The Greatest Biathletes of All-Time: Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Magdalena Forsberg

Biathlon is a winter sport combining cross-country skiing and shooting.  It has been included in the Winter Olympics since 190 for men and 1992 for women.  I have chosen my top five male athletes and top three women in the sport.  The number of events competed in at the various major championships has expanded dramatically over the years, increasing from just one when the sport was introduced to four different distances currently for individual events.  This makes comparisons of the number of medals won rather misleading and I have born this in mind when making my choices.

MEN

  1. Ole Einar Bjørndalen  (Norway) – a clear choice as the greatest in history as he has won more Winter Olympic medals than any other athlete at any sport (13), more world championship medals than any biathlete (45 with 20 golds) and by a distance has the most individual wins in the biathlon world cup with 94.  He has also won more overall biathlon World Cup titles, six, than any other man except Fourcade, between 1998 and 2007.  He followed an outstanding junior career by starting his senior career in 1993.  He made his first Olympic appearance in 1994 and won the first of his record eight golds in 1998.  In 2002 he won all four golds open to him, another unique feat by a biathlete.  He added golds in 2010 and 2014.
  2. Martin Fourcade – the only man who comes close to Ole Einar Bjørndalen is Fourcade, the current dominant figure in biathlon.  If he continues his medal winning level he may overhaul the brilliant Norwegian.  He shares the record of overall world cup titles with Bjørndalen but has the distinction of winning six in a row, from 2012 to 2017.  He has the second highest number of world cup individual race wins (63).  In world championships he has 25 medals and 11 golds.  At the Olympics he has two golds and four medals.  In the world cup he has won all five titles available in a season three times.

After these two it is close between several biathletes for the minor places and arguments can be made for all of them.  I have tried to factor in the lack of medal opportunities for early biathletes by looking at the number of years they were dominant for rather than the total medals.

3. Alexander Tikhonov (USSR) – winner of eleven world championship titles between 1969 and 1977.  Five of those came in individual events with the latter two in the sprint event.  He won four Olympic golds between 1968 and 1980, all of these coming in relays.  The world cup was only established at the end of his career so he only won two races in that.

4. Vladimir Melanin (USSR) – the outstanding biathlete in the early days of the sport as an international event.  He was the world champion in 1959, 1962 and 1963 at 20km and was Olympic champion in 1964.  This was at a time when this was the  only individual event.  He also won relay gold medals in the three world championships.

5. Raphaël Poirée (France) – the winner of 44 World Cup races and 8 world championship gold medals between 1995 and 2007.  All but one of his world titles were in individual events with four of them at the mass start event.  He won 14 world cup season titles including four overall crowns but was another to miss out on Olympic gold, although winning three medals.

Others in my top ten in no particular order were  Frank-Peter Roetsch, Frank Ullrich,  Eirik Kvalfoss, Mark Kirchner and Sven Fischer .  These were all not far away from fifth place and could be seen by some as worthy of a top five place.

WOMEN

  1. Magdalena Forsberg  (Sweden) – by a reasonable margin the greatest female biathlete ever.  She is the only woman ever to win six overall titles at the world cup, which she did every year from 1997 to 2002.  She holds the record for most individual race victories in world cups with 42 and won 17 world cup discipline titles.  At world championships she has twelve medals with six golds, all of these coming in individual events.  The only disappointments in her career were at the Olympics where she only won two bronze medals.
  2. Magdalena Neuner (Germany) – the most successful woman in the history of the world biathlon championships with 17 medals (12 golds) and two Olympic titles between 2007 and 2012.  Six of her world titles were in relay events leaving six world and two Olympic individual golds.  She won three overall world cup titles and 34 world cup races, putting her second to Forsberg in both lists.
  3. Kati Wilhelm (Germany) – a close decision for who to put third but I just went for Wilhelm.  She had a better championship record winning five world championship and three Olympic golds between 2001 and 2009.  Five of these were individual golds.  In the world cup she won one overall title and 21 races.

I had Uschi Disl not far behind with Darya Domracheva and Liv Grete Skjelbreid also close.

