The IAAF World Athlete of the Year 2016 women's finalists: Almaz Ayana, Elaine Thompson and Anita Wlodarczyk (Getty Images) © Copyright
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A closer look at the 2016 World Athlete of the Year women's finalists

With just 16 days to go until the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016 which will reveal the name of the 2016 Women's World Athlete of the Year, we once again revisit the achievements of the three women's finalists.

Almaz Ayana (ETH) 

Picking up brilliantly where she left off in 2015 as the world 5000m champion, 24-year-old Almaz Ayana ventured into territory few would have considered a possibility this year. 

Opening her season with an 8:23.11 victory over 3000m at the IAAF Diamond League series opener in Doha, Ayana proceeded to rewrite the all-time lists in the 5000m. After a 14:16.31 performance in Rabat, she threatened the world record with a 14:12.59 run in Rome, the second-fastest performance of all time.

That momentum continued in late June at the Ethiopian Olympic trials for 10,000m where Ayana triumphed in 30:07.00, the fastest ever debut over the distance. In Rio she went faster still, opening the Oympic athletics programme with a stunning 10,000m world record of 29:17.45 that knocked more than 14 seconds from a record set 23 years earlier.

At 5000m, Ayana took Olympic bronze and won the Diamond Race.

Elaine Thompson (JAM)

Jamaican Elaine Thompson arrived in Rio known mainly for her exploits as a 200m runner. She left as the sport's new sprint queen.

In the 100m she stormed to a 10.71 victory, the second-fastest winning time in an Olympic final. Her performance was just 0.01 shy of the lifetime best she set in Kingston six weeks earlier which elevated the 24-year-old to the No.4 spot on the world all-time list.

In the 200m final four days later, she was even more dominant. Well ahead in the first half, she handily fended off a late-race challenge by Dafne Schippers to win in 21.78, also a world lead, to the Dutchwoman's 21.88 to reverse their finish from the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.

She also earned Olympic 4x100m silver, world indoor 60m bronze, and ended the season undefeated in eight 100m finals.

Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)

Few athletes began the Olympic season as strong a favorite for gold as was Anita Wlodarczyk in the hammer.

She lived up to expectations brilliantly, dominating the competition in Rio with three of the five longest throws in history, topped by a monster effort of 82.29m.

That throw added 1.21m to the world record she set last year in Cetniewo, Poland, and was her 11th victory of the season in as many competitions. But there was more.

In her final competition of the year before a home crowd in Warsaw, the 31-year-old broke the world record again, this time with an 82.98m effort to extend her victory streak to 30 finals, which also included a third successive European title and the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge crown.

The voting process

The finalists were determined by a three-way voting process. The IAAF Council’s vote counted for 50% of the result, the IAAF Family’s* vote counted for 25% and a public vote, conducted via social media, counted for 25% of the final result.

The World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2016 in Monaco on Friday, 2 December.

IAAF 

*IAAF Family: IAAF member federations, IAAF Committee members, IAAF meeting directors, IAAF athlete ambassadors, athletes’ representatives, top athletes, members of the international press, IAAF staff members and the IAAF’s official partners.