Women’s Performance Of The Year — Syd’s Second WR

Her 51.90 WR got solid support, but when she broke that with a 51.46, Sydney McLaughlin had produced the Women’s Performance Of The Year. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

OUR 26-MEMBER international voting panel had little trouble in choosing the year’s best women’s individual performance, with Sydney McLaughlin’s WR crushing the competition. And for good measure she chalked up the =No. 6 mark as well.

In a not-subtle bit of analysis, two panelists reacted to the rash of fast times by voting for “the shoes,” with one of them giving high-tech footgear a No. 1.

The 21 different performances which received recognition in our 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system:

1. Sydney McLaughlin’s 51.46 WR, 108 (15 No. 1s)

Our panel loved McLaughlin’s gold-winning 51.46 World Record in Tokyo, assigning it more than half the votes for No. 1. How fast is a 51.46? Only 23 other Americans ran faster without hurdles in the way. “I saw Dalilah [Muhammad] ahead of me with one to go,” she said. “I just thought, ‘Run your race.’ The race doesn’t really start till hurdle 7. I just wanted to go out there and give it everything I had.”

2. Yulimar Rojas’s 51-5 (15.67) WR, 83 (3)

Clearly the best field eventer of the year, the bouncy Venezuelan hopped 19-2¾ (5.86), stepped 12-6¼ (3.82) and jumped 19-8 (5.99) in raising the all-time TJ best from the longstanding 50-10¼ (15.50) set by Ukraine’s Inessa Kravets at the ’95 World Championships. “Since I woke up today I knew that it was going to be a great day,” said history’s first 51-footer.

3. Elaine Thompson-Herah’s 10.54, 69 (4)

If you discount Florence Griffith-Joyner’s official WR of 10.49 as illegally wind-aided — which hardcore statisticians have long done — ETH’s post-Tokyo 10.54 is the fastest mark ever. The speedy Jamaican cranked off that mark in winning the Pre Classic with a wind of 0.9. This mark received the second-most votes for No. 1.

4. Thompson-Herah’s negative-wind 10.61, 27 (1)

This may actually have been ETH’s best century of the year (or more precisely, ever), coming as it did with an 0.6 headwind in winning Olympic gold. The wind/altitude adjustment charts found in The Big Gold Book convert the 10.61 to a 10.57. The charts convert her 10.54 to a 10.60.

5. Letesenbet Gidey’s 62:52 WR, 19 (1)

When Ruth Chepngetich chopped 29 seconds off the half-marathon WR in April with her 64:02 it was considered an amazing performance. What then to make of Gidey’s October sojourn in Valencia, which whacked a massive 80 seconds more? The panel made it No. 5, including a No. 1 nod.

Other Vote-Getters

6. tie, McLaughlin’s 51.90 WR & Thompson-Herah’s 21.53 OG win, 16
8. Gidey’s 29:01.03 WR, 12 (1)
9. Dalilah Muhammad’s 51.58 for OG silver, 11
10. “The Shoes,” 6 (1)
11. Faith Kipyegon’s 3:53.11 OG win, 4
12. tie, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn’s 12.26 OG semi & Kipyegon’s 3:51.07, 3
14. tie, Athing Mu’s 1:55.21 OG win, Sifan Hassan‘s 29:06.82 WR, 14. Jiayu Yang’s 1:23:49 WR, 14. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 10.60 & Valarie Allman’s 233-5 (71.16) AR, 2
19. tie, Allman’s 226-4 (68.98) OG win, Hassan’s 14:36.79 OG win & Hassan’s 29:55.32 OG win, 1.