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World Sports Hall of Fame 1936: Charles Pahud de Mortanges, Rie Mastenbroek, Jesse Owens and Karl Schafer

My choices to enter the World Sports Hall of Fame in 1936 are:

Charles Pahud de Mortanges (Netherlands – Equestrianism) – the first rider to retain the individual title in the 3 Day event at the Olympics.  He did this by taking the gold medals in 1932 and 1936.  He also was a member of the gold medal winning teams at the Games in 1924, where he was 4th individual, and 1928.

Rie Mastenbroek (Netherlands – Swimming) – the winner of three gold medals at the 1936 Olympics.  These came at the 100m and 400m freestyle and in the 4 x 100m relay.  In addition she took the silver at the 100m backstroke. She had made her name aged only fifteen at the 1934 European Championships by winning three gold medals, at the 400m freestyle and relay events and also in the 100m backstroke.  In her career she set nine world records at freestyle and backstroke.

 

Jesse Owens (USA – Athletics) – one of the most celebrated athletes in the history of athletics following his exploits at the 1936 Olympics.  At those Games he won four gold medals, in the 100m, 200m, Long Jump and 4 x 100m relay.  As a black man his performances were seen as a riposte to the Nazi idea of Aryan superiority.  His ahievements before those Games featured many notable days, most remarkably at Ann Arbor in 1935 where he set six world records or bests in the same afternoon in the space of one hour.  These came in four events but twice he broke metric distance records as well.  They came in sprints, long jump and the less frequently competed 220 yards hurdles, which shows his versatility.  His greatest individual performance came in the long jump in where he set a world record of 8.13m, the first 8m leap.  This lasted as the world record until 1960.

Karl Schafer (Austria – Figure Skating) – the winner of seven individual world titles and two Olympic golds at men’s skating.  This puts him second on the all-time list of titles won by a male skater at championships.  After winning medals in European and world championships in 1927, 1928 and 1929 he took every world title from 1930 to 1936, when he retired, and added the Olympic titles in 1932 and 1936.  He also won the European championship every year from 1929 to 1936.  He was also a national record-holder at swimming in breaststroke.

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History of Sport 1908: The London Olympics are Britain’s most successsful Games ever, Jack Johnson makes boxing history

Some of the main events that happened in sport in 1908:

Jack Johnson becomes the first African American World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Tommy Burns at Sydney, Australia. Johnson holds the title until 1915.

 

The International Ice Hockey Federation is founded in Belgium.

The Amateur Rink Hockey Association is formed.

Inaugural International Skating Union (ISU) Championships for pair skating is held at Saint Petersburg and won by Germany’s Hubler and Burger.
Figure skating is held at the 1908 Summer Olympics and is the first winter sport to feature at the Olympics — 16 years before the inaugural Winter Games is held.  Ulrich Salchow wins the men’s title and Britain’s Madge Syers the women’s.

 

The 1908 Summer Olympics takes place in London
Great Britain wins the most medals (145) and the most gold medals (56).  These remain Britain’s most successful games ever although it must be said that the number of countries that competed was very limited.

Charles M. Daniels (US) wins his fourth individual swimming gold medal at his third Games.  Britain’s Henry Taylor wins three swimming golds, making a total of four at two Games.  Hungary’s Zoltan Halmay wins his ninth swimming medal since 1900.

 

Ray Ewry wins his eighth gold over three Games (he also won two at the 1906 Intercalated Games) when winning the standing long jump and high jump titles.

Ray Ewry : News Photo

 

The marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yards becomes established after the Olympic marathon is run over this length from Windsor to White City.  That race is famous for the performance of Dorando Pietri who was first to finish but was helped over the line after falling over when well clear.  He was later disqualified. Britain’s George Larner wins two golds at race-walking and Wyndham Halswelle wins the 400m gold in a walkover after the American qualifiers for the final refuse to run following the disqualification of a team mate.  Other British athletics golds go to Emil Vogt in the 10000m and Arthur Russell in the steeplechase.  Martin Sheridan (US) wins his third gold and seventh medal over his career when retaining the discus title (not including two golds from 1906).  John Flanagan (US) wins his third successive hammer title.

