VOTING BY OUR 31-member international panel in this annual exercise — our 63rd year of choosing a Men’s Athlete Of The Year — was scored on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis…
A trio of stars — Mondo Duplantis, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Ryan Crouser — repeated from the Top 10 class of ’21… Nobody has an ongoing streak of 3 Top 10s in a row, but Noah Lyles can claim 3 of the last 4… A quartet of Americans — Lyles, Crouser, Joe Kovacs, Fred Kerley — scored this year, a marked drop from the record-equaling half-dozen in ’19…
The 2022 Top 10 (the detailed voting chart appears at the end of the article):
1. Mondo Duplantis (Sweden)
With 3 more World Records before his 23rd birthday in November, the planet’s top vaulter was almost a unanimous choice for No.1, being accorded the top spot on all but 3 ballots. In winning 18 of his 19 meets he produced a record half-dozen 20-footers (6.10) and failed to reach the 6-meter (19-8¼) barrier in only 4 of them. He claimed the year’s 9 highest vaults, topped by his WR 20-4½ (6.21) to win World Championships gold. Dominating the biggest meets, he also won the World Indoor and DL Final as he moved up from No. 3 in the ’21 voting.
2. Alison dos Santos (Brazil)
The first Brazilian to make the Top 10 since sprinter Robson da Silva in ’89, the 22-year old South American long hurdler became the highest finisher ever from his nation. He became the first ever to break 47 seconds 3 times in one year, with his year-leading 46.29 rating as the third-fastest time ever. He also ran 46.80 (the No. 7 performance ever) and 46.98. Undefeated in 10 meets, overall he produced the year’s 2 fastest times and 6 of 10. One of our selectors accorded him a No. 1 vote.
3. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya)
At age 38 (now 39) the marathon WR setter is the oldest of this year’s Top 10. The ’18 AOY, he appears here for the sixth time, but first since his winning year. His recordsetting 2:01:09 race in Berlin saw him claim unofficial records en route at 25K (1:11:08) and 30K (1:25:40). His only other race of the year was a 2:02:40 win in the Tokyo marathon with the No. 6 clocking ever (No. 5 at the time). He received the most runner-up votes, but the panel was split on his position, putting him from 2 to 10.
4. Noah Lyles (USA)
A perfect 8-for 8 season in the 200 propelled the AR-setting sprinter (No. 4 in ’18, No. 2 in ’19) into the first 4 for the third time. At age 24/25 he got a vote for No. 1 into the bargain. His list-leading 19.31 left him trailing only Usain Bolt (19.19) and Yohan Blake (19.26) on the all-time world list. He produced yearly performances 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 9 as he broke 20 in each of his races (including prelims). His slowest time in a final was 19.86 and he broke 19.75 on 7 occasions (plus 1 windy).
5. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Norway)
Once again the youngest member of our Top 10, having turned 22 in September, Ingebrigtsen again made a big splash in both the 1500/mile and 5000, earning No. 1s in each as he moved up a spot in the Top 10. The Nordic ace was upset in the year’s biggest 1500, the WC, but more than made up for it, winning his other 5 races and moving to No. 6 on the all-time mile list 3:46.46. He wasn’t spectacular timewise in the 5000, being only No. 21 on the yearly list, but confirmed his WC gold with another in the Euros.
6. Ryan Crouser (USA)
The 29-year-old Oregon native didn’t dominate the shot nearly as much as he did in his AOY season last year but he was still good enough to earn both the No. 1 in his event and No. 6 here as the year’s top thrower. Although he didn’t have the year’s farthest throw, he did punch out yearly performances 2 through 7 and claimed all-time marks 5, 6, 8 & =9. Topped by a 75-10¼ (23.12) to win USATF he had 3 meets over 75, 5 over 74 and 7 over 73 as he won 8 of 12, topped by the WC.
7. Kristjan Čeh (Slovenia)
Just 3 years ago Čeh (pronounced “chay”) was a relatively obscure 209-4 (63.82) performer. Then he took off, reaching 225-6 (68.75) in ’20 and 230-9 (70.35) in ’21, a year which brought him an Olympic 5th and No. 2 in the World Rankings. This year’s improvement was to 233-10 (71.27), lifting him to No. 10 on the all-time list. He lost only twice in 21 meets and took the top step on the podium at both the WC and DL Final. At 23 he becomes the first Slovenian, man or woman, ever to make the Top 10 in AOY voting.
8. Soufiane El Bakkali (Morocco)
Not since mile legend Hicham El Guerrouj in 2004 has Morocco had somebody in the Top 10. At 6-1¼ (1.86) distinctive in steeplechase fields, the 26-year old world champion went undefeated this year, winning all 5 of his starts, including the DL Final. The yearly list leader at 7:58.28 he also had yearly performances 5 and 9. He tops the steeple Rankings for the third year in a row, making him the first non-Kenyan born runner to have such a streak since Belgium’s Gaston Roelants essayed a 4-peat, 1962–65.
9. Joe Kovacs (USA)
The shot performances in the year’s top dozen that didn’t belong to Ryan Crouser were put up by yearly leader Kovacs (76-2¾/23.23), who also claimed marks 8 through 12. His biggest heave, which won the Diamond League Final, has only ever been bettered by Crouser, twice in ’21. Kovacs, who turned 33 in mid-season, won 10 of his 16 meets, including 3 wins over Crouser. More prolific than his rival, overall he had 4 meets over 75, 6 over 74 and 9 over 73. Kovacs is one of the few ever to make the Top 10 without leading his event-ranking.
10. Fred Kerley (USA)
Chalk up a unique feat for the speedy Texas A&M alum, 27. The world champ’s No. 1 rating in the 100 pairs with his topping of the 400 charts in ’18, making him the first to lead both those events. He only ran a single 400 this year, a 44.47, but was busy enough in the 200, where he ran 19.83/19.75w, that he also earned a No. 10 there. His list-leading 9.77 in a USATF semi earned him a share of No. 6 on the event’s all-time list. Unfortunately, he tweaked a quad in the 200 semis at the WC and that ended his season.
The Voting Chart
|1. Mondo Duplantis||28||2||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||306||98.7%|
|2. Alison dos Santos||1||11||10||5||1||3||—||—||—||—||245||79.0%|
|3. Eliud Kipchoge||—||14||7||4||2||1||—||1||1||1||233||75.2%|
|4. Noah Lyles||1||3||10||10||6||1||—||—||—||—||228||73.5%|
|5. Jakob Ingebrigtsen||1||1||1||7||8||2||6||2||1||1||167||53.9%|
|6. Ryan Crouser||—||—||2||2||7||6||2||8||2||—||138||44.5%|
|7. Kristjan Čeh||—||—||—||—||2||5||8||5||3||6||96||31.0%|
|8. Soufiane El Bakkali||—||—||—||1||4||6||1||4||2||4||85||27.4%|
|9. Joe Kovacs||—||—||—||1||—||3||4||3||3||4||57||18.4%|
|10. Fred Kerley||—||—||—||1||—||2||2||2||8||1||48||15.5%|
|11. Michael Norman 47; 12. Anderson Peters 34; 13. Grant Holloway 18; 14. Miltiádis Tentóglou 3.|
|View All Years’ Top 10 Voting||View All The Men’s AOYs||Jump To Women’s Top 10 For 2022|