Monday 30 March, 2020

Rudisha edges Bolt for track and field athlete of the decade award

Usain Bolt.

Usain Bolt.

Track and Field News which is considered the bible of athletics has named Kenya’s middle distance ace, David Rudisha, track and field athlete of the decade.

Rudisha just edged out legendary Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt but had an advantage in that he competed in every year of the last decade while Bolt did not. In fact, Bolt’s early exploits started in the previous decade.

Track and Field News said its screening panel knew it had to be one of the two. But which?

“By the thinnest of margins imaginable the decision came down in favour of the Kenyan half-mile ace,” the magazine said.

It noted that as usual, luck plays a big part. “Luck in the form of when your career started and/or ended”.

“Although we had a basic rule of valuing quality over quantity, one who competed in all 10 years of the decade obviously had an advantage over another who competed in just one. The prime component in all choices was “honors won,” including rankings places and finishes in Annual Athlete of The Year voting”.

That said, the Top 10 men of the Teens are:

1. David Rudisha (Kenya)

In a marvelous string to open the decade Rudisha was the Athlete of the Year in three straight years (2010–12), a feat only ever matched by Carl Lewis. When he was done he had broken the 800 world record three times (1:41.09, 1:41.01, 1:40.91), the last of them being chosen as Performance of the Decade. His dominance of the all-time list was amazing, as his marks from that era still rate as Nos. 1-2-3-6-7-8 on the all-time list. He won two  Olympic gold medals and a pair of World Championship gold medals and ended up with 5 No. 1s in the World Rankings.

2. Usain Bolt (Jamaica)

The No. 4 choice in the Noughties, Bolt is the only repeater from that decade’s Top 10. Even though his world-record-setting years came in that previous decade, the world’s fastest human nonetheless made an impact on the all-time lists, producing the second-fastest 100 ever, 9.63, and the Nos. 5 and 6 clockings in the 200 (19.32, 19.40). Bolt dominated the world rankings in each of the dashes, scoring 1-1-1-2-2-2-3 in the 100 and 1-1-1-1-1-3 in the 200. His individual medal haul was large: all 4 Olympic gold medals, plus two gold and bronze in the World Championship  100 and three gold medals over 200, also at the World Championships. Bolt had no Athlete of the Year titles, but was twice runner-up and thrice chosen as No. 3.

Those ranked three to 10 are:

3. Christian Taylor – triple jumper - (U.S.)
4. Mo Farah – 5000m; 10,000m - (Great Britain)
5. Ashton Eaton – decathlete (U.S.)
6. Wayde van Niekerk – 200 m; 400m (South Africa)
7. Eliud Kipchoge marathon - (Kenya)
8. Renaud Lavillenie polt vault - (France)
9. Mutaz Barshim – high jump (Qatar)
10. Robert Harting – discuss (Germany)

Previous Athlete of the Decade winners are:

The ’60s—Peter Snell middle distance - (New Zealand)
The ’70s—Viktor Saneyev – triple jumper (Soviet Union)
The ’80s—Carl Lewis – sprinter (US)
The ’90s—Michael Johnson – sprinter (US)
The ‘00s—Kenenisa Bekele 5000m; 10,000m - (Ethiopia)

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