 

Mel Sheppard (US) wins gold at 800m, 1500m and relay.

Mel Sheppard : News Photo

 

 

The pole vault title is shared, the only time this has ever happened in an individual Olympic athletics event.

 

Lottie Dod wins silver in the Olympic archery.  In earlier years she won five Wimbledon singles tennis titles and the British Ladies golf title.

Lottie Dod  -  Sporting Personality : News Photo

 

Oscar and Alfred Swahn of Sweden become the first father and son to win golds.  Oscar wins the Running Deer shooting event aged 60, the oldest gold medallist at the Games.  Britain’s Joshua Miller is also aged 60 and wins a shooting gold.

Britain wins all five of the Olympic boxing golds with Richard Gunn taking the featherweight title aged 37 years 254 days.

England win the inaugural Olympic hockey title and Britain win the polo and water polo golds.  Canada retain the Olympic lacrosse title in the second and final time it was included in the Games.

Britain’s Harry Blackstaffe wins the single sculls gold and Britain win three other golds in rowing.  Britain also win golds in shooting, wrestling and cycling.

England play their first overseas football international, beating Austria 6-1 in Vienna.

“Punch” Fairs regains the world real tennis title.

The university of Pittsburgh’s American football team wear numbers in their game against Washington and Jefferson, the first time numbers have been worn.

The first flying club, the Aeronautical Society of New York, is set up at Morris Park racetrack.
Hunslet becomes the first team to achieve the celebrated “All Four Cups” feat winning the League, Challenge Cup, Yorkshire League and Yorkshire Cup.
Professional rugby league begins in Australia with the formation of the New South Wales Rugby League
South Sydney wins the first Australian championship, defeating Eastern Suburbs 14–12 in the final
26th Home Nations Championship series is won by Wales
As Wales also defeats France in a 1908 non-championship match, its team is retrospectively regarded as a Grand Slam winner.

In football Sofus Nielsen scores ten goals for Denmark v France in the Olympics (Denmark won 17-1).  The gold is won by the UK.

Signorinetta wins the Derby at a price of 100-1.

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British Sports Hall of Fame 1936: Jackie Brown, Tich Freeman, Fred Perry and Elisha Scott

The inductees to my British Sports Hall of Fame for 1936 are:

Jackie Brown (Boxing) – one of the finest British boxers of the 1930s.  In October 1932 he won the world flyweight title from Young Perez who was retired from a gruelling contest.  Brown retained the title three times in 1933.  Two of those fights were against Valentin Angelmann and in 1934 he fought him again, drawing the fight.  He had held the British and European titles since 1931 but lost all three crowns when losing to Benny Lynch in September 1935.  He lost a rematch with Lynch but continued to fight, without regaining his former glories, until the end of the decade.

Tich Freeman (Cricket)- one of the most prolific wicket takers in the history of English cricket.  Between 1920 and 1934 he took more than 100 wickets in every county season and from 1928, when he took 304 (a record total), onwards he took over 200 each year.  He started this great sequence aged 32 having lost earlier years to the First World War.  He took ten wickets in an innings three times.  He only played twelve times for England, taking 66 wickets, but his 3776 wickets in first-class cricket, second on the all-time list, earn his place in my Hall of Fame.

Fred Perry (Tennis) – arguably the greatest British tennis player ever. He won the Wimbledon men’s singles title each year from 1934 to 1936, the US Open three times (in 1933,1934 and 1936) the French Open in 1935 and the Australian Open in 1934.  These eight titles made him the first man to win all of the major singles.  He also won two men’s doubles and four mixed doubles titles in Grand Slams.  In Davis Cup he won nine out of ten singles matches and 45 out of 52 matches overall.  This helped Britian win the Cup every year from 1933 to 1936. He continued to play tennis for some years after turning professional at the end of the 1936 season.

Elisha Scott  (Football) – possibly the greatest goalkeeper of his era in English football.  He played 430 times for Liverpool from 1913 to 1934, helping them to league titles in 1922 and 1923.  He still holds the record for the longest career with the club. He won 31 caps for Northern Ireland at a time when they only played a limited number of international games.  These came over sixteen years with the last coming in 1936 at the age of 42.  Many opponents rated him the best keeper they played against.

