Awarded to the sportsman who best demonstrates supreme athletic performance and achievement – such as consecutive or multiple world, continental, international or national and major championship titles or the establishment of world records or best performances. Nominees are listed in alphabetical order.
Allyson Felix (USA) Athletics
Became the most decorated athlete in the history of the World Championships when she won gold medals in the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay, plus bronze in the 400m in London to give her a career total of 16 medals, including 11 gold. Allyson has also won six Olympic gold medals.
Katie Ledecky (USA) Swimming
Confirmed her enormous potential as a great swimmer in Budapest by winning five gold medals and a silver at the World Championships. Although just 19, she already holds a record total of 14 women’s world titles and is also a five-time Olympic gold medallist. She is the current world record holder at 400, 800 and 1,500m freestyle.
Garbine Muguruza (Spain) Tennis
As 14th seed, beat Venus Williams in straight sets to win Wimbledon, her second Grand Slam success after the French Open in 2016. She lost in the US Open fourth round, but still reached world No.1 ranking, which she held for four weeks.
Caster Semenya (South Africa) Athletics
Won gold in 800 metres and bronze in 1,500 metres at the 2017 World Championships in London. It was her third World Championship gold medal at 800m, an event she currently dominates. She is also the reigning 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games champion at the distance.
Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) Skiing
The brilliant young skier won 11 races to take her first Overall World Cup, and her fourth Slalom title in five years. She also won her third straight World Championship Slalom gold, the first to achieve this since 1939, plus silver in the Giant Slalom. In 2014, she was the youngest ever Olympic Slalom gold medallist at 18.
Serena Williams (USA) Tennis
Defeated sister Venus to win the Australian Open for the seventh time, an Open Era record. It was her 23rd Grand Slam success, overtaking Steffi Graf’s 22. The win returned her to No.1 in the world rankings at the age of 35. However, in April, she announced she was pregnant and missed the remaining eight months of the season.