Top three females SPIKES
The three finalists for the female 2015 IAAF World Athlete of the Year were announced today. We take a look at the season-defining moments of each of the three contenders for the grand prize.
After stumbling out of the blocks and looking out of the running, Schippers accelerated through the final half of the race – a trick that she has become renowned for – to score European indoor gold, her first title of the year. On top of the sprint double she scored at the European outdoor champs last seasn, the win here in 7.05 confirmed her status as the continent's finest sprinter.
Any doubts of the sometime heptathlete’s ability to specialise were blown away when the Dutchwoman ran a national record 10.94 in the 100m in Hengelo. It was a sign of more to come: she broke her 100m best on three further occasions in 2015, lastly at the Beijing world champs on her way to silver in 10.81.
200m, Beijing, August 28
Everyone expected a thriller of a race, but few predicted the fireworks that went off in the 200m final in the Bird’s Nest. Like a tulip peaking through in early spring, Schippers burst from a tight pack when she hit the straight to take gold in 21.63 – the fastest any woman has run in a generation.
Last year Dibaba set three indoor world records within the space of a fortnight. This season, perhaps with an eye on the outdoors, the Ethiopian's indoor schedule was much reduced. Yet she still found time to squeeze in a world record, running a 14:18.86 5k in the same venue she broke the 3k record 12 months and 12 days earlier.
1500m, Monaco, July 17
Dibaba shook off her reputation as an indoor only athlete on a sparkling night of athletics in the Stade Louis II. Assisted by the on-point pacing of Chanelle Price, she smashed the unsmashable, running a 3:50.07 1500m to break a 22-year-old world record. Simply wow.
That she would have the legs was never a doubt, but some pondered how Dibaba would cope going for a first major champs medal outdoors. She proved she can out think the best as well as outkick ‘em, racing away from the pack to win gold, spinning her arms like a slender windmill as she crossed the line.
When is a world record not a world record? When it can’t be ratified, that’s when. Anita Wlodarczyk threw her hammer out to 79.83m in an exhibition in Wroclaw, but it was recorded as an “irregular mark” (apparently because it was over a river) and counted for nothing in official statos' logbooks. But it counts in our log book. With two world leads already under her belt, it was another show of strength that rattled her rivals and pointed towards the season-long domincance that the Pole would sustain.
Cetniewo, August 1
This one would count: 81.08m to obliterate the previous best by a metre-and-a-half. When you unleash a good one you just know, and Wlodarczyk knew here as she celebrated with the hammerball still cart wheeling through the air and beyond the 80m-mark for the first time in history.
Not so much a battle won but a coronation well-exectued. Four of Wlodarczyk’s five legal throws would have won the gold, with her 80.85m best mark a championship record and the second furthest ever thrown by a woman. A worthy way to win her title.