The women's long list for the 2016 World Athlete of the Year has been announced. These are the words the athletes used to describe their own incredible accomplishments..
Almaz Ayana (ETH)
After winning Olympic 10,000m gold with a world record 29:17.45.
“This means everything for me. I never thought that this would happen, and I’m so in awe. I’m very happy to get here.”
Ruth Beitia (ESP)
Reflecting on 26 years in the sport.
“One day, every top athlete hangs up their spikes, and their records will be broken, and you become a former champion. The only lasting thing is the friends you have made.”
After winning a first Olympic title at her fourth Games.
“I’m aware that I’m 37 years old. I think I’m one of the oldest women to win an Olympic gold medal. Of course, I’m very proud to still be continuing up to now. Even at my age, I have the same enthusiasm and happiness.”
Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN)
On overhauling 10,000m champion and world record holder Almaz Ayana to win 5000m gold in an Olympic record 14:26.17
“Almaz is such a great athlete, we thought she would win again. She got ahead but then I thought, ‘she’s not moving’. I was working and I went past her.
“It was my fourth Olympic Games and I had not had gold. Almaz [Ayana] can go fast for 400m, then slow it down. Today I said, ‘I am going to follow her. I am not going to lose her’.
“I’m so happy for me, my husband, my son, my parents.”
Kendra Harrison (USA)
After setting the 100m hurdles world record 12.20 weeks after missing the US Olympic Team.
“To hear people call me a world record holder, it sounds remarkable. I wanted to come out here and show the world that I still have it even though I won't be going to the Olympics. I had to give it all I had.
“It shows that even if you don’t go out there and make the team, you have to keep going and be strong. I just ran my best and look what happened.”
Caterine Ibarguen (COL)
After winning Olympic gold, the 2016 Diamond Race trophy and finishing the season with only one defeat.
“It has been a great year. Rio and the Diamond Leagues have not beeen easy, but by the grace of God things have fallen in place. I am very happy and content. I want to remain healthy and, who knows, perhaps I can go for the world record.”
Ruth Jebet (BRN)
Ahead of the Paris Diamond League, her first meet after winning Olympic gold…
“Will I break the world record tomorrow? No. I’ve tried two times but I didn’t get it … [After Rio] it’s not possible for me physically.”
...and after setting the 3000m steeplechase world record 8:52.78:
“I’m happy to run a good time. We’ve tried many times [to break the world record] but today we pushed. Today everybody was strong, that is why we ran a good time.
“Sometimes you can get tired but you are strong. It causes tension. I am happy to be a record holder.”
Sandra Perkovic (CRO)
After finishing 2016 without tasting defeat and securing her second Olympic title.
“I’m so happy that I won everything this year. I became European champion, the Olympic champion, the Diamond Race and stayed unbeaten. I cant describe what I’m feeling after this amazing season.”
Caster Semenya (RSA)
After ending her season unbeaten and with the 2016 Diamond Race trophy.
“It’s all about being aggressive. The girls are fantastic to run with. I enjoy each and every time I run with them. They are fantastic athletes – I have to give credit to them.
“At the end of the day it’s all about business. We have to get down to business, collect more points as we can so we can try to win the jackpot. The business is sealed, now it’s all about going home to enjoy.”
Elaine Thompson (JAM)
After winning 200m gold, her second Olympic title of Rio 2016.
“My school motto was ‘let the light shine’ and I let me light shine tonight.
“I don’t know how much faster I can go. Running 21.66 was a shock. I honestly don’t like running 200m, but I’m excited to see how fast I can go in the future.”
Anita Wlodarczyk (POL)
After throwing a world record 82.29m to win Olympic gold in the hammer throw.
“After the first throw I knew I would have the medal, so on the second throw I went for maximum power. I started thinking about the world record.
“I could feel the power. I knew it would be the best one.
“The greatest emotion was after the world record. I cried a little bit. It is an absolutely amazing feeling after so many years of hard work, an explosion of happiness.
“It’s very hard, monotonous training. I’m a professional sportsperson and care about every aspect such as eating and sleeping. I sacrifice many things in my life to achieve such big results.”