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The Sports History Chronicle World Sportsman of the Year 2016: Martin Fourcade

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My shortlist for the world sportsman of 2016 is:

Wayde Van Niekerk (South Africa – Athletics) – winner of the Olympic gold at 400m, which he did by breaking the world record which had stood since 1999. He won all eleven of his races at 100m,10m and 400m and produced a 100m PB of 9.98, making him the first man in history to run faster than 10 seconds for 100m, 20 seconds for 200m and 44 seconds for 400m. He also won the African title at 200m.

Steph Curry (USA -Basketball) – had a brilliant NBA season with the Golden State Warriors and took the season MVP title with a unanimous vote and lead the league in scoring while shooting above 50–40–90. The Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season with 73 and Curry broke the record for 3 pts baskets.

Martin Fourcade (France – Biathlon) – became only the second male biathlete to win three golds and one silver in non-team competitions in a single World Championships and won all five world cup titles.

Martins Dukurs (Latvia – Skeleton) – another great season winning 7 out of 8 world cup races and the world championship.

Michael Jung (Germany – Equestrian Eventing) – his 2015/16 season was outstanding. He won the Kentucky and Badminton titles which added to the Burghleigh win in 2015 made him only the second rider ever to do the eventing Grand Slam. He then added the Olympic title.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal – Football) helped Real Madrid to the Champions League title and Portugal to the European Championship. He again won the Ballon D’Or as the outstanding footballer in the world.

Ryan Murphy (USA -Swimming) – won backstroke 100m and 200m gold and set a 100m world record in leading off the USA team which won the medley relay gold.

Adam Peaty (Great Britain – Swimming) – winner of the Olympic gold in the 100m breaststroke where he set world records in the semi-final and final.  He took nearly a second off his own previous mark in the course of the Games

Peter Prevc (Slovenia – Ski Jumping) – set an all-time record for the sport of 15 wins in the World Cup season.  This was also a record average points score for the season.  He won the Four Hills event and took the ski flying title.

Ihar Boki (Belarus – Para Swimming) – six gold medals and three world records at the Paralympics.
Long Qingquan (China – Weightlifting) – won the Olympic title and broke the world record which had stood for 16 years by a large 3kg margin.

Kianoush Rostami (Iran – Weightlifting) – He won the gold medal in the 85 kg weight class at the 2016 Summer Olympics by tying an Olympic record with a 217 kg clean and jerk and setting a world record total with 396 kg. Earlier in 2016 in  while competing at the Fajr Cup, in Tehran, Iran he broke the Clean and jerk world record for his weight division, lifting 220 kg. Kianoush also broke the world record for his total, with 395 kg.

To narrow things down my thoughts were:

Curry would have been a major contender and the Warriors would have won team of the year if they hadn’t blown a 3-1 series lead in the NBA final.  As it was Curry couldn’t take his team over the line and this counts against him.  Dukurs matched but didn’t better previous years. Ronaldo had great results with his teams but individually he has had better seasons.

Peaty’s was the more eyecatching performance at the Olympics of the swimmers on my shortlist but I feel he needs to win more events to take my award.  Boki emulated his gold medal tally from last year’s world championships and with three records has to be a contender again.  The weightlifters probably need to have been at the top for longer because of the limited number of competitions they had in 2016.

So my top five are Ihar Boki, Michael Jung, Wayde Van Niekerk, Martin Fourcade and Peter Prevc.

My criteria for this award are usually that the person I choose has made history in the year concerned either by their achievements in the year or where competition is limited over a period of years.

Jung produced one of the greatest seasons of eventing ever seen over 2015/16 but again there were a limited number of competitions for him.  Boki had another great year but also did as well in 2015.  The sportsmen who had the most competitions in either 2015/16 winter seasons or 2016 summer seasons were Van Niekerk, Fourcade and Prevc.  Van Niekerk showed great versatility over three distances and his performance in the 400m in Rio was sensational.  Fourcade produced arguably the greatest season of biathlon ever.  He won ten races in the World Cup, matching his previous best for a season, but unlike that year he had a great world championships as well, taking three of the four individual titles.  Prevc had the greatest world cup in the history of ski jumping but there were no World Championships in which to prove himself.

