Series13 Jul 2019

Fab five: unbeaten streaks


Fab five: winning streaks (© Getty Images)

In this week’s fab five, we focus on a special quintet of athletes who each amassed a jaw-dropping sequence of victories.


Valerie Adams

Valerie Adams in the shot put at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Sopot 2014


Just two months short of nine years, Queen Val reigned supreme in the women’s shot circle. From September 2006 the formidable Kiwi embarked on an incredible unbeaten streak stretching 107 competitions. The stunning sequence was only ended at the 2015 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris when, after returning to the competitive fold following elbow surgery, she placed fifth behind German Christina Schwanitz.

During the greatest unbeaten streak of the modern era, Adams snared eight world titles (indoors and out) and two Olympic titles.

Edwin Moses

Ed Moses in the 400m hurdles at the 1984 Olympic Games


For nine years, nine months and nine days the US 400m hurdles great remained invincible during the most iconic winning streak in athletics history.

The formidable one-lap hurdles exponent combined speed, stamina, grace and technique to rack up 122 straight wins from 1977 to 1987 – his remarkable run finally halted by Danny Harris in Madrid. During the unbeaten period, Moses won the 1983 world title, the 1984 Olympic crown and set two world records.

Iolanda Balas

Romanian high jumper Iolanda Balas


The finest sequence of competition wins in history belongs to the Romanian high jump legend – who claimed an eye-popping 150 successive wins between 1957 and 1967.

Boasting a sophisticated scissors technique, Balas changed the face of women’s high jumping, advancing the world record from 1.75m to 1.91m. She also claimed two Olympic and two European titles. She posted the last of her 14 world records in 1961 – a mark which was to stand for ten years.

Caterine Ibarguen

Caterine Ibarguen in the triple jump at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015


For almost a full Olympiad the Colombian triple queen remained invincible. After snagging silver at the 2012 London Olympics, Ibarguen racked up 34 successive wins until June 2016 when Olga Rypakova, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist, denied her courtesy of a sixth-round jump at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Birmingham.

During this impressive sequence of success, Ibarguen collected two world titles, the Pan American crown and a hat-trick of Diamond League titles.

Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge winning the 2016 Olympic marathon in Rio


The Kenyan distance running icon’s unbeaten streak of 10 straight marathons from 2014 is, arguably, the greatest athletic feat of the modern age.

Winner of races in the wet (Berlin 2017), the heat (London 2018), in adversity, after his shoe insoles became loose, (Berlin 2015) and in the championship arena (2016 Rio Olympics) the 2018 IAAF Male Athlete of the Year has resisted every conceivable hurdle.

Besides winning four London Marathon and three Berlin Marathon titles, Kipchoge is also the owner of the two fastest times in history.

Steve Landells for the IAAF