With the 2010 season now officially over in my book with the closing of the Commonwealth Games, I think it’s safe to dole out major accolades for the season. I started earlier with a look at the Top Breakthrough Americans this year and hope to continue with other segments of the sport. But of course the biggie each year, and one that has already started lots of conversation, is the annual selection of Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
So, I think it’s safe to pick up my year end review with my selection of the Male Athlete of the Year.
In an average season it’s fairly easy to pick out an AOY as someone usually steps up early and separates from the pack. This year however, there were several athletes stepping up early, with the name “David” reaching the top of most lists by the start of the summer. That being David Oliver (US) and David Rudisha (KEN).
Both athletes had superb seasons. Each made significant impacts on the all time lists. Both established new national records – no mean feat given the history of both American hurdlers and of Kenyan half milers – and both went undefeated.
For me it was a neck and neck race throughout the summer until August 22nd, because on that day Rudisha ran 1:41.09 to take down Wilson Kipketer’s twelve year old WR (1:41.11) to stake his claim as the best half miler in history. One week later, Rudisha did it again going 1:41.01 for his second WR in the event and with it taking the title of the year’s most outstanding male as two WR’s trump two AR’s in my book.
I’ve seen many conversations on the net asking whether or not Rudisha did enough to warrant being the Athlete of the Year on many message boards. “Did he compete enough?” being the prime question. To that I say – absolutely. Rudisha started the season back on February 27th with a PR 45.00 – making him #48 on the world list this year. Not bad for a half miler who ran the event only once. A nice foreshadowing of what was to come.
He then opened in the 800 a few days later (Mar 4th) with a sizzling 1:43.15, and it was clear that his season was going to be something special. How special? Take a look at his 2010 performance list.
Outstanding running with the top two performances in history, the #5 performance, and the #11 performance. His 1:41.51 was good enough to lead any season in history other than Kipketer’s WR season. His 1:42.04 would have lead all but 5 seasons in history. And only twice did he fail to run below 1:44. In my book Rudisha more than competed enough to go with unquestioned quality.
My Runner Up is just as clear with David Oliver also having a season for the ages. Undefeated. American Records of 12.90 and 12.89 (making him #3 all time), only .02 off the WR, and five meets under 13.00.
The degree of “perfection” was high this year performance wise. You couldn’t falter at all and be in the hunt for Athlete of the Year. Following are a handful of athletes that dominated the competition and had only a hiccup or so along the way, yet were left out of the conversation among the top two. So Honorable Mentions to:
|Christian Cantwell||Shot Put|
|Bershawn Jackson||400 Hurdles|
As all had outstanding seasons. David Rudisha, however, had a magnificent, all conquering, historical kind of season. Making him my Male Athlete of the Year for 2010.