T&FN’s 2020 Podium Choices

The Olympic podiums remained empty this year, so we stepped in to fill the void. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

IF THERE WAS ONE PLACE that track’s biggest stars dreamt of being in the summer of 2020, it was on the podium in Tokyo. C19 ruined all that of course. Olympic glory and much more went away as the whole track season was largely a loss for most. Not just for athletes, but also for fans, meet promoters, anybody/anything with a vested interest in track & field.

Among the casualties: T&FN’s Annual World Rankings, with which we have been entertaining fans since Cordner Nelson first analyzed the ’47 season. We wish we could have done it again this year, but we couldn’t.

Sure, we could have cobbled together Rankings at something less than 10 deep, but the parameters just wouldn’t have been the same.

However, we knew that there had been enough high-end activity out there that we needed to have some kind of formal recognition. What better way, we decided, than to hand out “podium” awards?

So for each of the 22 standard events for each sex we have selected Gold, Silver & Bronze awards for the ’20 season. If there were no Americans as part of the Podium, one was appended, at least in events where a national-class mark was put up.

Given the immense difference between the circumstances under which these awards were made compared to the traditional World Rankings, we won’t be listing this year’s people in our historical compilations.

These awards are based on our traditional World Rankings criteria, which in order of importance are Honors Won, Win-Loss Record & Sequence Of Marks.

With no international championships and a greatly reduced Diamond League season, the Honors category was virtually nonexistent. Still, performing well in a DL meet was important. Less importance was attached to Continental Tour meets, but they counted more than in regular years. Indoor competition also carried significantly more weight than it usually does.

Similarly, in many cases head-to-head meetings among the big players just didn’t happen, so that category was less of a factor.

As an overall result, putting up big marks—in a normal year by far the least-important part of our protocol—took on far more importance than usual.

Our World Rankings/Podium Panel—a wide-ranging bunch representing four different nationalities—likes to maintain a low profile, but credit (blame?) should be given where it is due. The current team is Jonathan Berenbom, Garry Hill, Richard Hymans, Dave Johnson & Nejat Kök. Credit is also due to Glen McMicken & Shawn Price for U.S. analyses and Bob Bowman, Jack Mortland & Pierce O’Callaghan for walk work.

For each of our 3 “medalists” you’ll find their complete seasonal record. Subscribers to the digital version will receive a bonus of having an extra column of data (a column that won’t fit in print versions) listing all of the athletes to whom the medalist lost in any given competition.

Abbreviations you’ll find in the seasonal records: h = heat; sf = semifinal; (A) = altitude over 1000m, which is listed in affected events only; i = mark made indoors.

Our Podium awards are available as 4 separate pieces:

Men’s Track Podiums

Men’s Field Podiums

Women’s Track Podiums

Women’s Field Podiums