Track & Field News Rankings

The Track & Field News World Rankings — the definitive work on the subject for more than 75 years — are coordinated by T&FN Editor Emeritus E. Garry Hill. Current members of the international Rankings team are Dave Johnson, Richard Hymans, Jonathan Berenbom & Stuart Mazdon. Sieg Lindstrom provides integral help on the road events. Special thanks to Jim Rorick for his assistance with the ongoing historical maintenance of the Rankings, both World and U.S.

The first-ever Rankings, for the ‘47 season (men only), were the brainchild of T&FN cofounder Cordner Nelson. The next year he handed the task off to stat legends R.L. Quercetani & Don Potts, who shepherded the project for the next three decades.

In ’56, Czechoslovakia’s Jan Popper began parallel women’s Rankings; these were folded into the T&FN family in the early ’80s.

The U.S. Rankings began with the ’63 season, but you will note that there are partial Rankings for years before that, where we have simply ported over all Americans who were in the World Rankings. The ’63 Rankings are sometimes not 10-deep because in that first year resident non-Americans were also included.

The whole purpose of our World Rankings is to establish relative merit for the single season in question. They are not reflective of how the compilers felt athletes would have finished in any kind of idealized competition. Ergo, the “best” athlete in any given year isn’t always No. 1.

It should be noted that the importance of a meet is relative to who competes in it, not how much stock an athlete or their fans might place in it.

As important as major meets are, we should also note that no competition, not even the Olympic Games or World Championships, is the be-all, end-all. We’re looking for people who maintain high standards over a whole year.

The Rankings are based on these 3 criteria, in descending order of importance: 1. Honors Won; 2. Head-To-Head Records with other athletes; 3. Sequence Of Marks.

By Event, 1947–2023
Index By Athlete, 1947–2023
Index By Nation, 1947–2023
Yearly Top 10s, 2003-2023
All-Time Scoring Leaders By Event, 1947-2023
All-Time Composite Scoring Leaders, 1947–2023
By Event, 1956–2023
Index By Athlete, 1956–2023
Index By Nation, 1956–2023
Yearly Top 10s, 2003–2023
All-Time Scoring Leaders By Event, 1956-2023
All-Time Composite Scoring Leaders, 1956–2023
By Event, 1963–2023
Index By Athlete, 1963–2023
Yearly Top 10s, 2009-2023
By Event, 1956-2023
Index By Athlete 1956–2023
Yearly Top 10s, 2009-2023

Note: these Rankings reflect the many changes that were required after all of WADA’s retests started moving through the pipeline. ¶ after a year = a Ranking that has changed since the original was published in the magazine.

© Track & Field News 1948–2024