The Decade’s Top 10 Men By Event

The last time dominant dashman Usain Bolt assumed his trademark pose to celebrate a gold medal was at the Rio Olympics. (GLADYS CHAI/ASVOM AGENCY)

OUR INTERNATIONAL PANEL of experts, who annually put their heads together for T&FN’s famous World Rankings, this time joined up in recapping the second decade of the century. Here’s their ordering of the Top 10 men in each of the standard individual events.

With each of the Top 10s you’ll find some background data: repeaters from the previous decade, the top 3 World Rankings scorers in the decade, a recap of who won the 10 No. 1s and the chronological distribution of the Olympic and World Champs medals, plus World Indoor medals in the jumps and shot. (Note: where needed, medals are as redistributed after any after-the-fact test results. Anybody with a pending CAS case is considered innocent until that final decision.)

1 Usain Bolt Jamaica
2 Justin Gatlin US
3 Yohan Blake Jamaica
4 Christian Coleman US
5 Andre De Grasse Canada
6. Tyson Gay US
7 Asafa Powell Jamaica
8 Nesta Carter Jamaica
9 Mike Rodgers US
10 Noah Lyles US

WITH BOTH OLYMPIC GOLDS and a pair of WC golds to accompany them, Bolt was the obvious choice for the leader’s slot… Repeaters from the last decade: Bolt (1), Powell (2), Gay (4) & Gatlin (5)… Top scorers: Bolt 65, Gatlin 64, Blake 48… No. 1s: Bolt & Gatlin 3; Coleman 2; Blake & Gay 1… OG golds: Bolt/Bolt… WC golds: Blake/Bolt/Bolt/Gatlin/Coleman.

1 Usain Bolt Jamaica
2 Noah Lyles US
3 Ramil Guliyev Turkey
4 Andre De Grasse Canada
5 Justin Gatlin US
6 Walter Dix US
7 Yohan Blake Jamaica
8 Warren Weir Jamaica
9 Christophe Lemaitre France
10 Nickel Ashmeade Jamaica

BOLT WAS EVEN BETTER here than in the 100, having 3 WC golds to go with his pair of Olympic wins… Repeaters: Bolt (1), & Gatlin (6)… Top scorers: Bolt 58, Ashmeade & Guliyev 31… No. 1s: Bolt 5; Lyles 2; Dix, Gatlin & Guliyev 1… OG golds: Bolt/Bolt… WC golds: Bolt/Bolt/Bolt/Guliyev/Lyles.

1 Wayde van Niekerk South Africa
2 Kirani James Grenada
3 LaShawn Merritt US
4 Steven Gardiner Bahamas
5 Luguelín Santos Dominican Republic
6 Fred Kerley US
7 Isaac Makwala Botswana
8 Jeremy Wariner US
9 Abdalelah Haroun Qatar
10 Tony McQuay US

VAN NIEKERK was low in points scored, but his 3 high-end seasons combined with the WR were enough to propel him to the fore… Repeaters: Wariner (1) & Merritt (2)… Top scorers: Merritt 58, James 55, van Niekerk 35… No. 1s: van Niekerk 3; James & Merritt 2; Gardiner, Kerley & Wariner 1… OG golds: James/van Niekerk… WC golds: James/Merritt/van Niekerk/van Niekerk/Gardiner.

In a brilliant 3-year string, 2015–17, Wayde van Niekerk won Olympic gold, 2 WC golds and claimed the 400 WR. (GLADYS CHAI/ASVOM AGENCY)
1 David Rudisha Kenya
2 Nijel Amos Botswana
3 Mohamed Aman Ethiopia
4 Adam Kszczot Poland
5 Ferguson Cheruiyot Kenya
6 Nick Symmonds US
7 Abubaker Kaki Sudan
8 Pierre-Ambroise Bosse France
9 Marcin Lewandowski Poland
10 Amel Tuka Bosnia

2 WORLD RECORDS, 4 gold medals—what’s not to like about Rudisha?… Sole repeater: Rudisha (10)… Top scorers: Rudisha 61, Amos 54, Cheruiyot 39… No. 1s: Rudisha 5; Amos 2; Aman, Donovan Brazier (US) & Emmanuel Korir (Kenya) 1… OG golds: Rudisha/Rudisha… WC golds: Rudisha/Aman/Rudisha/Bosse/Donavan Brazier.

