It's election season - no, not that election - for the 2012 IAAF World Athlete of the Year awards. Voting ends on Sunday and there's no clear-cut favorite for either the men's or women's awards.
On the men's side, the nominees are Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake; Americans Ashton Eaton, Aries Merritt and Christian Taylor; plus Mo Farah from Great Britain, Germany's Robert Harting, Kirani James from Grenada, Renaud Lavillenie from France and Kenya's David Rudisha. In my mind the favorites are double-gold medalists Bolt and Farah, plus world record-breakers Eaton, Merritt and Rudisha. I'd give the final edge to Merritt based on his overall body of work. Merritt began 2012 by winning the 60-meter hurdles gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. In the 110 hurdles he set the world mark of 12.80 seconds and won the U.S. championship, the Olympic gold medal and the Diamond League title.
Nominees for the women's award include Americans Allyson Felix, Brittney Reese and Sanya Richards-Ross; plus Valerie Adams of New Zealand, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, Great Britain's Jessica Ennis, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Yelena Lashmanova from Russia, Australia's Sally Pearson and Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic. This should be an extremely close vote; you can make a strong case for any of the 10. My pick is Felix, who earned the 200-meter gold in London and ran on two victorious Olympic relay teams, including the world record-setting 4 x 100 squad.