Female track and field athlete of the year nominees announced

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The 10 nominees for World Athletics’ female athlete of the year include a group of world record breakers and no Americans after a season rocked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Femke Bol (Netherlands, 400m Hurdles)
Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia, 5000m)
Sifan Hassan (Netherlands, 5000m/10,000m)
Peres Jepchirchir (Kenya, Half Marathon)
Faith Kipyegon (Kenya, 800m/1500m)
Laura Muir (Great Britain, 1500m)
Hellen Obiri (Kenya, 3000m/5000m)
Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela, Triple Jump)
Elaine Thompson-Herah (Jamaica, 100m/200m)
Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia, Half Marathon)

Five finalists will be determined via voting among the World Athletics Council (50 percent), World Athletics family (25 percent) and by fans (25 percent) by liking individual athlete graphics on World Athletics’ Facebook and Instagram or by retweets.

The finalists will be named after voting closes on Nov. 15. The athletes of the year will be announced at the World Athletics awards on Dec. 5.

World records were broken this year by Gidey (5000m), Hassan (hour run), Jepchirchir (half marathon, women only), Rojas (triple jump, indoors) and Yeshaneh (half marathon).

Of those, Gidey was the one woman to break a record in an Olympic program event. The 22-year-old who was briefly expelled from school for refusing to run in physical education classes could become the youngest woman to take the award since American Sanya Richards-Ross in 2006. And the first woman to win without Olympic experience since Marion Jones in 1998.

Jepchirchir, 27, made a late bid to challenge Gidey by winning the world half marathon title on Oct. 17 and lowering the women’s only record for the second time in the last two months. A Kenyan has never won the female athlete of the year award.

American Dalilah Muhammad took the honor last year, when she twice lowered the 400m hurdles world record. Muhammad, like many top athletes, did not enter any races in her primary event in 2020.

Three U.S. women topped 2020 world rankings in individual Olympic program events — Lynna Irby (400m), Katie Nageotte (pole vault) and Valarie Allman (discus).

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