1 Asbel Kiprop Kenya
2 Silas Kiplagat Kenya
3 Timothy Cheruiyot Kenya
4 Elijah Manangoi Kenya
5 Taoufik Makhloufi Algeria
6 Matthew Centrowitz US
7 Ayanleh Souleiman Djibouti
8 Abdelaati Iguider Morocco
9 Nixon Chepseba Kenya
10 Mekonnen Gebremedhin Ethiopia

3-TIME WORLD CHAMP KIPROP, unfortunately, has a pending drug positive, but the loss of his ’17 season wouldn’t affect his status here… Sole repeater: Kiprop (4)… Top scorers: Kiprop 69, Kiplagat 60, Souleiman 42… No. 1s: Kiprop 5; Cheruiyot & Kiplagat 2; Manangoi 1… OG golds: Makhloufi/Centrowitz… WC golds: Kiprop/Kiprop/Kiprop/Manangoi./Cheruiyot.

1 Conseslus Kipruto Kenya
2 Ezekiel Kemboi Kenya
3 Evan Jager US
4 Mahiedine Mekhissi France
5 Paul Koech II Kenya
7 Jairus Birech Kenya
7 Soufiane El Bakkali Morocco
8 Brimin Kipruto Kenya
9 Benjamin Kigen Kenya
10 Hillary Yego Kenya

KEMBOI (4) & KIPRUTO (3) split up the medals, but the latter dominated the World Rankings with 4 No. 1s to 1… Repeaters: Kemboi (2), Koech (3), B. Kipruto (4)… Top scorers: C. Kipruto 68, Koech 48, Kemboi 47… No. 1s: C. Kipruto 4; Birech & Koech 2; El Bakkali & Kemboi 1… OG golds: Kemboi/C. Kipruto… WC golds: Kemboi/Kemboi/Kemboi/C. Kipruto/C. Kipruto.

1 Mo Farah Great Britain
2 Muktar Edris Ethiopia
3 Hagos Gebrhiwet Ethiopia
4 Selemon Barega Ethiopia
5 Paul Chelimo US
6 Bernard Lagat US
7 Dejen Gebremeskel Ethiopia
8 Thomas Longosiwa Kenya
9 Yomif Kejelcha Ethiopia
10 Isiah Koech Kenya

5 OF 7 MAJOR GOLDS, 5 No. 1s as Farah became a most familiar face… Repeater: Lagat (4)… Top scorers: Farah 59, Gebrhiwet 40, Edris 37… No. 1s: Farah 5; Barega 2; Edris, Imane Merga (Ethiopia) & Caleb Ndiku (Kenya) 1… OG golds: Farah/Farah… WC golds: Farah/Farah/Farah/Edris/Edris.

10,000 METERS
1 Mo Farah Great Britain
2 Joshua Cheptegei Uganda
3 Paul Tanui Kenya
4 Ibrahim Jeilan Ethiopia
5 Galen Rupp US
6 Bedan Muchiri Kenya
7 Geoffrey Kamworor Kenya
8 Yomif Kejelcha Ethiopia
9 Imane Merga Ethiopia
10 Rhonex Kipruto Kenya

MIRRORING HIS 5K COUNT, Farah again had 5 major golds, 5 No. 1s and 59 points… No repeaters… Top scorers: Farah 59, Tanui 44, Rupp 40… No. 1s: Farah; Cheptegei 2; Jeilan, Wilson Kiprop (Kenya) & Rupp 1… OG golds: Farah/Farah… WC golds: Jeilan/Farah/Farah/Farah/Cheptegei.

1 Sergey Shubenkov Russia
2 Omar McLeod Jamaica
3 Aries Merritt US
4 David Oliver US
5 Jason Richardson US
6 Orlando Ortega Cuba/Spain
7 Hansle Parchment Jamaica
8 Pascal Martinot-Lagarde France
9 Grant Holloway US
10 Dayron Robles Cuba

NO OLYMPICS FOR SHUBENKOV, but the Russian made the most of his WC appearances, claiming a gold, 2 silvers and a bronze… Repeaters: Robles (4), Oliver (9)… Top scorers: Shubenkov 61, Oliver & Ortega 53… No. 1s: McLeod, Oliver & Shubenkov 2; Martinot-Lagarde, Merritt, Ortega & Robles 1… OG golds: Merritt/McLeod… WC golds: Richardson/Oliver/Shubenkov/McLeod/Holloway.

