Top track and field athletes of 2020: Men’s rankings

Noah Lyles, Josephus Lyles
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An event-by-event look at the men’s outdoor track and field rankings for 2020, a pandemic-impacted season that produced unpredictable top lists with some Olympic favorites not competing at all. Rankings and statistics via World Athletics and …

100 Meters
1. Michael Norman (USA) — 9.86
2. Trayvon Bromell (USA) — 9.90
3. Akani Simbine (RSA) — 9.91
Next American: Ronnie Baker (10.00)

Norman is a 400m sprinter who led the world rankings at one lap in 2019. Bromell, the 2015 World bronze medalist, broke 10.2 for the first time in four years after injuries derailed a promising career. Christian Coleman, the 2019 World champion and world’s fastest man in 2017, 2018 and 2019, was provisionally suspended in June for missing drug tests, though he has never failed a test. Coleman appealed the ban, but it’s unclear where he is at in the appeals process. If the suspension is upheld, it could last through the Tokyo Olympics.

200 Meters
1. Noah Lyles (USA) — 19.76
2. Kenny Bednarek (USA) — 19.80
3. Steven Gardiner (BAH) — 19.96
Next American: Josephus Lyles (20.24)

Noah Lyles made it three straight years atop the world rankings, consolidating his Olympic favorite status. Like Coleman, he has been bidding to make the Tokyo team in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m. Bednarek, eliminated in the heats at 2019 Worlds with a hamstring injury, ran a personal best that would have taken gold last year.

MORE: 2020 women’s track and field rankings

400 Meters
1. Justin Robinson (USA) — 44.91
2. Michael Cherry (USA) — 44.98
3. Karsten Warholm (NOR) — 45.05
Next American: Josephus Lyles (45.40)

Robinson, 18, ran faster in 2019, a 44.84 that ranked 24th in the world last year. None of the world’s four fastest men competed at 400m in 2020. It will be difficult for Robinson, Cherry or Josephus Lyles to make the three-man Olympic team in the individual 400m, with Norman and 2019 World bronze medalist Fred Kerley running 43.45 and 43.64, respectively, last year. South African Wayde van Niekerk, who lowered the world record to 43.03 in Rio, raced internationally for the first time since tearing an ACL and meniscus in a 2017 tag rugby match, clocking 45.58.

800 Meters
1. Donavan Brazier (USA) — 1:43.15
2. Bryce Hoppel (USA) — 1:43.23
3. Daniel Rowden (GBR) — 1:44.09
Next American: Vincent Crisp 1:46.29

Brazier kept his standing as the world’s best over two laps, looking next year to win the U.S.’ first Olympic title in the event since Dave Wottle in 1972. Hoppel, fourth at 2019 Worlds, took 1.02 seconds off his personal best. Two-time Olympic champion and world-record holder David Rudisha of Kenya last raced on July 4, 2017.

1500 Meters
1. Timothy Cheruiyot (KEN) — 3:28.45
2. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (NOR) — 3:28.68
3. Jake Wightman (GBR) — 3:29.47
Fastest Americans: Craig Engels (3:35.42), Donavan Brazier (3:35.85), Johnny Gregorek (3:36.11)

Cheruiyot has just one defeat at 1500m in the last two years. Ingebrigtsen, 20, has developed into his closest pursuer. Matthew Centrowitz, who in Rio became the first U.S. Olympic 1500m champion since 1908, stayed in the U.S. and raced shorter distances this summer.

5000 Meters
1. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) — 12:35.36 WR
2. Moh Ahmed (CAN) — 12:47.20
3. Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) — 12:48.63
Fastest Americans: Lopez Lomong (12:58.78), Sean McGorty (13:11.22), Grant Fisher (13:11.68)

Cheptegei took both of Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele‘s world records off the books and could succeed Mo Farah in sweeping the 5000m and 10,000m at the Olympics. American Paul Chelimo, the Rio silver medalist, did not race in the outdoor season.

10,000 meters
1. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) — 26:11.00 WR
2. Nicholas Kimeli (KEN) — 26:58.97
3. Richard Yator (KEN) — 27:01.42
Fastest Americans: Shadrack Kipchirchir (27:28.97), Girma Mecheso (27:49.53), Conner Mantz (28:07.70)

Cheptegei’s 47-second gap to the second-fastest man is Katie Ledecky-like distance dominance. Lomong, the 2008 U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony flag bearer, won the 2019 U.S. title in this event but did not contest it in 2020. He’s already raced the 1500m and 5000m at the Olympics.

