance— and there were plenty of great ones — garnered more than 1. His previous World Record, the 20-4 (6.20) that came at the World Indoor, ended up No. 6 in the voting.
The 12 performances which received recognition in our 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system:
1. Mondo Duplantis’s 20-4½ (6.21) WR, 86 (15 No. 1s)
Though he has often chased records, the Swede says that in Eugene, only the medal was on his mind: “Today I was focused on the win.” However, the game changed after he clinched the gold at 19-8¼ (6.00). He cleared the record bar without touching it, later saying that indicates there may be more to come. The panel awarded the performance more than twice as many points as any other.
2. Noah Lyles’ 19.31 AR, 41 (1)
In a season in which every final he ran clocked in at 19.86 or better, it’s no surprise Lyles made chasing Michael Johnson’s 19.32 American Record from ’96 a priority: “All me and my coach have been talking about was like, ‘We’re going after that record.’” History’s No. 3 time ever did the trick at the World Championships and impressed most of the panel, with 14 of 18 giving it points.
3. Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 WR, 39
The 2-time marathon gold medalist from Kenya sliced 30 seconds from his own global standard in Berlin, further cementing his place as one of history’s giants in the 26-miler. While the performance impressed the panel, the author of it made it sound like it was not all-out: “There’s still more in the legs.”
4. Joe Kovacs’ 76-2¾ (23.23) DL Final win, 33 (1)
The bomb that Kovacs launched in Zürich was one of history’s greatest, marking only the third time a human got past the 76-foot (23.16) mark. “It feels good to finally click the box and be a 23m shot putter,” he says. All told, 13 voters gave it points, with one saying it was the POY.
5. Alison dos Santos’s 46.29 Worlds win, 27
Perhaps Karsten Warholm’s WR 45.94 a year earlier jaded many, but dos Santos put together the No. 3 performance ever with a Brazilian Record, cutting more than a half-second off his best. He says there’s more coming: “It can be better. It can always be better. My last hurdles, I can be better. And my second curve, it can be better.” The race earned points from 11 of the voters.
6. Duplantis’s 20-4 (6.20)i WR, 19
7. Jake Wightman’s 3:29.23 Worlds win, 10 (1)
8. tie, Devon Allen’s 12.84 & Ryan Crouser’s 75-10¼ (23.12) USATF win, 4
10, tie, Anderson Peters’ 305-4 (93.07) & Darlan Romani’s 73-11 (22.53) World Indoor win, 3
12. Kelvin Kiptum’s 2:01:53 debut, 1. ◻︎