Although it has been a year since the fantastic 2012 Summer Olympics in London, it seems as though very little has changed in the world of track and field.
That is evidenced by the fact that most of the athletes who are considered to be the very best in their respective disciplines have steamrolled through the competition at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow over the past week.
That isn't to say that things haven't been competitive, but it is certainly a testament to the winners. It would have been very easy for a letdown to occur after thriving at the Olympics this year, but many athletes remain hungry to achieve even more. Witnessing that excellence has made the IAAF World Championships well worth keeping tabs on.
There is still one day left to go in Moscow, but here are three athletes who have risen above the rest and truly done something special on the world stage.
Despite Jamaican sprinting star Usain Bolt's domination in his discipline for the past several years, pundits constantly try to rationalize that he is on the down slope of his career. Bolt has destroyed that notion thus far in Moscow, though, as he has already swept the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes with the 4x100-meter relay still to come on Sunday.
Bolt took gold in all three events at the 2012 London Olympics as well as the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and he is well on his way to doing the same in Moscow provided the Jamaican team doesn't make a blunder in the relay.
American Justin Gatlin gave Bolt a run for his money as he finished in 9.85 seconds, but the Jamaican phenomenon was able to cross the finish line first with a time of 9.77 seconds.
That win signaled redemption for Bolt as a false start deprived him of 100-meter gold at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Bolt was excellent in the 200-meter dash as well, and ESPN Stats & Info put his incredible performance into proper perspective.
Usain Bolt won his 3rd 200-meter world title today with a time of 19.66 seconds. That's an average speed of 22.8 MPH.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 17, 2013
While falling short of gold in the 4x100-meter relay would be a slight blemish, Bolt has proven that he is still the fastest man in the world by winning his individual events yet again.
The big question relates to whether or not Bolt will still be as dominant as he is now when the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics come around. Bolt will be 29 years old then, and there will presumably be stiffer competition. As of right now, though, there is no doubt that he is still the biggest track star in the world.
Distance running may not be as sexy in the track and field world as the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, but it can be argued that Great Britain's Mo Farah is even more dominant as a distance runner than Bolt is in his races.
That seems like a crazy thing to say, but Farah has been nearly unstoppable since 2011. That has continued in Russia as Farah swept the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter events. Farah truly burst onto the scene at the London Olympics last year in front of his home fans, and he has maintained that considerable momentum.
While there was no question that he was a fantastic runner then, some believed that the home-country boost accounted partially for his fine performance.
That probably stuck in Farah's craw a bit, and it had to make him want to show the world that he is the best regardless of where he runs. He has done precisely that in Moscow, and legendary British distance runner Brendan Foster believes he has already done enough to be considered the greatest British athlete of all time, according to BBC News.
[Correction] "Mo Farah becomes, for me, the greatest athlete we've ever had in this country" - BBC's Brendan Foster http://t.co/ouek8FJoGC— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 16, 2013
Foster may be right as there isn't much left for Farah to accomplish.
He has won Olympic gold in both of his events, and he has done the same at the World Championships as well. Farah won silver in the 10,000-meter event in Daegu two years ago, but he atoned for that loss this year. The 30-year-old seems to be getting better with age, and it will be interesting to see how the aging process affects him moving forward.
When Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won gold in the 100-meter dash at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, she truly came from out of nowhere to do so. When Fraser-Pryce turned the trick again at the London Games last year, it became blatantly obvious that she is here to stay.
Even so, Fraser-Pryce had to enter the World Championships with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. She has never received quite as much attention in Jamaica or across the world as Bolt has, but that may soon be changing.
Fraser-Pryce has been hailed as the fastest woman in the world since she first won gold in the 100-meter dash back in 2008, and she absolutely furthered that perception in Moscow.
Carmelita Jeter of the United States was expected to give Fraser-Pryce a run for her money, but the Jamaican speedster could not be caught. According to IAAF.org, Fraser-Pryce blew away her opponents in a race that was never in doubt from start to finish.
10.72 for Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. That was barely a race - nobody else close. #Moscow2013— IAAF.org (@iaaforg) August 12, 2013
As impressive as Fraser-Pryce was in the 100-meter dash, her showing in the 200-meter event was even more impressive.
Fraser-Pryce took silver in the 200-meter dash in London, but few expected her to win the event in Moscow. Allyson Felix was the odds-on favorite to cross the finish line first; however, a torn hamstring ended her race early. That opened the door for Fraser-Pryce, and she made no mistake as she established herself as the Usain Bolt of women's sprinting.
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