1. Berhanu Legese (ETH) — 2:04:15
2. Mekuant Gebre (ETH) — 2:04:46
3. Bashir Abdi (BEL) — 2:04:49
Fastest Americans: Galen Rupp (2:09:20), Jacob Riley (2:10:02), Abdi Abdirahman (2:10:03)

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge was first or second in the world in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (and fourth in 2013 and third in 2014). This year, he is 33rd after placing eighth at the London Marathon, his first defeat at 26.2 miles in seven years. All of the top U.S. times were from the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, just before the pandemic halted competition.

110 Meter Hurdles
1. Orlando Ortega (ESP) — 13.11
2. Andrew Pozzi (GBR) — 13.14
3. Aaron Mallet (USA) — 13.15
Next Americans: Grant Holloway (13.19), Freddie Crittenden (13.30)

A streak of 10 straight years with at least one man running 13.00 or faster ends with the limited competition. Holloway is the reigning world champion. Rio gold medalist Omar McLeod of Jamaica did not race hurdles in 2020. Mallet, a 26-year-old who has never made an Olympic or world team, raced at seven meets from Aug. 17-Sept. 25 and lowered his personal best by .31 of a second. That ranks him third among Americans since the start of 2018, putting him on the radar for Tokyo.

400 Meter Hurdles
1. Karsten Warholm (NOR) — 46.87
2. Ludvy Vallant (FRA) — 48.69
3. Rasmus Magi (EST) — 48.72
Fastest Americans: David Kendziera 49.35, Mario Paul (52.23), Bryce McCray (52.36)

The two-time world champion Warholm ran the second-fastest time in history, plus three more in the 12 fastest all time. He did so without having primary rivals American Rai Benjamin and Qatari Abderrahman Samba to challenge him in 2020. Benjamin raced flat sprints this year. Samba had no recorded races.

3000 Meter Steeplechase
1. Soufiane El Bakkali (MAR) — 8:08.04
2. Leonard Bett (KEN) — 8:08.78
3. Djilali Bedrani (FRA) — 8:13.43
Fastest American: Dominic Giordano (9:28.49)

Olympic and world champion Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya hoped to chase the world record, but he tested positive for the coronavirus in August and failed to finish his lone race in September, a 1500m. American Evan Jager, the Rio silver medalist, returned to racing this year after missing all of 2019 with a foot injury, but he did not start any steeples.

High Jump
1. Maksim Nedasekau (BLR) — 2.33
2. Tomohiro Shinno (JPN) — 2.31
3. Seven men at 2.30
Top Americans: Erik Kynard (2.21), Jeron Robinson (2.20), Tyus Wilson (2.16)

Competition has been harder to come by for field athletes this season. No surprise that world champion Mutaz Barshim of Qatar sat out. Kynard competed this past season for the first time since rupturing an Achilles in summer 2018, while he waits to see if he’ll be upgraded to 2012 Olympic gold following the disqualification of Russian Ivan Ukhov for doping.

Pole Vault
1. Mondo Duplantis (SWE) — 6.15
2. Sam Kendricks (USA) — 6.02
3. Jacob Wooten (USA) — 5.90
3. Matt Ludwig (USA) — 5.90
3. Piotr Lisek (POL) — 5.90

The pandemic did not stunt the ascent of Duplantis, the 20-year-old who broke both the indoor and outdoor world records this year. Duplantis, raised in Louisiana by an American father and Swedish mother, wrestled Olympic favorite status from two-time world champion Kendricks.

Long Jump
1. Wang Jianan (CHN) — 8.36
2. Huang Changzhou (CHN) — 8.33
3. Yuki Hashioka (JPN) — 8.29
Top Americans: Trumaine Jefferson (7.59), William Dower (7.45), Reginald Steele (7.44)

Jamaican Tajay Gayle won the 2019 World title with an 8.69-meter jump. American Jeff Henderson, the 2016 Olympic champion and 2019 World silver medalist, did not compete in 2020.

Triple Jump
1. Christian Taylor (USA) — 17.57
2. Hugues Zango (BUR) — 17.43
3. Andy Diaz (CUB) — 17.30
Next Americans: Omar Craddock (17.04), Chris Carter (16.39)

Taylor, a two-time Olympic champion and four-time world champion, tops the world rankings for the first year since 2017. Primary rival and countryman Will Claye did not compete.

