Four European athletes have been announced as finalists for the 2020 World Athlete of the Year awards which will be presented virtually on Saturday 5 December.
There is strong European representation on the men’s side with Sweden’s Armand Duplantis, Norway’s Karsten Warholm and Johannes Vetter from Germany all in contention for the accolade of male World Athlete of the Year alongside Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Ryan Crouser from the United States
On the women’s side, Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands is one of the five finalists, joining Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir, Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey and Elaine Thompson-Herah from Jamaica on the shortlist.
Hassan enjoyed a brief but hugely successful track campaign, breaking the world one hour record in Brussels before shattering the European 10,000m record in Hengelo with 29:36.67, the fourth fastest time in history.
Duplantis also rewrote the record books in the pole vault with clearances of 6.17m and 6.18m during the indoor season while Warholm and Vetter - the 2019 and 2017 men’s European Athlete of the Year respectively - edged closer to the seemingly unsurpassable world records in their respective events.
The last European winners of the World Athlete of the Year accolade were Belgium’s Nafissatou Thiam on the women's side in 2017 and France’s Renaud Lavillenie on the men's side in 2014. Not since 1993 when Brits Sally Gunnell and Colin Jackson won have European athletes swept both awards.
A rundown of the four finalists and their achievements in 2020.
Sifan Hassan (NED)
-Broke the world record for the hour in Brussels with 18,930 metres
-Shattered the long-standing European 10,000m record with 29:36.67 in Hengelo, the fourth fastest time in history
-Won over 5000m in Ostrava in 14:37.85
Armand Duplantis (SWE)
-Broke the world pole vault record with 6.17m and 6.18m during the indoor season
-Surpassed Sergey Bubka’s world outdoor best with 6.15m in Rome
-Went unbeaten in 16 competitions indoors and outdoors
-Cleared 6.00m or higher in a record-equalling 10 competitions in 2020
Johannes Vetter (GER)
-Achieved the second longest throw in history with the current specification javelin with 97.76m in Chorzow
-Won nine successive competitions across August and September
-Achieved five of the six longest throws in history, including three 90 metre-plus throws
Karsten Warholm (NOR)
-Broke his European 400m hurdles record with 46.87 to move within one-tenth of Kevin Young’s world record
-Went unbeaten in 10 races at all distances in 2020
-Finished the year with the six fastest times in the 400m hurdles