World pole vault record holder Mondo Duplantis and World 400m hurdles record holder McLaughlin-Levrone were named the 2022 World Athletics’ athletes of the year.
Duplantis, 23, broke three world pole vault records and quite literally raised the bar. His first two marks – 6.19m and 6.20m – came in Belgrade, in the warm-up meet to and then the World Indoor Championships. The Swede then equaled his world outdoor best in front of a partisan home crowd at the Stockholm Diamond League before clearing 6.21m at the World Championships in Oregon.
“You want to peak physically at the right time,” Duplantis says. “Mentally as well, having a nice set of competitions before a big meet is crucial. My event is so technical and you need to get that practice in and figure it out.
“From the beginning I was never really competing against anybody other than myself. I set goals for myself and what I’m capable of. I’m grateful for what I’ve done but I have hunger and I still feel like I can jump higher.
“I need to work on speed in the take-off and I’m still trying to build upon that, being aggressive on the approach.”
The USA superstar, McLaughlin took apart her own world record not once but twice in Hayward. The first came at the USATF trials when she clocked 51.41 before breaking the 51-second barrier to run 50.68 at the World Championships on home soil.
McLaughlin, 23, has now broken the world 400m hurdles record on four occasions in the space of two years. Before fellow American and double Olympic and world champion in the discipline Dalilah Muhammad set the world record in 2019, it had lasted for 16 years.
“In my head both distances are remaining options,” she says. “I think there’s so much more in the 400m hurdles but a lot of it is what my coach wants to do and he’s still figuring it out.
“Bobby [Kersee] is an established coach and an amazing talent. He knows the sport inside out and about me as an athlete. He has helped me mentally grow as a woman as well as an athlete and it’s showed in the performances we’ve had.”