Jamaican athletics star Elaine Thompson-Herah and Polish striker Robert Lewandowski have been named the AIPS Best Athletes of 2021. This is the result of a poll by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), where a panel of 529 journalists from 114 countries voted for the Champions of 2021.
This is the first time Thompson-Herah, who won three gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, is winning the award having topped the AIPS poll for the female category with 605 points, ahead of Barcelona and Spain’s women’s Ballon d’Or winner, Alexia Putellas (490 points) and triple jump world record holder, Yulimar Rojas, who received 346 points.
Lewandowski amassed 435 points to retain the AIPS crown he won for the first time last year, ahead of 2021 Formula One World Champion, Max Verstappen, with 349 points and seven-time Balon D’or winner, Lionel Messi, with 314points.
It was announced that UEFA Euro 2020 champions Italy Men’s National Football Team were voted the Best Team, while the award for the Best Press Facilities went to Tokyo 2020.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH
Elaine Thompson-Herah enjoyed a history-making 2021 season. The 29-year-old sprinter, born on June 28, 1992, in Manchester Parish, Jamaica, stepped into the Olympic Games in Tokyo as one of the undisputed protagonists, even after a niggling Achilles injury almost cost her an Olympic spot at Jamaica’s National Championships a few weeks earlier.
In Tokyo she produced head-turning performances to become the first woman to ever win the 100m, 200m sprint double at consecutive Olympics: she won the 100 meters race with a time of 10.61 – an Olympic record and the 200 meters race in 21.53. She also scooped the 4x100m gold medal with her national team for her third gold medal in Tokyo.
Only Usain Bolt had ever achieved the feat of defending the 100 and 200 metres sprint double at the Olympic Games and it was only fitting that Thompson-Herah drew comparisons to her legendary compatriot.
Following her triple triumph at the Olympics, she would go on to consolidate her position as the fastest woman alive with a stunning 10.54 victory in the 100m at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Eugene.
Thompson-Herah was named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics. She was also named NACAC Female Athlete of the Year and is favoured to be the RJR Sportswoman of the Year for 2021.
AIPS Best Female Athlete of 2021
1. Elaine Thompson–Herah (Athletics) – 605 votes
2. Alexia Putellas (Football) – 490 votes
3. Yulimar Rojas (Athletics) – 346 votes
4. Naomi Osaka (Tennis) – 297 votes
5. Emma Raducanu (Tennis) – 267 votes
6. Emma Mckeon (Swimming) – 257 votes
7. Faith Kipyegon (Athletics) – 200 votes
8. Angelina Melnikova (Artistic Gymnastics) – 191 votes
9. Mikaela Shiffrin (Alpine Skiing) – 191 votes
10. Sifan Hassan (Athletics) – 183 votes
11. Ashleigh Barty (Tennis) – 152 votes
12. Petra Vlhova (Alpine Skiing) – 150 votes
13. Uta Abe (Judo) – 141 votes
14. Anna Kiesenhofer (Cycling) – 140 votes
15. Janja Garnbret (Sport Climbing) – 121 votes
16. Sam Kerr (Football) – 96 votes
17. Athing Mu (Athletics) – 91 votes
18. An San (Archery) – 87 votes
19. Sydney Mclaughlin (Athletics) – 85 votes
20. Rebeca Andrade (Artistic Gymnastics) – 69 votes
21. Katharina Liensberger (Alpine Skiing) – 69 votes
22. Malaika Mihambo (Athletics) – 65 votes
23. Rayssa Leal (Skateboarding) – 64 votes
24. Margaret MacNeil (Swimming) – 60 votes
25. Peres Jepchirchir (Athletics) – 58 votes
26. Laura Kenny (Cycling) – 57 votes
27. Sunisa Lee (Artistic Gymnastics) – 57 votes
28. Jessica Fox (Canoeing) – 50 votes
29. Jessica Von Bredow-Werndl (Equestrian) – 46 votes
30. Emma Twigg (Rowing) – 41 votes
31. Isabell Werth (Equestrian) – 35 votes
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI
Born in Warsaw, Poland, on August 21, 1988, Robert Lewandowski is currently the most lethal goal machine European football has to offer.
Although he did not win the 2021 Ballon D’Or – having finished second to Lionel Messi who claimed the award for the seventh time – 2021 has definitely been a year to remember for the 33-year-old Polish striker.
In 2021, Lewandowski picked up where he left off the year before, breaking a record that had lasted 50 years in the history of German football with his 43rd Bundesliga goal of the year on December 17 in Bayern Munich’s 4-0 win over Wolfsburg.
With that goal, Lewandowski now holds the record of the most goals in a calendar year in the Bundesliga, which was previously held by legendary German striker Gerd Müller, who scored 42 Bundesliga goals in 1972.
This accomplishment gets even more important when considering the other competitions the Polish striker took part in: Lewandowski scored 58 goals in 47 appearances across all club competitions; 69 in 59 appearances when his national team performances are included, thereby ending the year as the top scorer playing in Europe for the third time in a row.
This year the Polish striker won the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in his career, getting also the FIFA Club World Cup Best Player award. For the seventh consecutive year, he won the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, along with the German Super Cup. Lewandowski scooped the Bundesliga Player of the Season for the fifth time in his career.
AIPS Best Male Athlete of 2021
1. Robert Lewandowski (Football) – 435 votes
2. Max Verstappen (Formula 1) – 349 votes
3. Lionel Messi (Football) – 314 votes
4. Karsten Warholm (Athletics) – 291 votes
5. Novak Djokovic (Tennis) – 289 votes
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) – 280 votes
7. Aron Szilágyi (Fencing) – 271 votes
8. Armand Mondo Duplantis (Athletics) – 235 votes
9. Eliud Kipchoge (Atletica) – 207 votes
10. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1) – 200 votes
11. Caeleb Dressel (Swimming) – 184 votes
12. Marcell Jacobs (Athletics) – 184 votes
13. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Basket) – 173 votes
14. Karim Benzema (Football) – 157 votes
15. Tadej Pogacar (Cycling) – 151 votes
16. Jorginho (Football) – 136 votes
17. Gianmarco Tamberi (Athletics) – 119 votes
18. Primoz Roglic (Alpine Skiing) – 104 votes
19. Mutaz Essa Barshim (Athletics) – 88 votes
20. Valentino Rossi (Moto GP) – 81 votes
21. Kevin Durant (Basket) – 71 votes
22. Fabio Quartararo (Moto GP) – 66 votes
23. Julian Alaphilippe (Cycling) – 63 votes
24. Shohei Ohtani (Baseball) – 61 votes
25. Joshua Cheptegei (Athletics) – 59 votes
26. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Athletics) – 53 votes
27. Vincent Kriechmayr (Skiing) – 43 votes
28. Miltiadis Tentoglou (Athletics) – 22 votes
29. Nathan Chen (Ice Skating) – 18 votes
AIPS members from the following nations participated in the Best of 2021 poll:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dr Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic Of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yemen.
Source: AIPS Media