Shot Put
1. Ryan Crouser (USA) — 22.91
2. Leonardo Fabbri (ITA) — 21.99
3. Michal Haratyk (POL) — 21.88
Next Americans: Nick Ponzio (21.72), Joe Kovacs (21.30)

The Rio gold medalist Crouser threw a personal best, matching Kovacs’ winning distance from the 2019 World Championships, in an overall dominant season.

1. Daniel Stahl (SWE) — 71.31
2. Mauricio Ortega (COL) — 70.29
3. Fedrick Dacres (JAM0 — 69.67
Top Americans: Niklas Arrhenius (64.14), Sam Mattis (62.46), Josh Syrotchen (61.29)

Stahl competed at 20 meets from June 11-Sept. 17 and won 17 of them. The Swede rebounded from bowing out in qualifying in Rio to take world silver in 2017 and gold in 2019.

1. Rudy Winkler (USA) — 80.72
2. Wojciech Nowicki (POL) — 80.28
3. Bence Halasz (HUN) — 79.88
Next Americans: Daniel Haugh (76.22), Erich Sullins (67.93)

Winkler improved his personal best by nearly 12 feet with a throw that would have won the 2019 World title and put him third in last year’s world rankings. It’s the first time since 2011 that the U.S. put a man in the world top 10. Pawel Fajdek of Poland, winner of the last four world titles, ranked fourth this year.

1. Johannes Vetter (GER) — 97.76
2. Neeraj Chopra (IND) — 87.86
3. Marcin Krukowski (POL) — 87.07
Top Americans: Riley Dolezal (79.39), Capers Williamson (73.85), Christopher Mirabelli (73.02)

Vetter, the 2017 World champion, distanced himself from a strong group of German throwers by recording the second-best throw in history, trailing only retired legend Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic.

1. Axel Hubert (FRA) — 8,260
2. Simon Ehammer (SUI) — 8,231
3. Vitaliy Zhuk (BLR) — 8,202
No listed American results

Perhaps the toughest event to put on during a pandemic. Hubert, fourth at the 2019 French Championships, registered a total that would have placed eighth at the 2019 Worlds. World-record holder Kevin Mayer of France and world champion Niklas Kaul of Germany competed this season, but not in the decathlon.

20km Race Walk
1. Toshikazu Yamanishi (JPN) — 1:17:36
2. Koki Ikeda (JPN) — 1:18:22
3. Eiki Takahashi (JPN) — 1:18:29
Top American: Emmanuel Corvera (1:26.38)

50km Race Walk
1. Dementiy Cheparev (RUS) — 3:43:29
2. Sergey Sharypov (RUS) — 3:43:46
3. Sergey Rakov (RUS) — 3:48:37
Top Americans: Andreas Gustafsson (4:12:12), Matthew Forgues (4:14:44), Nick Christie (4:27:29)

Key times in the race walks: 1:21:00 and 3:50:00, the Olympic automatic qualifying standards. No American has hit either time in this Olympic cycle, but athletes can also qualify via world rankings.

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Faith Kipyegon breaks second world record in eight days; three WRs fall in Paris


Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke her second world record in as many Fridays as three world records fell at a Diamond League meet in Paris.

Kipyegon, a 29-year-old mom, followed her 1500m record from last week by running the fastest 5000m in history.

She clocked 14 minutes, 5.20 seconds, pulling away from now former world record holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, who ran 14:07.94 for the third-fastest time in history. Gidey’s world record was 14:06.62.

“When I saw that it was a world record, I was so surprised,” Kipyegon said, according to meet organizers. “The world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey.”

Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic 1500m champion, ran her first 5000m in eight years. In the 1500m, her primary event, she broke an eight-year-old world record at the last Diamond League meet in Italy last Friday.

Kipyegon said she will have to talk with her team to decide if she will add the 5000m to her slate for August’s world championships in Budapest.

Next year in the 1500m, she can bid to become the second person to win the same individual Olympic track and field event three times (joining Usain Bolt). After that, she has said she may move up to the 5000m full-time en route to the marathon.

Kipyegon is the first woman to break world records in both the 1500m and the 5000m since Italian Paola Pigni, who reset them in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over a nine-month stretch in 1969 and 1970.

Full Paris meet results are here. The Diamond League moves to Oslo next Thursday, live on Peacock.

Also Friday, Ethiopian Lamecha Girma broke the men’s 3000m steeplechase world record by 1.52 seconds, running 7:52.11. Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shaheen set the previous record in 2004. Girma is the Olympic and world silver medalist.

Olympic 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran the fastest two-mile race in history, clocking 7:54.10. Kenyan Daniel Komen previously had the fastest time of 7:58.61 from 1997 in an event that’s not on the Olympic program and is rarely contested at top meets. Ingebrigtsen, 22, is sixth-fastest in history in the mile and eighth-fastest in the 1500m.

