Top 10 US Male Athlete of the Year 2023 (5-1)
Last time out, we commenced the countdown of our Top 10 U.S. Athletes in 2023, featuring Nos. 10 yo 6 on the list. Today, we will go a notch higher as we present Part 2 of the series, where we unveil Nos. 5 to 1 on our list of Top 10 U.S. Athletes in 2023 as follows:
5. Erriyon Knighton
For the past three seasons, Erriyon Knigton’s presence on the international scene has been non-stop entertaining. The 19-year-old has gotten to the final of the last three major championships, winning two medals in the process. For a junior athlete to have this kind of aura, especially in the sprints, is usually unheard of.
The Under 20 200m world record holder and fastest teenager on the planet currently owns the top 13 Under 20 200m times in history and took his prowess to a whole new level this year.
Erriyon Knighton, USATF Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, July 6-10, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
After taking Bronze at last year’s World championships, Knighton was on a mission to snag Gold in Budapest in 2023. Throughout the year, he set many all-time marks that left the world in utter disbelief. At the US Championships, he became the youngest winner in US history, running a time of 19.72.
Again, at the world championships, Knighton became the youngest Silver medalist in the history of the 200m, and also at this year’s Bislett Games took down the meeting record of Usain Bolt, running a time of 19.77s compared to Bolt’s previous record of 19.79s.
Knighton’s continued success at the top of the sprinting world has continued to shatter expectations, and as he enters his senior career next year, we surely will be expecting bigger performances from him.
4. Rai Benjamin
Since his international debut in 2019, in which he won two medals at the world championships in Doha, Rai Benjamin has been consistent on the grid of the men’s 400m Hurdles.
Benjamin’s season over his signature event was almost unblemished as he dominated all the races he competed in this year, except the final of the world championships. Beyond the wins, the 26-year-old had set his sights on breaking Karsten Warholm’s world record which he set at the Olympics.
Rai Benjamin took down the entire field in Eugene in the 400m hurdles, setting MR Of 46.39, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun
Having won the Diamond League in Doha and the US Championships, Benjamin was on a mission to win the world title. However, he came unstuck in Budapest as he tightened up on the home straight, losing the title to Warholm with Kyron McMaster beating him to Silver, too.
Benjamin picked up the pieces as he clocked a time of 46.39s to secure the Diamond League title in September at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field, eclipsing the previous record of 46.51s set by Warholm in Monaco earlier this year.
3. Grant Holloway
The man who makes hurdling look like a cakewalk, Grant Holloway, takes our number three spot. You can count on your fingers the number of races the Florida-based hurdler has lost in his professional career. He continued his prowess in the men’s 110m hurdles in 2023.
Ranked number one in the world in his event, Holloway won all his indoor races (short track as World Athletics calls it now) by a cater, closing it out with a 7.35s clocking at the World Athletics Indoor tour in Birmingham.
Grant Holloway, adidas Atlanta City Games, photo by Kevin Morris
Holloway suffered his first loss of the season at the Rabat Diamond League when he couldn’t hold on to his lead. Regardless, Holloway picked up the pieces as he won in Florence and Rome, running a sub-13s in the latter.
In Budapest, Holloway won his third world title, as he ran a Season’s Best of 12.96s to claim the title. Olympic champion Hansle Parchment came home in 13.07s to take silver, while Holloway’s American teammate Roberts claimed bronze in 13.09s.
At the Diamond League final in Eugene, Holloway couldn’t make the most of a strong start, as Parchment beat him to the title. It was only his third loss of the season. Regardless, the world indoor record holder put up a scintillating run of 14 wins out of 17 races.
2. Ryan Crouser
At what point do we crown Ryan Crouser the greatest Shot Putter of all time? The 30-year-old continues to reach distances that have only been imagined before. This year, he broke his own Shot and won his second world title.
Crouser’s combination of power, explosiveness, speed and agility on his feet, perfection of a revised throwing technique, and execution has elevated Ryan Crouser to the undisputed ‘King’ of the Shot Put world.
Crouser showed remarkable dominance this season, securing 12 consecutive victories. His outstanding performance began with a world record toss of 23.56 meters at the Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 27, marking the start of an impressive streak. This throw was nearly an eight-inch improvement on his previous world-best set in June 2021, displaying his exceptional prowess in the sport.
Riding on the momentum from his indoor world record achieved in New York just a few months earlier, the two-time defending Olympic champion, standing at six-foot-seven and weighing 320 pounds, delivered an exceptional record-breaking throw in Los Angeles.
Ryan Crouser sets two CR in winning the Men’s shot put in Budapest! photo by Kevin Morris
What set Crouser’s performance apart was not only the world record-breaking throw but also the remarkable series of throws he delivered. His six-throw series showcased unparalleled consistency and excellence, with three of his throws exceeding the 23-meter mark. His average distance of 23.12 meters was just slightly below his Olympic record of 23.30 meters, further underlining his exceptional skills and athletic prowess in the shot put.
At the World Championships in Budapest, Crouser brought his newly adapted ‘Crouser Slide’ technique to the fore. Despite suffering two blood clots in his left leg, Crouser still dominated, throwing 23.51m on his last throw, the second-best throw in history behind his world record of 23.56 from May. He had the three best throws of the six-round final.
His only loss of the season came at the Diamond League final on home soil when he finished second behind Joe Kovacs.
1. Noah Lyles
What a year Noah Lyles has had! Forget what the awards say in which world athletics broke down the awards to Track, field, and road. Regardless, Lyles put up a show for the ages, one that made the athletics world stand on its feet in awe.
Lyles rarely does indoor races, but in 2023, he made sure he had a few under his belt, especially making a statement win at the New Balance meet in Boston. More importantly, the 60m helped him perfect his start- a part of his race that he has always found difficult when he runs the 100m.
Zharnel Hughes, Noah Lyles, Wanda Diamond League
London Athletics Meet
July 23, 2023, London, England, U.K., photo by Kevin Morris
And yet, he still lost a few of the 100m races, but when it mattered most, Lyles came up clutch in the final of the world championships to win his very first world title in the event, clocking 9.83s. As expected, he went on to dominate the 200m with ease, as he ran 19.52s in the final. A third Gold came in the form of the men’s 4x100m as he closed out the championships as the only athlete to win three GOLD in Budapest.
What do you think about our list? Are there names you feel should have made the top 10 that we omitted? Do let us know in the comments.