To choose between these top three I have to ask myself whether Van Niekerk had the best season ever produced at his events and I have to say probably not.  I think that Fourcade doing so well at the world championships and the world cup shifts the balance in his favour over Prevc.  Another factor in his favour is that he has been outstanding for longer and in which he has become the first man to win the World Cup for five consecutive years.  These things just give him the edge for me.  I would like to spread the award more to other countries but for the third time in four years the French have produced an outstanding sportsman and so my choice as World Sportsman of the Year for 2016 is Martin Fourcade.

 

Martin Fourcade

 

Previous Winners

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)

 

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The Sports History Chronicle World Sports Team of the Year 2016 – The USA Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Team

The shortlist of teams is a mixture of successful Olympians and outstanding clubs. As a reminder of my criteria I try to reward success in the calendar year 2016 but in some cases this may overlap with a season that started in 2015. Where there are few competitions for a team they have to be exceptional in those competitions and also have a history of success over the last few years as well.

My shortlist is:

The USA women’s artistic gymnastics team – winners of the Olympic gold by a huge eight point margin. Winners of every championship since 2011.

Ilse Paulis & Maaike Head (Netherlands – Rowing) -winners of the lightweight double sculls gold at the Olympics and won all four races in 2016. Set a world best time.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (New Zealand –  49er Sailing) – my 2015 winners had another great year winning all but one of the seven regattas they entered, and that was a minor one. At the Olympics they won by the largest margin in a sailing regatta since 1968.

Mercedes (Formula One) – another dominant year for the team with wins in 19 out of 21 Grand Prix.

Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia – Synchronised Swimming) – extended their winning run since 2009 with wins at the Olympics and in the European championships.

Australia women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team – broke their own world record in defeating a strong American team in Rio.

China’s table tennis team – won gold in both men’s and women’s team events in Rio. The men lost only one match and the women none on their way to gold. In the singles events Chinese players won gold in silver in men and women’s events.

USA women’s water polo team – won every match in 2016 and took Olympic gold. They have won every major event since 2014 , losing one match in that time.

Olympique Lyonnais women’s football team – won the treble of tournaments in 2015/16. That was the French League, Cup and European Champions Cup. They were undefeated all season with five draws.

Saracens (England – Rugby union) – winners of English league, championship and European Cup.

My top four are – China table tennis, Mercedes F1 team, Olympique Lyonnais, and the USA women gymnasts.

If the Lyonnais and Mercedes teams had won every match or race I would have given my award to them. The Chinese table tennis team has been dominant for so long it is hard to single out this team. The American gymnasts have now been the outstanding team for six years, the longest period of success by a nation for fifty years. The faces have changed a little over that time but new names come in with Simone Biles, one of the greatest gymnasts in history as their leader. At the Olympics they won the team event by a margin so large that each gymnast could have fallen off on each piece and they would still have won. In the qualification they had the top three gymnasts and would probably have swept the medals in the individual all-round event were it not for the silly rule restricting teams to two gymnasts in the final. For their long-term and recent brilliance my team of the year for 2016 is the USA gymnastics team of Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian and Aly Raisman.

The USA gymnastics team

 

Previous Winners

2015 Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (New Zealand –  49er Sailing),
Runners-up: Mercedes (Formula One), Natalia Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina (Russia – Synchronised Swimming)
2014 Italy’s Women Foil Fencing Team:
Runners Up Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (NZ – Rowing), Jennifer Jones’s Canadian Curling Team
2013 Vakıfbank İstanbul Women’s Volleyball Team (Turkey)
Runners-Up: Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (Australia – Sailing), Bayern Munich (Germany- Football)
2012 Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (New Zealand – Rowing) – unbeaten for four years and set world best by six seconds
Runners-Up: USA Women’s 4x100m relay team (athletics), THW Kiel (Germany -Handball)

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The Sports History Chronicle World Sportswoman of the Year 2016: Katie Ledecky

