Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt Photo credit: © Philippe Fitte for IAAF & © Giancarlo Colombo for IAAF

In the illustrious history of the World Athlete of the Year Awards, Jamaican sprinting legend Usain Bolt stands out with a remarkable six titles to his name. This year’s World Athletics Gala 2023 will be held in Monte Carlo on Monday (11 December).

Bolt, known globally for his unprecedented speed and charismatic presence, clinched the award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016, a testament to his dominance in the world of sprinting over a significant period.

Following Bolt in terms of multiple accolades, Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco and Kenenisa Bekele from Ethiopia both have been honored twice. El Guerrouj, a middle-distance maestro, claimed his titles in 2001 and 2002, while Bekele, a long-distance legend, was awarded in 2004 and 2005.

On the women’s side, Yelena Isinbaeva of Russia, renowned for her pole vaulting prowess, also boasts an impressive trio of titles, won in 2004, 2005, and 2008. Her dominance in the event has been unparalleled, earning her a spot among the all-time greats in track and field.

Marion Jones of the USA, initially a three-time winner, was later stripped of her titles. Her initial wins in 1997, 1998, and 2000 had marked her as a versatile and fast track athlete.

Asafa Powell won in 2006, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2013 and Elaine Thompson-Herah in 2021.

The World Athlete of the Year Awards, since its inception in 1988, have celebrated the pinnacle of achievement in track and field, recognizing athletes who have not only shown exceptional performance in their disciplines but also inspired millions around the world. 

YearMenWomen
1988Carl Lewis (USA)Florence Griffith Joyner (USA)
1989Roger Kingdom (USA)Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)
1990Steve Backley (GBR)Merlene Ottey (JAM)
1991Carl Lewis (USA)Katrin Krabbe (GER)
1992Kevin Young (USA)Heike Henkel (GER)
1993Colin Jackson (GBR)Sally Gunnell (GBR)
1994Noureddine Morceli (ALG)Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
1995Jonathan Edwards (GBR)Gwen Torrence (USA)
1996Michael Johnson (USA)Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)
1997Wilson Kipketer (DEN)Marion Jones (USA)
1998Haile Gebrselassie (ETH)Marion Jones (USA)
1999Michael Johnson (USA)Gabriela Szabo (ROU)
2000Jan Zelezny (CZE)*Marion Jones (USA)
2001Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Stacy Dragila (USA)
2002Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Paula Radcliffe (GBR)
2003Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR)Hestrie Cloete (RSA)
2004Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2005Kenenisa Bekele (ETH)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2006Asafa Powell (JAM)Sanya Richards (USA)
2007Tyson Gay (USA)Meseret Defar (ETH)
2008Usain Bolt (JAM)Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS)
2009Usain Bolt (JAM)Sanya Richards (USA)
2010David Rudisha (KEN)Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
2011Usain Bolt (JAM)Sally Pearson (AUS)
2012Usain Bolt (JAM)Allyson Felix (USA)
2013Usain Bolt (JAM)Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)
2014Renaud Lavillenie (FRA)Valerie Adams (NZL)
2015Ashton Eaton (USA)Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)
2016Usain Bolt (JAM)Almaz Ayana (ETH)
2017Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT)Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)
2018Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)Caterine Ibarguen (COL)
2019Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)Dalilah Muhammad (USA)
2020Mondo Duplantis (SWE)Yulimar Rojas (VEN)
2021Karsten Warholm (NOR)Elaine Thompson-Herah (JAM)
2022Mondo Duplantis (SWE)Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone (USA)
2023??

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