Justin Gatlin could win IAAF World Athlete of the Year for his undefeated sprint season, four years after coming back from a four-year doping ban.
Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion, was among 10 candidates for the men’s award named by track and field’s international governing body Friday.
Usain Bolt, who won World Athlete of the Year five times in the last six years, is not a candidate. Bolt ran a total of 400 meters this season, set back due to March foot surgery. Gatlin was the world’s fastest man in the 100m and 200m in 2014.
Bolt won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year Award in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Kenyan David Rudisha, the world record holder in the 800m, won in 2010, when Bolt was hampered by injury and lost a 100m to Tyson Gay.
Rudisha is also not a candidate this year. Therefore, this year’s men’s winner will be a first-time recipient.
Here are the 10 men’s candidates:
Nigel Amos (BOT) — Diamond League 800m champion
Mutaz Barshim (QAT) — Became No. 2 all time high jumper
Jairus Kipchoge Birech (KEN) — Diamond League 3000m steeplechase champion
Bohdan Bondarenko (UKR) — Became No. 3 (tied) all time high jumper
Yohann Diniz (FRA) — Broke 50km race walk world record, undefeated
Justin Gatlin (USA) — Diamond League 100m champion, undefeated
Robert Harting (GER) — Won 13 of 14 discus competitions
Dennis Kipruto Kimetto (KEN) — Broke marathon world record
Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) — Broke pole vault world record, Diamond League champion
LaShawn Merritt (USA) — Diamond League 400m champion
The women’s recipient will also be a first-time winner. Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce and Allyson Felix won the last two years but were not among the nominees. Fraser-Pryce was slowed by injury this season, while Felix did not impress until late in the summer, coming off last year’s torn hamstring.
The women’s list includes two Americans but omitted three of the four U.S. women who won Diamond League season titles — Felix (200m), Tianna Bartoletta (long jump) and Jenny Simpson (1500m).
The women’s candidates:
Valerie Adams (NZL) — Diamond League shot put champion, undefeated
Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) — Broke indoor world records in 1500m, 3000m
Dawn Harper Nelson (USA) — Diamond League 100m hurdles champion
Caterine Ibarguen (COL) — Diamond League triple jump champion, undefeated
Francena McCorory (USA) — World Indoor 400m champion
Sandra Perkovic (CRO) — Diamond League discus champion
Dafne Schippers (NED) — European champion in 100m, 200m
Kaliese Spencer (JAM) — Diamond League 400m hurdles champion
Barbora Spotakova (CZE) — Diamond League javelin champion
Anita Wlodarczyk (POL) — Broken hammer throw world record
The lists will be narrowed to three finalists for each award after an email poll of track and field officials closes Oct. 16. The winners will be announced Nov. 21 after an IAAF council decision.