My shortlist for world sportswoman of the Year is:

Almaz Ayana (Ethiopia – Athletics)- the woman who produced the most extraordinary performance of the Olympics when she smashed the world 10,0000m record.  The record had stood since 1993 and had seemed impregnable but Ayana took  it apart with a devastating sustained pace from early in the race.  Some questioned how she could have run that fast but the friendly conditions and her willingness to attack the race for so long meant that many other in the race  also took chunks off their best times.  She ran a very fast 5000m ealier in the year but in Rio was beaten in the 5000m final.
Ruth Jebet (Kenya -Athletics) – in a year that saw a few world records in women’s athletics one was set by Jebet in the women’s steeplechase. She had a fine season at the event losing just one race.  She won the Olympic title and then broke the record.
Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland – Athletics) – another brilliant season culminating with Olympic gold with three of the five longest throws in history, topped by a monster effort of 82.29m.  That throw added 1.21m to the world record she set last year and was her 11th victory of the season in as many competitions. In her final competition of the year in Warsaw, she broke the world record again.

Danuta Kozak (Hungary – Canoeing) – winner of three golds in Rio at Kayaking over 500m.  She won the K1, K2 and K4 events.

Rachel Atherton (Great Britain – Mountain Bike) – She won every one of her seen races in the World Cup and added the world championship in the sport of downhill mountain biking.  This perfect season is unprecedented in the history of the sport and added to last year gives her a record winning streak of fifteen races in World Cup and championships.
Simone Biles  (USA – Gymnastics) – one of the stars of the Games.  The American who has dominated her sport for the last three years continued to shine in Rio with four golds at her first Olympics.  She helped the brilliant USA team win gold, then on her own took the all-round, vault and floor golds.

Deng Wei (China – Weightlifting) – winner of the Olympic title at 63kg where she broke the world record.  This was her third title in a row at world or Olympic championships.
Katinka Hosszu (Hungary – Swimming) – The Iron Lady won her first Olympic gold medal in Rio at her fourth Games and went on to add two more and a bronze.  She set a world record in the 400m Individual Medley and an Olympic record in the 200 IM.
Katie Ledecky (USA Swimming) – the most dominant female distance swimmer in nearly thirty years continued her winning ways in 2016.  She won the 800m and 400m freestyle events in world record times by huge margins and also stepped down from her specialist distances to win the 200m freestyle against one of the strongest fields in the whole meet.  She won a gold and silver in relays for a total of four golds and one silver, making her the most decorated female athlete in the entire Olympics.
Evgenia Medvedeva (Russia – Figure Skating)  the new star of women’s skating moved up from the junior ranks to win the world senior title.  She won all her competitions in 2016  and set world best scores in the short and free programmes in separate events though not a total world best score.

My top five are Anita Wlodarczyk, Rachel Atherton, Simone Biles, Katinka Hosszu and Katie Ledecky.

Each of the five have had truly exceptional years.  However, Katie Ledecky has managed to not only dominate her favourite events but has managed to extend herself so that she can beat outstanding swimmers in their specialities as well.  For me she has been the outstanding female sportswoman of the last five years in the world.  In 2016 she was magnificent again and so my choice as the world sportswoman of the year, for the second time, is Katie Ledecky.

 

 

Katie Ledecky

Previous Winners

2015  Gwen Jorgensen (USA – Triathlon),  Runners Up: Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming), Anita Włodarczyk (Poland – Athletics)

2014 Katie Ledecky (USA – Swimming):  Runners up Tatiana Kashirina (Russia – Weightlifting), Sandra Perkovic (Croatia – Athletics)

2013  Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling) – won her 8th world title and 154th consecutive fight, an  all-time record:Runners-Up:  Tatyana McFadden (USA – Para athletics), Tora Berger (Norway – Biathlon)

2012 Marianne Vos (Netherlands – Cycling) Olympic and world road race champion, Giro winner and world cyclo-cross champion: Runners-up: Kaori Icho (Japan – Wrestling), Missy Franklin (USA – Swimming), Katie Taylor (Ireland – Boxing), Hannah Kearney (USA – Freestyle Skiing)

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