The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

2022 – One Outstanding Season

Sep 12th, 2022
12:53 pm PDT

Just as the letter Z closes out the alphabet. Zurich and Zagreb have closed out the 2022 track season. And what a season it’s been. More Championships than ever in one season with NCAA’s, Nationals, Worlds, U20’s, Commonwealth, NACAC, and Europeans! That’s enough to fill an Olympic cycle, let alone one year. That’s just championship meets. There were the other usual competitions. The relay meets – Florida, Texas, Penn, MtSAC and others. The European
Circuit, Diamond League, Continental Tour, and other assorted meets.

With that many competitive opportunities you would expect a few exceptional results. Well we had more than a few. As several all time lists were edited in 2022. And many of this year’s annual lists were deeper than ever before. As the sports athletes competed at levels never before seen. As we head into the off season, here are some of my highlights from 2022.

Sydney McLaughlin WR – The top performance of the year was Sydney breaking her own WR at the World Championships. After demolishing the field over the first 300 meters, she strode up the straight to finish in 50.68. Looking like she could still run faster. Which is how she always looks, and why we keep expecting more.

Tobi Amusan WR – This was totally unexpected. Unexpected in a semi final. Unexpected by Tobi. But she ran away from the field in 12.12. Annihilating the previous record. She lowered it again in the final, but it was just over the wind limit. However, we now know that 12.06 is possible. Perhaps in 2023.

Erriyon Knighton WJR – Last year Knighton did what was thought couldn’t be done – he broke Usain Bolt’s junior 200 record. Still a junior, Knighton opened his season with another record. Lowering his 19.83 to a stunning 19.49! The mark moved him to #4 all time among all men! Now the world wonders just how fast Mr Knighton can run.

Noah Lyles AR – Mr Knighton’s record sent Noah back to practice, literally. His hard work paid off, when he blew but everyone in the World Championships final. On his way to 19.31! Just like that Michael Johnson was out of the record books, and Noah began thinking about the World record. By the way, Noah’s entire season was the best ever. With seven races under 19.70. And all of his final four under 19.60!

Kara Winger AR – Kara announced early on, that this would be her final year in the sport. A sport where she started throwing the javelin, way back in 2004. She joined the 60 meter club in 2008 (61.56m). Then broke the AR in 2010 (66.67m). Then an ACL injury in 2012 required surgery. But she continued competing. Another injury in 2020 required repair. She competed in Tokyo. Announced retirement this year. Then went out and had her best season ever! She took silver at Worlds (64.05m). Won the NACAC (64.68m). Set the AR in Brussels (68.11m). Then finished with a victory in the Diamond League Final (64.98m). Leaving fans saying, please don’t quit Kara!

Abby Steiner CR – Talk about a season. Started indoors with a 22.09 CR/AR. Then she went outdoors. Running 21.80 at NC’s. Then 21.80 and 21.77 at Nationals. Greatest 200 sprinter in college history. Along the way, she ran 10.90 and split 48.7. Showing tremendous versatility. Which she also displayed at the World Championships. Tired, she only finished 5th the 200. But she ran a sterling second leg on the winning 4×1. Then finished the meet running 49.9 on the second leg of the winning 4×4. Like I said, what a season.

US Women 4×1 Gold – If there was ever a squad with the odds stacked against them out was the US Women’s 4×1. Jamaica had the first three finishers in the 100. All three with multiple accolades. And their leadoff runs 10.88. She’s the slow one. But Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner, and Jenna Prandini out ran the opening Jamaican trio of Nelson, Elaine Thompson and Shelly Ann Fraser. Giving anchor TeeTee Terry a commanding lead. And Terry just held off the closing rush of Shericka Jackson by .04sec! Thus a story that will be told for decades was born.

Joe Kovacs #3 All Time SP – Kovacs often plays Robin to Ryan Crouser’s Batman. As Crouser has kind of taken over the shot in recent years. But Kovacs has also had his moments. Twice winning Worlds ahead of Ryan. Joe’s biggest moment may have come at this year’s Diamond League final. When he threw a huge 23.23 meters. Becoming the #2 thrower in history with the #3 All Time performance. Suddenly Budapest looks like it could be a repeat of Doha 2019. With Kovacs and Crouser going toe to toe.

Shericka Jackson #2 All Time 200 – The 200 was busy this year. Shericka’s part was the 21.45 that she ran at Worlds. Making her #2 All Time. She also had a 21.55 at the Jamaican Championships. And she ran 21.67 in her semi at Worlds! She finished the year with a 21.80. Easily the second best season ever in the event.

Faith Kipyegon #2 All Time 1500 – Faith is, in my opinion, the greatest miler in history. Her 3:50.37 in Monaco was just short of the WR (3:50.07). In addition, she also ran 3:52.56 and 3:52.96 this year. Both writing the top 11 marks all time. And she did it against some of history’s best. When Faith steps on the track, everyone knows that the race is going to be fast. Including her opponents.

Alison dos Santos #3 All Time 400H – In Tokyo, dos Santos was “The Other Guy” behind Karsten and Rai. This year he became “The Guy”, as he ran stellar time after time, and beat everyone in sight. In Eugene he beat everyone, including Warholm and Benjamin as he screamed to a 46.29 victory. The #3 time in history. Suddenly the big two is a big three. With Budapest looming as potentially more epic than Tokyo.

Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce seven 10.6’s – Shelly Ann did not improve her position on the all time list, which is what everyone else I’ve mentioned has done. What she did do however, is become the most consistent female sprinter in history. Seven times she ran 10.6. Seven. That’s seven times inside the all time top twenty times ever! Something that no one has ever done in one season. Easily the best single season ever in the 100 meters.

Yes, Mondo broke the WR, again. He’s got the advantage of being able to go up a centimeter at a time. No disrespect at all, because he’s going to do it every year for awhile. Unfortunately, it’s the curse of being that good in an event where setting records can almost be predicted.

That said, these were the top performances in a year of superlative performances. If it seems like I left someone out. I just may have. Because that’s how good 2022 has been. This was the year of outstanding performances. I can only imagine what next year will bring. Here’s hoping that the off season goes by very quickly!

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