1 Karsten Warholm Norway
2 Javier Culson Puerto Rico
3 Kerron Clement US
4 Michael Tinsley US
5 Bershawn Jackson US
6 Félix Sánchez Dominican Republic
8 Dai Greene Great Britain
8 Yasmani Copello Turkey
9 Aderrahmane Samba Qatar
10 Jehue Gordon Trinidad

CULSON WAS EASILY the top scorer, but didn’t win a major, having OG bronze and WC silver, whereas Warholm twice won the WC and in addition moved to No. 2 on the all-time list… Repeaters: Sánchez (1), Clement (2), Jackson (4)… Top scorers: Culson 55, Tinsley 37, Jackson 32… No. 1s: Culson, Jackson & Warholm 2; Clement, Gordon, Greene & Samba 1… OG golds: Sánchez/Clement… WC golds: Greene/Gordon/Nicholas Bett (Kenya)/Warholm/Warholm.

1 Eliud Kipchoge Kenya
2 Wilson Kipsang Kenya
3 Lelisa Desisa Ethiopia
4 Geoffrey Mutai Kenya
5 Kenenisa Bekele Ethiopia
6 Dennis Kimetto Kenya
7 Stephen Kiprotich Uganda
8 Tsegaye Kebede Ethiopia
9 Gabriel Makau Kenya
10 Abel Kirui Kenya

FORGET THE SUB-2:00 SILLINESS: with half the No. 1s and no fewer than 7 World Marathon Majors wins, Kipchoge was the man… Repeater: Kebede (9)… Top scorers: Kipchoge 61, Kipsang 56, Desisa 31… No. 1s: Kipchoge 5, Bekele, Desisa, Kipsang, Makau & G. Mutai 1… OG golds: Kiprotich/Kipchoge… WC golds: A. Kirui/Kiprotich/Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (Eritrea)/G. Kirui/Desisa… Top American: Galen Rupp.

1 Zhen Wang China
2 Ding Chen China
3 Zelin Cai China
4 Miguel Ángel López Spain
5 Caio Bonfim Brazil
6 Christopher Linke Germany
7 Yusuke Suzuki Japan
8 Toshikazu Yamanishi Japan
9 Koki Ikeda Japan
10 Dane Bird-Smith Australia

THE ONLY DOUBLE No. 1 of the decade, Wang also had a pair of No. 2s to go with his Oly gold and 2 WC silvers… No repeaters… Top scorers: Wang 44, López 31, Cai 29… No. 1s: Wang 2; Eider Arévalo (Colombia), Chen, Ruslan Dmytrenko (Ukraine), Ikeda, Aleksandr Ivanov (Russia), López, Hao Wang (China) & Yamanishi 1… OG golds: Chen/Z. Wang… WC golds: Luis Fernando López/Ivanov/M. López/Arévalo/Yamanishi… Top American: John Nunn.

1 Matej Tóth Slovakia
2 Jared Tallent Australia
3 Yohann Diniz France
4 Robert Heffernan Ireland
5 Hiroki Arai Japan
6 Tianfeng Si China
7 Ihor Hlavan Ukraine
8 Evan Dunfee Canada
9 Takayuki Tani Japan
10 Satoshi Maruo Japan

AFTER A RIO GOLD Tóth sat out most of the ’17 season (including the WC) on an adverse test result of which he was subsequently cleared… Repeater: Tallent (10)… Top scorers: Tóth 62, Tallent 59, Diniz 52… No. 1s: Tóth 3; Diniz 2; Arai, Heffernan, Denis Nizhegorodov (Russia), Yusuke Suzuki (Japan) & Tallent 1… OG golds: Tallent/Tóth… WC golds: Nizhegorodov/Heffernan/Tóth/Diniz/Suzuki… Top American: John Nunn.

