Men’s Performance Of The Year — Big Shot By Joe Kovacs

Joe Kovacs’ out-of-the-blue 75-footer to win the World Championships was convincingly voted men’s POY. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

OUR 27-MEMBER international voting panel had little trouble in choosing the winning mark from that incredibly close World Championships shot competition as the year’s best individual performance…

The 30 different performances which received recognition in our 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system (WR = World Record; WL = yearly World Leader):

1. Joe Kovacs’ 75-2/22.91 WC win, 101 points (14 No. 1s)

One doesn’t typically find No. 4 World Rankers getting a ton of love in the POY department, but that’s just what Kovacs got for his amazing last-round comethrough in Doha, capturing perhaps the most exciting shot competition ever. Just over half of the voters saw his performance as No. 1.

2. Karsten Warholm’s 46.92 WL, 89 (6)

In a year with no men’s WRs on the track or field, AOY Warholm came closest when he joined the sub-47 club in Zürich with his 46.92. That rates as the No. 2 performance in history, trailing only Kevin Young’s WR 46.78 from ’92.

3. Kenenisa Bekele’s 2:01:41 WL, 43 (3)

Back in his heyday on the track, Bekele got all kinds of POY recognition (including No. 1 for his WR 10K in ’05) for oval exploits. Now he has come full circle and finally emerged as a marathoner supreme this year. His year-leading 2:01:41 missed the World Record by just 2 seconds.

4. Sam Kendricks’ 19-10½/6.06 WL, 19

Tricky winds sometimes make vaulting a problem in Des Moines, but Kendricks had no problem at the USATF Championships, soaring over a list-leading height on his first attempt and moved to =No. 3 on the all-time world list.

5. Mutaz Barshim’s 7-9¼/2.37 WL, 17 (2)

One good definition of pressure is when the stands at the WC have been almost empty ever night, and then the night it’s your turn to jump your countryman jam the place. Barshim took it all in stride, bouncing back from a mediocre season to record the year’s highest jump.

Other Vote-Getters

6. Ryan Crouser’s 75-1¾/22.90 at WC, 16
7. Noah Lyles’ 19.50 WL, 13
8. Rai Benjamin’s 46.98 at DL Final, 11
9. Donavan Braziers 1:42.34 WC win, 10
10. Tom Walsh’s 75-1¾/22.90 at WC, 9
11. Will Claye’s 59-6¼/18.14 WL, 8
12. Tajay Gayle’s 28-6¼/8.69 WC win, 7
13. Christian Coleman’s 9.76 WC win, 6
14. tie, Steven Gardiner’s 43.48 WC win; Warholm’s 47.12 (1) in London & Warholm’s 47.42 WC win (1), 5
17. tie, Donavan Brazier’s Zürich finish; Yomif Kejelcha’s 3:47.01 Indoor WR; Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-2:00 & Daniel Ståhl’s 235-9/71.86 WL, 4
21. tie, Timothy Cheruiyot’s 3:29.26 WC win; Grant Holloway’s 12.98 WL; Geoffrey Kamworor’s 58:01 Half-Mar WR; Kendricks’ 19-7/5.97 WC win; Conseslus Kipruto’s 8:01.35 WC win, & Michael Norman’s 43.45 WL, 3
27. tie, Kipchoge’s 2:02:37 in London & Norman’s 19.70 Rome DL win, 2
29. tie, Joshua Cheptegei’s World XC win & Ståhl’s 232-7/70.89, 1. □