Hicham El Guerrouj and Paula Radcliffe - 2002 World Athletes of the Year (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Track and Field News name Radcliffe and El Guerrouj as their Athletes of the Year

Matching the Athlete of the Year announcement at last month's IAF World Athletics Gala in Monte Carlo, USA’s ‘Track & Field News’ (T&FN) magazine has named Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain and Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, as its 2002 Athletes of the Year, in its December edition.

T&FN's international panel of experts made women’s marathon world best setter Radcliffe, 28, an almost unanimous choice for number one, according her the top spot on 32 of the 35 ballots. The other votes for the number one slot went to Marion Jones (2) and Ana Guevara (1).

By contrast, Moroccan middle distance star El Guerrouj, in becoming just the second athlete ever to be named men's Athlete of the Year three times (Carl Lewis did it in 1982-84), faced a very tough battle.

Indeed, Khalid Khannouchi the runner up in the poll actually got more first place votes, 17-16. However, the American marathoner who like Radcliffe set a world best at the distance this year had less support across the board, so El Guerrouj, 28, was able to defend his status as number one. 400m Hurdler Felix Sánchez (4) and sprinter Tim Montgomery (1) also got first place votes.

Men's Voting Leaders:
1. Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco--1500m) 344
2. Khalid Khannouchi (US--marathon) 319
3. Felix Sánchez (Dominican Republic--400 hurdles) 303
4. Róbert Fazekas (Hungary--discus) 245
5. Adam Nelson (US--shot put) 188
6. Tim Montgomery (US--100m) 157
7. Sergey Makarov (Russia--javelin) 145
8. Roman Sebrle (Czech Republic--decathlon) 120
9. Wilson Kipketer (Denmark--800m) 90
10. Francisco Fernández (Spain--20K walk) 63

Women's Voting Leaders:
1. Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain--distances) 344
2. Marion Jones (US--sprints) 305
3. Ana Guevara (Mexico--400m) 265
4. Svetlana Feofanova (Russia--pole vault) 189
5. Tatyana Kotova (Russia--long jump) 172
6. Gail Devers (US--100 hurdles) 161
7. Kajsa Bergqvist (Sweden--high jump) 149
8. Süreyya Ayhan (Turkey--1500m) 144
9. Maria Mutola (Mozambique--800m) 65
10. Yuliya Pechonkina (Russia--400 hurdles) 40

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Previous Men's Athletes Of The Year
1959    Martin Lauer (West Germany) 110H/decathlon

1960    Rafer Johnson (US) decathlon
1961    Ralph Boston (US) long jump/110H
1962    Peter Snell (New Zealand) 800/1500-Mile
1963    C.K. Yang (Taiwan) decathlon/pole vault
1964    Peter Snell (New Zealand) 800/1500-Mile
1965    Ron Clarke (Australia) 5000/10,000
1966    Jim Ryun (US) 800/1500-Mile
1967    Jim Ryun (US) 1500-Mile
1968    Bob Beamon (US) long jump
1969    Bill Toomey (US) decathlon

1970    Randy Matson (US) shot put
1971    Rod Milburn (US) 110H
1972    Lasse Viren (Finland) 5000/10,000
1973    Ben Jipcho (Kenya) 1500/steeple/5000
1974    Rick Wohlhuter (US) 800/1500-Mile
1975    John Walker (New Zealand) 800/1500-Mile
1976    Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 400/800
1977    Alberto Juantorena (Cuba) 400/800
1978    Henry Rono (Kenya) steeple/5000/10,000
1979    Sebastian Coe (Great Britain) 800/1500-Mile

1980    Edwin Moses (US) 400H
1981    Sebastian Coe (Great Britain) 800/1500-Mile
1982    Carl Lewis (US) 100/200/long jump
1983    Carl Lewis (US) 100/200/long jump
1984    Carl Lewis (US) 100/200/long jump
1985    Saïd Aouita (Morocco) 1500-Mile/5000
1986    Yuriy Syedikh (Soviet Union) hammer
1987    *Ben Johnson (Canada) 100
(*Johnson retroactively banned by IAAF for admitted drug use; No. 2 in the voting was Aouita.)
1988    Sergey Bubka (Soviet Union) pole vault
1989    Roger Kingdom (US) 110H

1990    Michael Johnson (US) 200/400
1991    Sergey Bubka (Soviet Union) pole vault
1992    Kevin Young (US) 400H
1993    Noureddine Morceli (Algeria) 1500-Mile/3000
1994    Noureddine Morceli (Algeria) 1500-M/3000/5000
1995    Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 3000/5000/10,000
1996    Michael Johnson (US) 200/400
1997    Wilson Kipketer (Denmark) 800
1998    Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 3000/5000/10,000
1999    Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500-Mile/3000

2000    Virgilijus Alekna (Lithuania) discus
2001    Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500-Mile
2002    Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) 1500-Mile

Previous Women's Athletes Of The Year
1974    Irena Szewinska (Poland) 100/200/400
1975    Faina Melnik (Soviet Union) shot/discus
1976    Tatyana Kazankina (Soviet Union) 800/1500
1977    Rosemarie Ackermann (East Germany) high jump
1978    Marita Koch (East Germany) 100/200/400
1979    Marita Koch (East Germany) 100/200/400

1980    Ilona Briesenick (East Germany) shot
1981    Evelyn Ashford (US) 100/200
1982    Marita Koch (East Germany) 100/200/400
1983    Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia) 200/400/800
1984    Evelyn Ashford (US) 100
1985    Marita Koch (East Germany) 100/200/400
1986    Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US) LJ/heptathlon
1987    Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US) 100H/LJ/heptathlon
1988    Florence Griffith Joyner (US) 100/200
1989    Ana Quirot (Cuba) 400/800

1990    Merlene Ottey (Jamaica) 100/200
1991    Heike Henkel (Germany) high jump
1992    Heike Drechsler (Germany) long jump
1993    Junxia Wang (China) 1500/3000/10,000/marathon
1994    Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US) 100H/long jump/hept
1995    Sonia O'Sullivan (Ireland) 1500/3000/5000
1996    Svetlana Masterkova (Russia) 800/1500
1997    Marion Jones (US) 100/200
1998    Marion Jones (US) 100/200/long jump
1999    Gabriela Szabo (Romania) 1500/3000/5000

2000    Marion Jones (US) 100/200/long jump
2001    Stacy Dragila (US) pole vault
2002    Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) 3K/5K/10K/mar