Men’s Performance Of The Year — Crouser’s 77-Footer

As Crouser boomed the shot 7½ inches (19cm) past his previous WR, it was realistically possible he might clobber the wall at the back of the sector. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

RYAN CROUSER SCORED still another honor in his epic ’23 campaign. Our panel of Performance Of The Year voters gave its nod to his barrier-breaking World Record. It wasn’t an easy choice. Crouser’s mark convinced exactly half of the panel, scoring 11 first-place votes. The competition this year was fierce, with multiple votes also going to Mondo Duplantis’s latest vault record, Kelvin Kiptum’s marathon standard, and the No. 2 all-time throw that Crouser produced to win at Worlds.

The 18 performances which received recognition in our 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system.

1. Ryan Crouser’s 77-3¾ (23.56) WR, 85 (11 No. 1s)

After being denied the record after his big indoor throw was ruled to have come from a not-up-to-spec circle, Crouser wanted to bust a big one. History’s first 77-footer came at USATF’s LA Grand Prix on his fourth throw in a monster series that averaged 75-10¼ (23.12). He said he was looking for at least a season best and ideally a stadium record. “I’m just so excited with the performance today,” he admitted.

2. Mondo Duplantis’s 20-5¼ (6.23) WR, 69 (2)

This was World Record No. 7 for the Swedish Louisianan, who only vaulted four times that day to capture the DL Final in Eugene. It wasn’t as picture-perfect as his previous record; he brushed it with his legs on the way over but the bar stayed up. “I just tried to go in there and just try to line up the jump and time up the bend as best as I could and I just kind of was able to sneak over it,” he said.

3. Kelvin Kiptum’s 2:00:35 WR, 54 (3)

After his 2:01:35 course record in London in April made him No. 2 all-time in the marathon, Kiptum found himself on the short list of potential WR breakers. A near-perfect day in Chicago gave the 23-year-old Kenyan phenomenon the opportunity. He hit halfway in 60:45 and sped through the second half in 59:50. “I have the confidence because I trained 3 months for this race,” he explained.

4. Crouser’s 77-1¾ (23.51) WC win, 35 (5)

The World Record holder, throwing with two blood clots in his leg, never gave anyone else a chance in Budapest. Despite having his second gold medal locked up before he stepped into the ring for his final throw, he wanted more. He used his trademark form to blast a big one to the roar of the crowd, and it registered as the No. 2 throw ever. “It wasn’t quite the World Record but to me it was,” he said.

5. Lamecha Girma’s 7:52.11 WR, 22

The Ethiopian star sent a message that a big year might be coming when he ran a World Indoor Record 7:23.81 for 3000. He followed through in Paris in June, leaving the pacemakers at halfway and barreling to his streeplechase WR, taking down a mark that had lasted atop the lists for 19 years. “The World Record is not a surprise,” said the eventual silver medalist at Worlds. “It was my plan.”

Other Vote-Getters

6. Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s 7:54.10 WR, 18 (1)
7. Daniel Ståhl’s (71.46) WC win, 14
8. Ingebrigtsen’s 3:43.73, 10
9. Ingebrigtsen’s 4:43.13 WR, 6
10. Rai Benjamin’s 46.39 WC win, 5
11. Noah Lyles’ WC 200 win, 3
12. tie, Girma’s 7:23.81i WR, Jaydon Hibbert’s 58-7½ (17.87) WJR & Lyles’ 9.83 WC win, 2
16. tie, Josh Kerr’s WC 1500 win, Lyles’ 19.47 & Miltiádis Tentóglou‘s (8.52) WC win, 1. ◻︎