Top-rated high jumper Mutaz Barshim gave the locals plenty to cheer about when he won gold at Doha ’19. (KEVIN MORRIS)
1 Mutaz Barshim Qatar
2 Bogdan Bondarenko Ukraine
3 Ivan Ukhov Russia
4 Derek Drouin Canada
5 Erik Kynard US
6 Jesse Williams US
7 Robbie Grabarz Great Britain
8 Danil Lysenko Russia
9 Aleksey Dmitrik Russia
10 Guowei Zhang China

ONE OF THE DECADE’S FEW 9-time Rankings scorers in any event, Barshim added a trio of No. 2s and a No. 5 to his 4 No. 1s… No repeaters… Top scorers: Barshim 77, Bondarenko 45, Ukhov 43… No. 1s: Barshim 4; Bondarenko & Ukhov 2; Mikhail Akimenko (Russia) & Williams 1… OG golds: Ukhov/Drouin… WC golds: Williams/Bondarenko/Drouin/Barshim/Barshim… WIC golds: Ukhov/Dimítrios Hondrokoúkis (Greece)/Barshim/Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy)/Danil Lysenko (Russia).

1 Renaud Lavillenie France
2 Sam Kendricks US
3 Piotr Lisek Poland
4 Paweł Wojciechowski Poland
5 Björn Otto Germany
6 Raphael Holzdeppe Germany
7 Malte Mohr Germany
8 Thiago Braz Brazil
9 Shawn Barber Canada
10 Konstadínos Filippídis Greece

LAVILLENIE & KENDRICKS met no fewer than 40 times, with the American coming out on top 23–17 as they split all the No. 1s. The WR-setting Frenchman had a better collection of medals and Rankings, however… No repeaters… Top scorers: Lavillenie 87, Kendricks 43, Filippídis 42… No. 1s: Lavillenie 7; Kendricks 3… OG golds: Lavillenie/Braz… WC golds: Wojciechowski/Holzdeppe/Barber/Kendricks/Kendricks… WIC golds: Steve Hooker (Australia)/Lavillenie/ Filippídis/Lavillenie/Lavillenie.

1 Greg Rutherford Great Britain
2 Jeff Henderson US
3 Luvo Manyonga South Africa
4 Juan Miguel Echevarría Cuba
5 Aleksandr Menkov Russia
6 Dwight Phillips US
7 Tajay Gayle Jamaica
8 Mitchell Watt Australia
9 Fabrice Lapierre Australia
10 Ruswahl Samaai South Africa

THE LOWEST-TOTALED SCORING LEADER in all the events, Rutherford had the most No. 1s plus OG and WC golds… Repeater: Phillips (1)… Top scorers: Rutherford 42, Henderson & Menkov 37… No. 1s: Rutherford 3; Echevarría 2; Henderson, Manyonga, Menkov, Phillips & Watt 1… OG golds: Rutherford/Henderson… WC golds: Phillips/Menkov/Rutherford/Manyonga/Gayle; WIC golds: Lapierre/Mauro da Silva (Brazil)/da Silva/Marquis Dendy (US)/Echevarría.

1 Christian Taylor US
2 Will Claye US
3 Teddy Tamgho France
4 Pedro Pablo Pichardo Cuba/Portugal
5 Nelson Évora Portugal
6 Alexis Copello Cuba/Azerbaijan
7 Bin Dong China
8 Fabrizio Donato Italy
9 Phillips Idowu Great Britain
10 Lyukman Adams Russia

TAYLOR WAS SO DOMINANT that even though Claye scored enough points to lead almost every other event he was only 2nd here… Repeater: Évora (3)… Top scorers: Taylor 89, Claye 70, Pichardo 46… No. 1s: Taylor 8; Tamgho 2… OG golds: Taylor/Taylor… WC golds: Taylor/Tamgho/Taylor/Taylor/Taylor; WIC golds: Tamgho/Claye/Adams/Dong/Claye.

1 Tom Walsh New Zealand
2 David Storl Germany
3 Ryan Crouser US
4 Joe Kovacs US
5 Tomas Majewski Poland
6 Ryan Whiting US
7 Reese Hoffa US
8 Christian Cantwell US
9 Dylan Armstrong Canada
10 Darrell Hill US

THE FIRST 4 were almost impossible to separate, and at various times the panel had them in about every imaginable permutation. The selectors finally settled on Walsh (6 medals, 3 golds, 1 No. 1, 6 times in top 5) over Storl (8 medals, 2 golds, 0 No. 1s, 5 times in top 5), Crouser (2 medals, 1 gold, 3 No. 1s, 4 times in top 5) and Kovacs (4 medals, 2 golds, 1 No. 1, 5 times in top 5)… Repeaters: Cantwell (2), Hoffa (3), Majewski (5)… Top scorers: Storl 55, Walsh 51, Hoffa 50… No. 1s: Crouser 3; Hoffa 2; Armstrong, Cantwell, Kovacs, Walsh & Whiting 1… OG golds: Majewski/Crouser… WC golds: Storl/Storl/Kovacs/Walsh/Kovacs… WIC golds: Cantwell/Whiting/Whiting/Walsh/Walsh.

