Over the years, the IAAF World Championships have provided a feast of iconic moments in the sport of athletics. Ahead of the 15th edition of the biannual global track and field festival, we bring you ten of our very favourite moments from what's come before. 

1. Carl Lewis – Helsinki 1983

US sprint-long jump legend Carl Lewis announced himself to the world as a track and field superstar by winning three gold medals at the inaugural IAAF World Championships. He led home American podium sweeps with comfortable wins in the 100m (10.07) and long jump (8.55m) before anchoring the US 4x100m team to gold in a world record 37.86.

2. Stefka Kostadinova – Rome 1987

After using all three jumps to make a last gasp clearance at 2.04m to stay in the hunt for high jump gold, Stefka Kostadinova found her groove and earned top spot on the podium with a quite remarkable jump. A second time clearance at 2.06m helped release the pressure before the statuesque Bulgarian added 0.01m to her old world record with a 2.09m. The mark still stands today.

3. Mike Powell v Carl Lewis – Tokyo 1991

After being unbeaten in the long jump for ten years, Carl Lewis was finally defeated in Tokyo – and it took a world record from his fellow American Mike Powell to do it.

In an unforgettable competition, Lewis went 0.01m further than Bob Beamon’s iconic world record distance of 8.91m in round four, only for Powell to leap out to a jaw-dropping world record of 8.95m. Lewis responded with 8.87m, but Powell clung on and is still owner of the world record today.

4. Jonathan Edwards – Gothenburg 1995

The Brit created history in the Ullevi Stadium by setting a world record not once but twice. Edwards became the first man in history to clear 18m without wind assistance with a monster 18.16m in round one, only to leap even further in round two with 18.29m. While everyone else in the stadium picked their jaws up from off the floor, Edwards simply shrugged. 20 years on, his world record still stands.

5. Sergey Bubka – Athens 1997

A 35-time world record breaker, Sergey Bubka is unquestionably the greatest pole vaulter in history. Yet, arguably, one of his greatest achievements was winning six World Championships in a row spanning 14 years from 1983 to 1997. Pushed hard by Russian Maksim Tarasov in Athens, the Ukrainian great called on all his experience to make it six on the bounce, sealing victory with a championship record 6.01m.

6. Michael Johnson – Seville 1999

Already owner of the 200m world record, the American track and field superstar finally became the fastest man in history over 400m with an epic run in southern Spain. The man with the golden spikes possessed the second, third and fourth fastest times in history coming into the race and finally lowered Harry “Butch” Reynolds' world record mark by 0.11 in a stunning 43.18 that remains untouched to this day.

7. Eliud Kipchoge – Paris 2003

Billed as the battle between the world 1500m champion Hicham El Guerrouj and the 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele, unheralded 18-year-old Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge upstaged the pair to win 5000m gold. El Guerrouj appeared to have broken the field down the back stretch, only for Kipchoge to edge the Moroccan by just 0.04 in a championship record 12:52.79, with Bekele finishing back in bronze medal position.

8. Tirunesh Dibaba – Helsinki 2005

The Ethiopian became the first woman in history to complete the 5000m/10,000m double at a World Championships, thereby cementing her status as a track and field great.

In the 25-lapper, Dibaba unleashed her devastating kick to secure gold. Days later she held off a charge by her countrywoman and arch rival Meseret Defar in a classic 5000m battle. History was hers.

9. Usain Bolt – Berlin 2009

In the most sensational display of sprinting ever seen, the incomparable Usain Bolt posted world record times in both the 100m and 200m on Berlin's brilliant blue track.

After first hacking 0.11 from his 100m world record with a 9.58, he continued his exercise in unlicensed butchery later in the week by chopping off 0.11 from his 200m mark with a gobsmacking 19.19. He went on to add a third gold medal as part of the Jamaican 4x100m team.

10. Sally Pearson – Daegu 2011

The Australian was simply poetry in motion as she destroyed the field to set a championship record 12.28, putting her fourth on the all-time 100m hurdles. The time was also the fastest for 19 years and it proved a springboard for Pearson, who won the Olympic crown in London the following year.