Olympic and world silver medalist Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400m in 49.12 seconds, chasing down Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, who ran her first serious flat 400m in four years. McLaughlin-Levrone clocked a personal best 49.71 seconds, a time that would have earned bronze at last year’s world championships.

“I’m really happy with the season opener, PR, obviously things to clean up,” said McLaughlin-Levrone, who went out faster than world record pace through 150 meters. “My coach wanted me to take it out and see how I felt. I can’t complain with that first 200m.”

And the end of the race?

“Not enough racing,” she said. “Obviously, after a few races, you kind of get the feel for that lactic acid. So, first race, I knew it was to be expected.”

McLaughlin-Levrone is expected to race the flat 400m at July’s USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, where the top three are in line to make the world team in the individual 400m. She also has a bye into August’s worlds in the 400m hurdles and is expected to announce after USATF Outdoors which race she will contest at worlds.

Noah Lyles, the world 200m champion, won the 100m in 9.97 seconds into a headwind. Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs of Italy was seventh in 10.21 in his first 100m since August after struggling through health issues since the Tokyo Games.

Lyles wants to race both the 100m and the 200m at August’s worlds. He has a bye into the 200m. The top three at USATF Outdoors join reigning world champion Fred Kerley on the world championships team. Lyles is the fifth-fastest American in the 100m this year, not counting Kerley, who is undefeated in three meets at 100m in 2023.

Olympic and world silver medalist Keely Hodgkinson won the 800m in 1:55.77, a British record. American Athing Mu, the Olympic and world champion with a personal best of 1:55.04, is expected to make her season debut later this month.

World champion Grant Holloway won the 110m hurdles in 12.98 seconds, becoming the first man to break 13 seconds this year. Holloway has the world’s four best times in 2023.

American Valarie Allman won the discus over Czech Sandra Perkovic in a meeting of the last two Olympic champions. Allman threw 69.04 meters and has the world’s 12 best throws this year.

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Iga Swiatek sweeps into French Open final, where she faces a surprise


Iga Swiatek marched into the French Open final without dropping a set in six matches. All that stands between her and a third Roland Garros title is an unseeded foe.

Swiatek plays 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the women’s singles final, live Saturday at 9 a.m. ET on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

Swiatek, the top-ranked Pole, swept 14th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-2, 7-6 (7) in Thursday’s semifinal in her toughest test all tournament. Haddad Maia squandered three break points at 4-all in the second set.

Swiatek dropped just 23 games thus far, matching her total en route to her first French Open final in 2020 (which she won for her first WTA Tour title of any kind). After her semifinal, she signed a courtside camera with the hashtag #stepbystep.

“For sure I feel like I’m a better player,” than in 2020, she said. “Mentally, tactically, physically, just having the experience, everything. So, yeah, my whole life basically.”

Swiatek can become the third woman since 2000 to win three French Opens after Serena Williams and Justine Henin and, at 22, the youngest woman to win four total majors since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Muchova upset No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus to reach her first major final.

Muchova, a 26-year-old into the second week of the French Open for the first time, became the first player to take a set off the powerful Belarusian all tournament, then rallied from down 5-2 in the third set to prevail 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 7-5.

Sabalenka, who overcame previous erratic serving to win the Australian Open in January, had back-to-back double faults in her last service game.

“Lost my rhythm,” she said. “I wasn’t there.”

Muchova broke up what many expected would be a Sabalenka-Swiatek final, which would have been the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 match at the French Open since Williams beat Maria Sharapova in the 2013 final.

Muchova is unseeded, but was considered dangerous going into the tournament.

In 2021, she beat then-No. 1 Ash Barty to make the Australian Open semifinals, then reached a career-high ranking of 19. She dropped out of the top 200 last year while struggling through injuries.

“Some doctors told me maybe you’ll not do sport anymore,” Muchova said. “It’s up and downs in life all the time. Now I’m enjoying that I’m on the upper part now.”

Muchova has won all five of her matches against players ranked in the top three. She also beat Swiatek in their lone head-to-head, but that was back in 2019 when both players were unaccomplished young pros. They have since practiced together many times.

“I really like her game, honestly,” Swiatek said. “I really respect her, and she’s I feel like a player who can do anything. She has great touch. She can also speed up the game. She plays with that kind of freedom in her movements. And she has a great technique. So I watched her matches, and I feel like I know her game pretty well.”

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