5 times the top-rated discus thrower, Robert Harting entertained crowds with his shirt-ripping tradition after major gold medals. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)
1 Robert Harting Germany
2 Piotr Małachowski Poland
3 Gerd Kanter Estonia
4 Daniel Ståhl Sweden
5 Ehsan Hadadi Iran
6 Christoph Harting Germany
7 Fedrick Dacres Jamaica
8 Andrius Gudžius Lithuania
9 Robert Urbanek Poland
10 Lukas Weißhaidinger Austria

THIS WAS UNIQUE, with the Harting brothers claiming the Olympic golds… Repeaters: Kanter (2), R. Harting (4), Małachowski (5)… Top scorers: Małachowski 71, R. Harting 64, Kanter 51… No. 1s: R. Harting 5; Małachowski 2; Dacres, Gudžius & Ståhl 1… OG golds: R. Harting/C. Harting… WC golds: R. Harting/R. Harting/Małachowski/Gudžius/Ståhl… Top American: Mason Finley.

1 Paweł Fajdek Poland
2 Krisztián Pars Hungary
3 Dilshod Nazarov Tajikistan
4 Wojciech Nowicki Poland
5 Koji Murofushi Japan
6 Primož Kozmus Slovenia
7 Marcel Lomnický Slovakia
8 Sergey Litvinov II Germany/Russia
9 Aleksey Sokirskiy Ukraine
10 Bence Halász Hungary

NO OLYMPIC CREDENTIALS for Fajdek, but with 4 WC golds he was clearly the best… Repeaters: Murofushi (1), Kozmus (3), Pars (5)… Top scorers: Fajdek 72, Pars 57, Nazarov 52… No. 1s: Fajdek & Pars 4; Murofushi & Nowicki 1… OG golds: Pars/Nazarov… WC golds: Murofushi/Fajdek/Fajdek/Fajdek/Fajdek… Top American: Kibwé Johnson.

1 Vítězslav Veselý Czech Republic
2 Tero Pitkämäki Finland
3 Thomas Röhler Germany
4 Julius Yego Kenya
5 Johannes Vetter Germany
6 Andreas Thorkildsen Norway
7 Jakub Vadlejch Czech Republic
8 Magnus Kirt Estonia
9 Keshorn Walcott Trinidad
10 Matthias De Zordo Germany

WITH 9 DIFFERENT No. 1s, this was certainly fun to figure out… Despite being shy in the long-throws department, Veselý parlayed the only double No. 1 with Oly silver and WC gold to steal the top spot… Repeaters: Thorkildsen (1), Pitkämäki (4)… Top scorers: Pitkämäki 53, Röhler 47, Veselý 44… No. 1s: Veselý 2; De Zordo, Andreas Hofmann (Germany), Kirt, Pitkämäki, Röhler, Thorkildsen, Vetter & Yego 1… OG golds: Walcott/Röhler… WC golds: De Zordo/Veselý/Yego/Vetter/Anderson Peters (Grenada)… Top American: Sean Furey.

1 Ashton Eaton US
2 Kevin Mayer France
3 Trey Hardee US
4 Damian Warner Canada
5 Rico Freimuth Germany
6 Leonel Suárez Cuba
7 Kai Kazmirek Germany
8 Niklaus Kaul Germany
9 Eelco Sintnicolaas Netherlands
10 Ilya Shkurenyov Russia

EATON LOST HIS WR to Mayer, but with a pair of all-time bests to go with 4 No. 1s and pairs of both OG and WC golds the American was an easy choice. Repeater: Hardee (7)… Top scorers: Eaton 58, Warner 55, Mayer 44… No. 1s: Eaton 4; Hardee & Mayer 2; Romain Barras (France) & Kaul 1… OG golds: Eaton/Eaton… WC golds: Hardee/Eaton/Eaton/Mayer/Kaul. ◻︎