Kimberly Garcia and Jakob Ingebrigtsen (© Getty Images)
As the World Athletics Awards 2022 draws near, we shine a spotlight on the finalists for the World Athlete of the Year awards.
The World Athletes of the Year will be announced on World Athletics’ social media platforms in early December, as part of the World Athletics Awards 2022.
After a decade of breaking national records and establishing herself as the leading athlete in Peru, Kimberly Garcia’s year-on-year progress continued in 2022 when she stepped up to become the best race walker in the entire world.
Her season started in February with silver in the 20km at the South American Race Walking Championships, adding to the gold she won in 2014 and her bronze from 2018 to complete a full set of medals from the continental event.
One month later, she earned her first ever podium finish at a global championship event, placing third in the 20km at the World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships Muscat 22.
Garcia made her 35km debut in Dudince in April, finishing second in a South American record of 2:43:19. May was a much busier month, but she maintained her consistency with a 20km victory in Rio Maior, a 10km runner-up finish in Madrid, a 10,000m silver medal at the Ibero-American Championships and a 20km PB of 1:28:38 in La Coruna, again finishing second.
Following a busy few months, she opted not to race again until the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, where she was entered for both the 20km and 35km events. Although she was considered a strong medal contender in both events, few would have predicted what was to unfold in Oregon.
At the start of the championships, she won the 20km convincingly in a national record of 1:26:58, finishing 33 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and, more significantly, becoming the first athlete from Peru to win a world title.
One week later, she doubled her country’s all-time gold medal haul at the World Championships when she won the 35km by an even bigger margin, this time 47 seconds, in a South American record of 2:39:16, becoming the first woman to win two race walking titles at one global championships.
Unsurprisingly, she ended the year world ranked No.1 in both the 20km and 35km.
He may have still only been 21 at the start of this year, but Jakob Ingebrigtsen already had numerous continental titles to his name, as well as Olympic gold. But in 2022 he ticked off two more boxes on his ever-growing list of career accomplishments.
The first of those – a world record – came in his season opener in Lievin in February. Running a perfect race in the 1500m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting, the Norwegian runner stopped the clock at 3:30.60 to take almost half a second off the previous world indoor record.
A bout of Covid prevented him from being at his best at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, but he still managed to emerge with the silver medal.
He returned to winning ways during the outdoor season and won all but one of his races at 1500m and above. His early season streak included mile victories at the Wanda Diamond League meetings in Eugene and Oslo; the latter with a world-leading national record of 3:46.46.
Ingebrigtsen was surprisingly beaten in his specialist discipline at the World Championships, but he rebounded five days later to win the 5000m, earning his first world title in athletics.
One month later, he successfully defended his European titles over 1500m and 5000m with the finals of those races just two days apart.
His winning habit continued through the end of the season as he won the 1500m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Lausanne in a world-leading 3:29.05 and he then improved that time with his 3:29.02 victory at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich.