In a 2023 that saw them win three medals at the World Championships in Budapest, sprinters Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles were honored as Athlete of the Year by the USA Track & Field (USATF) and will be recognized on Saturday, December 2, at the Night of Legends, to be held in Orlando.
Richardson, 23, won the Jackie-Joyner Kersee award after a season in which, in addition to being crowned in the 100 and 4x100 meters and winning bronze in the 200m in Budapest, she won three stages of the Diamond League and managed to drop the 11 seconds 12 times.
The Dallas native is the first 100-meter specialist to also take the podium in the 200m since Carmelita Jeter in 2011 and managed to cut the supremacy of Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, winner of the award in 2021 and 2022.
Lyles’ achievement has a more impressive connotation, having matched Michael Johnson with three Jesse Owens Awards to his credit, after winning them in 2018 and 2022. The 26-year-old athlete’s passage through Budapest was even more glorious than Richardson’s: he reached the top of the world in the 100, 4x100 and 200 meters, a test in which he finished undefeated for the second consecutive year.
The chance to become World Athletics Athlete of the Year for the first time presents itself as the most immediate event with the highest expectations and demands for Lyles. He must surpass in votes his compatriot Ryan Crouser (shot put), Neeraj Chopra (javelin throw), Kelvin Kiptum (marathon) and Armand Duplantis (pole vault), all champions and record holders in their disciplines. Sha’Carri Richardson made the list of the 11 best of 2023, but was not selected among the five finalists.
The USATF also awarded Dennis Mitchell, coach of Richardson and fellow world champion Twanisha “TeeTee” Terry, as Coach of the Year, Shawnti Jackson, Pan American U20 champion in the 200m and owner of three national high school records, as Youth Athlete of the Year and Jenny Hitchings and Sue McDonald as Masters Athletes of the Year.