Ahead of next week’s IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 where the World Athletes of the Year will be announced, we revisit the achievements of the women’s finalists.
Injury forced the Ethiopian to postpone the start of her 2017 competitive campaign, meaning she arrived at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 having not competed all year.
But just minutes after the gun went for the 10,000m final, Ayana soon blew off the rust and reproduced the kind of dominant form that carried her to the Olympic title 12 months prior.
After a conservative first half, Ayana increased her lead with each lap and covered the second half of the race in 14:25. She went on to win by 46 seconds, the biggest ever winning margin in that event at the World Championships, and clocked a world-leading 30:16.32.
She took the silver medal in the 5000m just eight days later, giving her the best collection of individual medals achieved by a woman at this year's World Championships.
The Greek pole vaulter was undefeated outdoors this year. Her only loss of 2017 was an indoor competition in February; since then, she put together a string of 14 consecutive victories.
Her winning streak included the IAAF World Championships London 2017, where she cleared a world-leading national record of 4.91m to move to equal fourth on the world all-time list.
The 27-year-old also won at the European Indoor Championships in Belgrade and at all of her IAAF Diamond League appearances, including the final in Brussels. She also produced the three highest clearances of the year.
The Belgian all-rounder started 2017 by winning the European indoor pentathlon title with a world-leading 4870.
Two months later, she climbed to third on the world heptathlon all-time list after winning at the IAAF Combined Events Challenge meeting in Gotzis with 7013 with a series that included a 1.98m high jump and a 59.32m javelin throw.
At the World Championships in London was not so much on big scores but on securing the gold medal. She lived up to expectation in all seven disciplines and earned the title with a score of 6784.
Voting procedure for 2017 World Athletes of the Year
A three-way voting process determined the finalists. The IAAF Council and the IAAF Family cast their votes by email, while fans voted online via the IAAF’s social media platforms. The IAAF Council’s vote counted for 50% of the result, while the IAAF Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25% of the final result. Voting closed on 16 October.
The World Athletes of the Year will be announced live on stage at the IAAF Athletics Awards 2017 in Monaco on Friday 24 November.