To celebrate their inclusion as finalists for World Athlete of the Year award, SPIKES looks back on six amazing performers in 2014.

Valerie Adams

It has been a long time since anyone threw a shot put further than Valerie Adams. This year she claimed the world indoor title in March, won Commonwealth gold in August and won all seven Diamond League competitions. To sum up: a third consecutive unbeaten season and a continuation of her 56-competition winning streak. That is just plain silly. 

Valerie Adams ()

GOAT: Girl Outstanding At Throws, or something

Mutaz Essa Barshim

The man with the elastic back has had an astonishing year, posting four of the top 16 outdoor high jumps of all time. A 2.43m in Brussels in September was just 2cm shy of the 25-year-old world record, and helped the Qatari clinch the hotly-contested Diamond League title.

Mutaz Essa Barshim ()

Barshim contorting himself over the bar in Birmingham

Genzebe Dibaba 

The Ethiopian posted the fastest outdoor 5000m time of the year (14:28.88) in Monaco in July but it was indoors that she really shone. She set a new indoor 1500m world record (3:55:17) in Karlsruhe, Germany in February, just days after a world record 8:16:60 in the 3000m in Stockholm. She finished the indoor season with 3000m gold at the world champs in Sopot.

You can see her hanging out with SPIKES on Sopot pier, here.

Genzebe Dibaba ()

Woop woop for the world champ

Dennis Kimetto

When Dennis Kimetto crossed the line in this year’s Berlin marathon it was one small step for the Kenyan, one slightly bigger one in the quest to break the 2hr mark. His 2:02:57 was the first time the 2:03 barrier had been broken, smashing the previous world record (set on the same course a year earlier) by a boggling 26 seconds. 

Dennis Kimetto ()

Another marathon world record tumbles in front of the Brandenburg Gate

Renaud Lavillenie

The flying Frenchman set a new pole vault world record of 6.16m in February, breaking the record set by Sergey Bubka 21 years earlier. The most remarkable thing about his remarkable season is that it was pretty much business as usual: Lavillenie won the Diamond League for the fifth straight year and claimed a third straight European title in Zurich. He went and capped it off with gold for Europe in the Continental Cup in Marrakech.

Renaud Lavillenie ()

Air Lavillenie in Marrakech

Dafne Schippers

Schippers’ season reached a high at the Euros in August where she claimed a sprint double, including a then world-leading personal best 22.03 in the 200m. Just a month earlier, she had racked up a personal best heptathlon tally of 6545pts for third place in Götzis.

Dafne Schippers ()

Schippers wins European 200m gold two days after claiming the 100m title