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McLaughlin-Levrone, Duplantis win World Athlete of the Year awards



World champion American hurdler Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Swedish pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis won the World Athlete of the year awards on Monday.

They were declared the winners by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe alongside Serbian javelin thrower Adriana Vilagos and USA sprinter Erriyon Knighton, who were named the Rising Stars Awards winners respectively.

McLaughlin-Levrone and Duplantis, winners of the Rising Stars awards four years ago, broke the world records in their respective disciplines on more than one occasion this year.

However, it’s their final record-breaking performances at the World Athletics Championships in July in Oregon, USA that highlighted their nerve-racking feats.

Duplantis, who won the award in 2020, beat the 2018 and 2019 winner, world marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge, Moroccan Soufiane El Bakkali (3,000m steeplechase), Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen (5,000m) and Noah Lyles (200m) from USA.

McLaughlin-Levrone improved her own world 400m hurdles record by 0.78, first to 51.41 at the US Championships and then to an awe-inspiring 50.68 at the World Championships.

That secured her a first individual senior world title, and she followed it by anchoring the USA team to another 4x400m victory.

The 23-year-old made a statement with her first 400m hurdles race of the year, clocking 51.61 in Nashville in early June. At that point it was the third-fastest time ever recorded, but the all-time list soon underwent further revisions.

Lining up at the US Championships at Hayward Field, McLaughlin-Levrone stormed to victory in the 400m hurdles in 51.41, taking 0.05 off the mark she set at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I think there’s a little bit more in the tank there,” she said after her USA Championships win.

“Hopefully when it’s time we can just empty it completely.”

Back at Hayward Field a month later, McLaughlin-Levrone obliterated her previous best, running 50.68 as the home crowd and the rest of the world watched on in amazement.

“All of my goals were accomplished this year,” said McLaughlin-Levrone. 

Duplantis set three world records, won two global titles, won 18 of his 19 competitions, and vaulted six metres or higher 23 times.

Duplantis, despite only just turning 23, now has more six-metre clearances than any other pole vaulter in history.

His record-breaking 2022 campaign began with an undefeated indoor season, during which he set a world record of 6.19m in Belgrade.

He returned to the Serbian capital two weeks later for the World Athletics Indoor Championships, where he struck gold with 6.20m, another improvement on his own world record.

He was victorious on the Diamond League circuit, including a 6.16m vault in Stockholm, the highest ever outdoor vault in history. It was the perfect warm-up for the World Championships three weeks later.

As the last athlete competing on the final day of competition at the World Championships in Oregon, Duplantis soared over a world record of 6.21m with room to spare.

Less than a month later, he retained his European title with a championship record of 6.06m in a competition where he registered no misses. He then wrapped up his season with a victory at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich.

“Going into the year, I had really high expectations of myself and I had some really big goals,” said Duplantis. “I wanted to win the world indoors, the world outdoors, the Europeans, the Diamond League final, and I wanted to break the world record a few times.

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