Athlete of the Year
Once again, I have a vote in the IAAF’s World Athlete of the Year selection. The first round of selection narrows the pools of eleven men and eleven women to three of each; the Athlete of the Year will be picked by a “special jury” from that short list.
Voting is available online; the “internet vote” will be 30% of the selection for the first round, whereas the vote of the “IAAF Athletics Family” (a component of which is “Selected International Press,” i.e. the likes of me) counts for 70%. I have no idea how many people make up that group; I’m betting more than a hundred, but I suppose I’d be surprised if there were many more than one thousand. So my vote counts somewhat more than it would in the average U.S. general election, but not enough to really sway things.
By the looks of the online poll, Liu Xiang and Blanca Vlasic are leading so far, and they certainly have a lot in their favor, Vlasic in particular. However, I’m sending in my vote for two Ethiopians.
I’m picking Haile Gebrselassie over Xiang, because he set two world records this year, including one in the marathon which I think heralds a change in the event. Xiang ran a stunning World Championship final under tremendous pressure, but otherwise he didn’t make much of a dent in the season.
The women’s side was tougher. Vlasic dominated the season in the high jump, and won all the big meets. I’d vote for her. But Meseret Defar, once again, lowered the world record in her event, and after watching her gut out a very, very fast 3,000m in Boston when she wasn’t 100% (and then get that record later in the season) I thought she could use a vote.
Disagree with me? The poll is right here. I’m not certain, but I’m betting that three of you out-vote one of me.
Now Playing: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go by Lori McKenna