This is Deji Ogeyingbo’s feature on top Ten US Male Athletes in 2023 (numbers 10-6).
Top 10 US Male Athlete of the Year 2023 (10-6)
Over the past month, we have been highlighting some of the best athletes to make their mark this year in Track and Field, and having compiled the list of the Top female athletes of the year in the US, it’s now time to take a look at the male athletes that have made their marks this year.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 male track and field athletes of 2023.
10. Christopher Nilsen
Since winning the Olympic Silver in Tokyo two years ago, Christopher Nilsen continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Granted, the Pole Vaulter knows it’s a tall order to usurp the supremely talented Mondo Duplantis. However, he has found a way to mix and match things with the Swede every season.
Chris Nilsen, M Pole vault,
USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, June 23-26, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris
Nilsen finished the year ranked number three in the world and is only one of the few athletes to have claimed victory over Duplantis in recent times. This year, the American beat him twice; at the Monaco Diamond League and during the qualifiers of the world championships in Budapest.
After claiming Silver at the 2022 World Championships, Nilsen set out to usurp Duplantis. In a thrilling contest, which served as one of the highlights of the championships, the Swede once again won the title, leaving Asian champion Ernest Obiena and Nilsen to settle for joint Bronze after they both cleared 5.95m.
While Nilsen is certainly focused on the approaching next year’s Olympics in Paris, he also seeks to eclipse KC Lightfoot’s American record. The 23-year-old Missouri vaulter recently set the new mark in Nashville on June 2, flying 6.07m. Nilsen’s Personal Best stands at 6.00m.
9. JuVaughn Harrison
As with most top-tier athletes in athletics, it is common to see them compete in various events. However, one rarely sees an athlete who does the Long Jump and High Jump at major championships. JuVaughn Harrison is one athlete who has found a way to mix and match both events.
Harrison competed in both the high jump and long jump at the Olympic Summer Games Tokyo 2020 in 2021, making the final in each event. In August, the American captured the silver in the High jump at the World Championships, with his eye on Paris 2024.
JuVaughn HARRISON takes HJ win, photo by Diamond League AG
In 2023, Harrison was more interested in the High Jump. His season was as flawless as they came, as he picked up wins in Doha, Florence, and London, jumping above 2.30m in all of them. The US Championships in Oregon was a cakewalk for him as he scaled 2.26m for the title.
It was, however, in Budapest that Harrison put up a show. In what was an enthralling final, having qualified with ease two days earlier, the Louisiana State University graduate fended off competition for three-time world champion Mutaz Barshim to claim the Silver with a best jump of 2.35m with Italian Gianmarco Tamberi taking Gold by 1 centimeter.
8. Joe Kovacs
It’s hard to quantify with numbers how hard it is for Shot Putters to consistently stay at the top. One athlete who has found a way to find himself in the mix at global competitions is Joe Kovacs. The 34-year-old continues to show his resilience at the very top, and his performance this year further accentuates his level of consistency over the last decade.
Having become a parent in 2022 and also breaking the magical 23m mark when he reached 23.23m at the Diamond League final in Zurich last year, Kovacs entered 2023 with much confidence as he looked to win his third world title after triumphs in Beijing in 2015 and Doha in 2019.
Joe Kovacs was defending champion in the shot put, a 2 time WC, in Eugene, he took silver in, World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA, by Kevin Morris
shot put final, Kovacs, USA,
Kovacs had a patchy run of results heading into the world championships but posted another world-class performance at the World Athletics Championships. The Nazareth native made the podium with a third-place finish. His throw was 22.12m. American Ryan Crouser, the world record holder, set a world championship meet record with a winning throw of 23.51m.
His biggest win of the year came at the Diamond League final in Oregon. Kovacs bested world champion and world record holder Crouser by less than an inch to win in 22.93m.
7. Christian Coleman
To date, no sprinter on the grid can match the start of the Christian Coleman. Since his last world title in 2019, in which he ran his Personal Best of 9.76s, the American has continued to seek that sort of form that made him the world champion four years ago.
Over the years, Coleman has made a mark for consistently running under sub-10 secs in the 100m. In 2023, dipped under the magical mark nine times, but as we know, the world championships matter the most. Coleman needed to make amends for his sixth-place finish on home soil in 2022.
Christian COLEMAN wins the Men’s 100m in a time of 9.83s at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Xiamen on 2 September 2023, photo by Matthew Quine for Diamond League AG.
Having finished second at the National trials, Coleman went to Budapest with a mission to get back to reckoning. Although the heats and semis were a cakewalk for him, the 60m world indoor record holder came unstuck in the final as he finished fifth in 9.92s.
Coleman ended his season with a bang as he won the Diamond League in Xiamen but, more importantly, was holding off a charging Noah Lyles to win his first Diamond League Trophy in five years on home soil in Eugene, claiming the scalp of reigning global champion Lyles in a world-leading time of 9.83s. He shared the world-leading time with Lyles and Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes in 2023.
6. Yared Nuguse
Yared Nuguse, America’s lowkey track superstar. 2023 was the year he came out in full force and the track world took note of him as he outran his expectations this year. To think that only a year ago, he wasn’t even interested in becoming a professional athlete.
Yared Nuguse, USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, July 6-10, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
The signs he was going to have a strong year started as early as January. In January, he set a new American record in the indoor 3,000 meters, running 7:28.23. He ran the second-fastest indoor mile in history in February, finishing the Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile in 3:47.38. In May, at a Diamond League meet in Rabat, he set a new personal best in the 1,500, running 3:33.02.
He followed it up with the US title, placed fifth in his first World Championships final over 1500m (in 3:30.25), and that ended it with an astonishing 3:43.97-mile AR chasing Jakob Ingebrigtsen to the line in September’s Diamond League Final. Along the way in the Oslo DL 1500, Nuguse also raced the fastest 1500 by an American, 3:29.02. Nuguse also took Diamond League wins in London and Zürich.
What a year it was for Nuguse!