No disrespect to this year's two remaining Diamond League meets—Sept. 8 in Switzerland and Sept. 16 in Belgium—but for most intents and purposes, the end of the IAAF World Championships this past weekend marked the end of the 2011 track and field season.
The few athletes who are still in contention for the prize money and No. 1 rankings that come with winning a Diamond League crown will stay locked in for the next couple of weeks. The rest of the best have already reset their focus on 2012 and the London Olympics. That goes for everybody from Yohan Blake (the new 100-meter world champion) to Sogelau Tuvalu (who clocked a historically glacial 15.66 seconds in the WC 100-meter prelims).
Even more eager to fast-forward the calendar to next summer, though, are the athletes who—for one reason or another—were absent during the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Quite a few of them flew under the mainstream radar this year, but will be right in the mix to contend for medals at the Olympics in London.
Here are 12 athletes to watch in 2012 whom you didn't see at the World Championships: