Feature17 Oct 2022

World Athlete of the Year 2022 – spotlight on the women’s nominees


Nominees for the women's World Athlete of the Year 2022 award

The leading athletes of 2022 will be crowned later this year at the World Athletics Awards 2022.

Following last week’s announcement of the 10 nominees for the Female World Athlete of the Year 2022, we take a closer look at their seasons.


Tobi Amusan (NGR)

After narrowly missing out on global medals in 2021 and 2019, Nigerian sprint hurdler Tobi Amusan established herself as the world No.1 in 2022.

But she didn’t simply end her season as the fastest 100m hurdler of the year; she became the fastest woman in history for the discipline following her stunning world record run of 12.12 in the semifinals at the World Championships in Oregon.

She went on to win gold in the final in a wind-assisted 12.06. It was one of three major titles she won this year. Earlier in the season she retained her African title, then in August she successfully defended her Commonwealth title in a Games record of 12.30.

She capped her season with victory in the Wanda Diamond League final in a meeting record of 12.29.


Chase Ealey (USA)

US shot putter Chase Ealey enjoyed a promising start to her season when earning the first global medal of her career, taking silver at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade with an equal North American record of 20.21m.

That was be the last time this year that she finished outside of the top spot.

She went on to have an undefeated outdoor campaign, and from June onwards all of her victories came with throws beyond 20 metres – a distance she hadn’t achieved before 2022.

She threw a world-leading PB of 20.51m to win the US title, then came within two centimetres of that mark when she returned to Eugene in July, winning the world title with 20.49m.

She closed out her season with victory in the Wanda Diamond League Final.


Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)

In her 15th season of international racing, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce achieved a level of high-performing consistency never before seen in the sprints.

Just five women in history, for example, have ever broken 10.70 for 100m. Fraser-Pryce this year made that barrier look almost ordinary as she bettered it seven times throughout the season.

She clocked 10.67 to win her fifth world 100m title, equalling the world-leading mark she had set earlier in the year. She went on to reduce her season’s best to 10.62, and then wrapped up her season by winning the Diamond League title in 10.65, running into a -0.8m/s headwind.

She earned two other medals at the World Championships, taking silver in the 200m (21.81) and in the 4x100m (41.18).


Kimberly Garcia (PER)

Peruvian race walker Kimberly Garcia went into the World Championships as an outside bet for a medal, but emerged as a double world champion who made sporting history for her country.

She was consistently on the podium in all of her races for the first half of the season, taking silver at the South American Championships and bronze at the World Race Walking Team Championships.

In Oregon, however, she was unbeatable – at both the 20km and 35km race walking events.

She scooped the 20km title in a national record of 1:26:58, earning Peru’s first ever global title in athletics. One week later she doubled the country’s all-time gold medal haul by winning the 35km title in a South American record of 2:39:16.


Shericka Jackson (JAM)

Shericka Jackson had previously earned major relay titles and individual medals, but the Jamaican sprinter had never had a moment of glory to herself – until this year.

She established herself as the world’s leading 200m runner, winning all of her races at that distance from June onwards, and breaking the 22-second barrier in all but one of those victories.

She won the Jamaican title in a PB of 21.55, then went even faster one month later when winning the world title in Oregon in 21.45 – the second-fastest time in history and just 0.11 shy of the long-standing world record.

Her medal haul in Oregon also included silver medals in the 100m (10.73) and 4x100m (41.18).

She completed her season by winning the Diamond League title in Zurich in 21.80.


Faith Kipyegon (KEN)

Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon used 2022 to exhibit her dominance of the 1500m – not that there was any doubt about her ability in that event.

Her first 1500m race of the year was a 3:52.59 victory at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene. She then dropped down to the 800m to sharpen her speed and ran a season’s best of 1:58.18 in Nairobi a few weeks before the World Championships.

Back in Eugene, this time for the World Championships, Kipyegon regained her world title with another dominant run, clocking 3:52.96 to take gold.

One month later, she took a crack at the world record in Monaco and came within 0.30 of the mark, setting a Kenyan record of 3:50.37 – the second-fastest time in history.

She ended her season by winning the Diamond League title in Zurich.


Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR)

Following on from her world silver in 2019 and Olympic bronze in 2021, Ukrainian high jumper Yaroslava Mahuchikh bagged her first senior global title in 2022.

Still aged only 20 at the time, Mahuchikh scaled an indoor world lead of 2.02m to win at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade.

Her outdoor season started strong, winning in Eugene and Paris before jumping 2.03m in Brno. She took silver on countback at the World Championships in Oregon, jumping the same height (2.02m) as eventual winner Eleanor Patterson).

But Mahuchikh enjoyed a successful end to her season, winning gold at the European Championships in Munich, clearing a world-leading national record of 2.05m in Brussels, and winning the Diamond League title in Zurich.


Sydney McLaughlin (USA)

In 2022 Sydney McLaughlin produced not only one of the best performances of the year, but also arguably one of the greatest performances in the history of the sport.

She won the world 400m hurdles title in Oregon in a stunning 50.68 – a time that would win most international races in the 400m flat. To put her dominance in perspective, McLaughlin finished way ahead of former world record-holder and 2019 world champion Dalilah Muhammad and Dutch runner Femke Bol, the preeminent figure on the international circuit.

McLaughlin’s start to the season – a 51.61 run in Nashville, then the third-fastest time in history – hinted that the US athlete was in great form. That was confirmed when she set a world record of 51.41 at the US Championships, taking 0.05 off the mark she ran when winning Olympic gold last year.

After winning the world 400m hurdles title, she scooped another gold medal in the 4x400m, running a 47.91 split on the anchor leg.

She wrapped up her season with victory in Szekesfehervar in 51.68, her fourth sub-52-second clocking this year. That barrier had never been broken before June 2021; it has now been done seven times, six of them by McLaughlin.


Shaunae Miller-Uibo (BAH)

Despite her dominance of the 400m over the past six years, Bahamian sprinter Shaunae Miller-Uibo had never won a senior world title in her specialist discipline before 2022.

Now she has two.

The double Olympic champion won the world indoor title in Belgrade in 50.31, then went on to enjoy a near-perfect outdoor campaign in the one-lap sprint, winning nine of her 10 races (heats and finals).

She won a long-awaited outdoor world title in Eugene in 49.11, then followed it with victory at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Monaco in 49.28 and gold on home soil at the NACAC Championships in Freeport in 49.40.


Yulimar Rojas (VEN)

Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas has reached a level of dominance and consistency where victories are now expected and records are highly anticipated in almost every competition.

Thankfully for her legion of fans, she continues to deliver.

The standout moment of her year came at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade where she won her third successive title in an outright world record of 15.74m, adding seven centimetres to the world record she set when winning Olympic gold in Tokyo last year.

Her undefeated streak continued outdoors, and she won her third consecutive outdoor world title in Oregon with a world-leading 15.47m. She went on to record three more victories, all of them beyond 15 metres, including at the Wanda Diamond League final (15.28m).