World-record setters Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Mondo Duplantis were named Athletes of the Year by World Athletics on Monday, adding more accolades to a remarkable 2022 for both athletes.
McLaughlin-Levrone, the 23-year-old American, broke her own world record in the 400-meter hurdles twice during the year, the last coming at world championships during the summer, when she finished the race in 50.68 seconds. That shattered her old mark by .73 and gave her a world title to go with her Olympic gold medal from the year before, where she also set a record.
All part of a big year for McLaughlin-Levrone who, in May, married Andre Levrone Jr., a receiver at University of Virginia who later spent parts of three seasons in the NFL.
“That has definitely helped me for the better, both on and off the track,” McLaughlin-Levrone said in a phone interview with The Associated Press after the awards ceremony in Monaco. “It's definitely been a blessing, for sure.”
McLaughlin-Levrone said she is still considering changing events, either to the 400 meter-flat or the 100-meter hurdles.
“Obviously, 400 hurdles are great and there's still work to be done there,” she said. “Probably by the time 2023 hits, in January, we'll know what we're doing, and we'll go for it. But all cards are on the table.”
Duplantis set both the indoor and outdoor world records in pole vault this year. He jumped 6.2 meters at indoor worlds for the indoor record. His highest mark is 6.21 meters, which he set on the last jump in the last event at outdoor worlds over the summer. He said he never seriously considered going for an even higher mark that day in Eugene, Ore.
“The way it set up, where I was putting on the show, and to break the record in that kind of way at world championships, it's one of those moments you kind of dream of,” Duplantis said.
The 23-year-old, who competes for Sweden and splits time between there and Louisiana, won 18 of 19 meets he entered in 2022 and vaulted 6 meters or higher 23 times, which gives him more 6-meter clearances than anyone in history.
The World Athletics Rising Star awards went to Adriana Vilagos of Serbia, who defended her under-20 world javelin title, and U.S. sprinter Erriyon Knighton, who won the award for the second straight year. Knighton, who turns 19 in January, won a bronze medal at worlds in the 200 meters in 19.69 seconds in a race won by Noah Lyles, who ran 19.31 to break Michael Johnson's 26-year-old U.S. record.