My shortlist is:
Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine) became the first boxer in history to hold all four major world championships—the WBA (Super), WBC, IBF and WBO titles—at cruiserweight
Martin Fourcade (France – Biathlon) – won all four world cup titles plus the overall World Cup title and two Olympic golds.
Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya – Athletics) broke the world marathon record by the biggest margin since 1967. Won his only other marathon of the year.
Abderrahman Samba (Qatar – Athletics) – unbeaten in nine finals at 400m hurdles, setting the world’s quickest time since 1992.
Marcel Hirscher (Austria – Skiing) took a total of 14 World Cup wins in 2018, breaking the old record for most World Cup race wins in a single calendar year. He also won two golds at the Winter Olympics.
Ihar Boki (Belarus – Para Swimming) – seven golds and a world record at the
Lee Dae-Hoon (South Korea – Taekwondo) – won five out of six tournaments in a competitive event including four of the world grand prix series and only lost one fight all year.
Lasha Talakhadze (Georgia) and Shi Zhiyong (China) both won all three elements of the world weightlifting championships with world records and won the overall gold by large margins.
Fourcade and Boki have been supreme for a long time but haven’t quite done enough in 2018 compared to previous years. Samba is a future star but there was no global championships for him to really make his mark. Dae-Hoon just missed out because of that one loss. The weightlifters did all they could but with new classifications making world records easy to set it is hard to evaluate their performances historically.
My top three are therefore:
It is hard for a boxer to do enough in one year but Oleksandr Usyk unified the cruiserweight division by winning fights against two other world champions and defended the title. The level of opponent he took on puts him in my top three.
For me the choice comes down to Marcel Hirscher and Eliud Kipchoge. This is tricky as Hirscher competed frequently and set a record for the most wins in a year by a male skier but did lose on rare occasions including the Olympic slalom. His giant slalom was almost perfect with just one defeat in the year from nine events. Kipchoge specialises in an event where you have to compete sparingly and so only ran two marathons, winning both and setting a record which is arguably the best performance for at least half a century. This is a toss-up but I am just going for Eliud Kipchoge as my Sportsman of the Year for 2018.Embed from Getty Images
2017 Brent Lakatos (Canada – Para athletics), Runners-up Nino Schurter (Switzerland – Mountain Biking), Tomoyuki Matsuda (Japan – Shooting), Lasha Talakhadze (Georgia – Weightlifting)
2016 Martin Fourcade (France – Biathlon) Runners-Up: Ihar Boki (Belarus -Para Swimming), Michael Jung, (Germany – Three Day Event), Wayde Van Niekerk (South Africa -Athletics), Peter Prevc (Slovenia – Ski-Jumping)
2015 Novak Djokovic (Serbia – Tennis): Runners-up Ma Long (China – Table Tennis) , Ihar Boki (Belarus – Para Swimming)
2014 Renaud Lavillenie (France – Athletics): Runners-up Sebastian Brendel (Germany – Canoeing), Giles Scott (England – Sailing)
2013 – Teddy Riner (France-Judo) won a 6th world title and unbeaten since 2010:Runners-Up: Peyton Manning (USA – American Football), Sun Yang (China – Swimming)
2012 – Lionel Messi (Argentina -Football) – 91 goals in the year: Runners up: David Rudisha (Kenya – Athletics), Ilya Ilyin (Kazakhstan – Weightlifting) , Sun Yang (China – Swimming), Sergei Martynov (Belarus – Shooting)