Having named the World Athletes of the Year, next on the list are the US versions. And as with the global AOY’s the choice for the men is fairly easy while that for the women is a little closer to call.
For the men, it’s as easy as selecting the runner up choice for the Men’s World Athlete of the Year – David Oliver. Oliver was neck and neck in the selection for World Male AOY until a pair of World Records tipped the scales in Rudisha’s favor. Otherwise Oliver may have been the World Male AOY such was Oliver’s season.
David Oliver was as dominating in the 110 hurdles as any athlete has been in any event in quite some time. For starters, he was undefeated. But more importantly, the quality of his performances was outstanding as Oliver was responsible for 12 of the top 20 performances on the season – 5 of them under the magical 13.00 barrier. Oliver set two American Records in 2010 – a tie in Eugene (12.90) and the first sub12.90 by an American in Paris (12.89). Add a margin of victory that was consistently well over .10sec and the only thing that Oliver didn’t do during his campaign is break the WR.
David Oliver’s Top 10 Performances in 2010
|12.93||Des Moines||Jun 27||.24|
Nearly as dominating was my runner up shot putter Christian Cantwell. Cantwell lead the world at 22.41 / 73’ 6.25”; had 11 meets over 71 feet, and was victorious in 16 of 18 outdoor competitions. Extremely solid credentials. Unfortunately for Christian Oliver simply never faltered or had a down moment.
On the women’s side things were much tighter, as I found three women to be worthy of the title – Allyson Felix, Chaunte Howard Lowe, and Kara Patterson.
Allyson Felix had a single loss on the season while winning Diamond League titles in both the 200 and 400 meters. Chaunte Howard Lowe set a new AR in the high jump while going toe to toe all season with Blanka Vlasic – and gave her fits. While Kara Patterson also set an AR in the javelin and went toe to toe all summer with Barboa Spotakova.
In the final evaluation, Felix dominated the competition, but both her competition and her marks over most of the season were a bit less than stellar. Patterson was a step above as she set new standards for American javelin throwers with 9 meets over 200 feet including her AR of 66.67 / 218’ 8” – the best season ever for an American javelin thrower. But just as Patterson’s season was a step above Felix’, Chaunte Howard Lowe’s season was a nudge above Patterson’s.
In 16 outdoor competitions, Howard Lowe finished no less than 2nd in all but 2 of them. In 9 of them she cleared 2.00 / 6’ 6.75” or better. Four times she took World AOY to a count back on misses before surrendering victory. And twice she claimed victory over the World AOY! Did I mention she set an AR 2.05 / 6’ 8.75”. So in a year were several American women stepped up on the world stage it is my opinion that Chaunte Howard Lowe was indeed the best of them all.
Chaunte Lowe’s Top 10 Performances in 2010
|2.05 / 6’ 8.75”||Des Moines||Jun 26|
|2.04 / 6’ 8.25”||Cottbus||May 30|
|2.03 / 6’ 8”||Rome||Jun 10|
|2.01 / 6’ 7”||Oslo||Jun 4|
|2.00 / 6’ 6.75”||Kingston||May 1|
|2.00 / 6’ 6.75”||Madrid||Jul 2|
|2.00 / 6’ 6.75”||Barcelona||Jul 9|
|2.00 / 6’ 6,75”||Paris||Jul 16|
|2.00 / 6’ 6.75”||Stockholm||Aug 6|
|1.98 / 6’ 6”||Doha||May14|
Congratulations to all of this year’s top performers. I’m looking forward to much more from all of them in 2011.