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Amid turmoil, international track officials will name top athletes but won’t hold award gala

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt crosses the finish line as the Jamaican team wins the men’s 400-meter relay at the 2015 world championships Beijing in August. Bolt is a finalist for the International Assn. of Athletics Federations’ top athlete of the year. 

(Olivier Morin / AFP/Getty Images)

Surrounded by allegations of doping and cover-ups, the international track federation will not hold its annual awards gala this winter -- but that won’t stop officials from naming the top athletes of the year.

The International Assn. of Athletics Federations announced the finalists in the men’s category on Wednesday, putting forth sprinter Usain Bolt and two Americans, decathlete Ashton Eaton and triple jumper Christian Taylor.

The women’s finalists are Dutch sprinter Dafne Schippers, hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland and middle-distance runner Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia.

In recent months, media reports have alleged that former IAAF President Lamine Diack solicited bribes for suppressing positive test results. A subsequent World Anti-Doping Agency report claimed widespread cheating in Russia.

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Though new IAAF President Sebastian Coe suggested this is no time to celebrate, tough times did not appear to dim the nominees’ enthusiasm.

“I can’t believe this!” Taylor said in a tweet. “What a blessing.”


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