VOTING BY OUR 31-member international panel in this annual exercise — our 48th year of choosing a Women’s Athlete Of The Year — was scored on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis…
It was a runaway for Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, whose 98.7% approval rating is the highest since Sanya Richards-Ross earned 98.9% in ’06. Syd captured 27 of the votes for No. 1, with 3 going to Yulimar Rojas and 1 to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce…
The U.S. has 4 Top 10ers for only the third time ever, matching ’85 & ’21…
The 2022 Women’s Top 10 (the detailed voting chart appears at the end of the article):
1. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (USA)
The fastest 400 hurdler ever may have had just a minimalist 4-meet season in her flagship event, but the 22-year-old’s effect on the event’s lists was decidedly maximalist. All-time she produced 2 World Records (51.41 & 50.68) plus the Nos. 5, 6 & 10 all-time performances (51.61, 51.68, 52.17). For ’22 she had the year’s 5 fastest performances. Her 5 fastest times averaged 51.510, faster than anybody else has ever run in a single race. Little wonder that she dominated the AOY voting in moving up from No. 4 a year ago.
2. Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela)
In many other seasons the planet’s top triple jumper would have been elected AOY, but Rojas had the bad fortune to run into the buzz saw that was McLaughlin-Levrone and ended up as the runner-up for the second year in a row. The last to suffer that fate? Yelena Isinbaeva in ’07 & ’08. The 26-year-old Venezuelan was undefeated, raising her own WR to 51-7¾ (15.74). Among her 7 wins were the World Champs in and out and the DL Final. She totally dominated the yearly list, producing the 10 farthest jumps.
3. Faith Kipyegon (Kenya)
The 28-year-old WC 1500 gold medalist was another with a minimalist résumé. Just 4 meets, but she won them all — the World Champs and Diamond League meets in Eugene, Monaco & Zürich. Her year-leading 3:50.37 in Monaco rates as history’s No. 2 clocking, just 0.30 off the World Record. “I have been chasing the time for quite some time but I am happy with the personal best,” she said after coming oh-so-close. Her No. 3 finish here moves her up 2 spots from ’21.
4. Shericka Jackson (Jamaica)
Long consigned to playing a backup role behind legends Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jackson emerged as the top Jamaican at age 28. She did end up behind SAFP in the WC 100, but added a gold in the 200. Her best times sent her rocketing up the all-time lists, to No. 2 in the half-lapper (21.45) and No. 6 on the straightaway (10.71). In the 200 she also cranked out a 21.55 (the No. 4 performance ever) and had a half-dozen sub-22 clockings.
5. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica)
It’s SAFP’s fourth appearance in the Top 10 but surprisingly enough her first since ’15, when she was No. 6. She was also No. 6 in ’12 and had her highest finish, No. 2, in ’13. The 35-year-old speedster was spectacularly consistent in the 100 having consecutive finals of 10.67(A), 10.67, 10.67, 10.66, 10.67, 10.62, 10.73 & 10.65 as she produced the year’s 8 fastest times. The WC gold medalist was an obvious No. 1 in the 100 and also earned a No. 2 in the 200, her silver-medal event.
6. Tobi Amusan (Nigeria)
As a prime example of how hard it was to score high in this year’s voting, consider the 25-year-old UTEP alum, who broke the 100H World Record yet couldn’t crack the upper half of the Top 10. Her 12.12 in the WC semis snipped 0.08 off Keni Harrison’s 6-year-old WR; she was even faster in the final but her gold-medal winning 12.06w was aided by an over-the-limit 2.5mps wind. Overall she won 10 of 17 races, including the Commonwealth Games and DL Final titles.
7. Norah Jeruto (Kazakhstan)
Newly eligible for her Central Asian nation after switching allegiance from Kenya, the 26-year-old Jeruto made the most of the change, even though she ran only 4 steeples. Her list-leading 8:53.02 for WC gold rates as the No. 3 performance ever. She ran on the Diamond League Circuit only once, winning the Pre Classic with another sub-9:00 performance, 8:57.97. Her 9:01.54 in the WC heats is the fastest non-final ever run. Jeruto’s last WC-level competition before this year was way back in ’11, when she won the World Youth (U18) 2000 title at age 15.
8. Athing Mu (USA)
The 20-year-old Texas A&M alum was yet another member of the play-it-close-to-the-vest club, limiting herself to just 4 meets in the 800, where she repeated as No. 1 in the Rankings, going undefeated. She saved her fastest time for last, wrapping up her season with a list-leading 1:56.30 to win WC gold with the fourth-fastest time of her career. She was also a factor in other events, sprinting 50.42 in the 400 and moving to No. 4 on the all-time 600 list with her year-leading 1:22.74 win at the Penn Relays. She dropped 2 places in the voting over ’21.
9. Brooke Andersen (USA)
Andersen debuted in the hammer Rankings with a No. 9 in ’19, improved to No. 6 in ’21 and then leapt to the top in ’22. That brought with it her first-ever appearance in the overall Top 10. The world champ led the yearly list at 259-3 (79.02), a mark that lifted her to No. 4 on the all-time world list. The 26-year-old Northern Arizona alum also had the year’s second-farthest throw and 7 of the top 10 overall. She won 8 of her 10 meets on the year.
10. Valarie Allman (USA)
Last year she became the first U.S. woman discus thrower ever to make the Top 10. Now the 27-year-old Stanford grad is the first to do it twice, dropping a slot from ’21. She once again dominated the platter’s yearly list, producing the year’s 4 farthest throws and 7 of 10. Her longest effort, 234-5 (71.46) rates not only as the year’s best, but is also a “new millennium World Record.” She won 9 of her 12 meets, including the DL Final. Of her 3 losses, 2 of them were 2nds and the other a 3rd (for WC bronze).
The Voting Chart
|1. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone||27||4||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||306||98.7%|
|2. Yulimar Rojas||3||19||3||3||3||—||—||—||—||—||264||85.2%|
|3. Faith Kipyegon||—||—||15||7||3||5||—||—||—||—||212||68.4%|
|4. Shericka Jackson||—||4||3||9||8||2||3||1||—||1||197||63.5%|
|5. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce||1||1||8||6||5||3||5||2||—||—||196||63.2%|
|6. Tobi Amusan||—||2||2||5||4||7||1||4||1||1||147||47.4%|
|7. Norah Jeruto||—||—||—||—||4||6||6||2||3||2||92||29.7%|
|8. Athing Mu||—||—||—||1||1||2||2||3||2||2||46||14.8%|
|9. Brooke Andersen||—||—||—||—||—||1||2||7||3||4||44||14.2%|
|10. Valarie Allman||—||—||—||—||2||—||3||2||1||2||34||11.0%|
|11. Kimberley García 29; 12. Shaunae Miller-Uibo 28; 13. tie, Chase Ealey & Nafi Thiam 27; 15. Gudaf Tsegay 25; 16. tie, Letesenbet Gidey & Yaroslava Mahuchikh 13; 18. Femke Bol 5.|
|View All Years’ Top 10 Voting||View All The Women’s AOYs||Jump To Men’s Top 10 For 2022|