Monaco - France's Renaud Lavillenie and New Zealand's Valerie Adams were named the male and female World Athletes of the Year for 2014.
The pair received their trophies at this evening’s IAAF World Athletics Gala held at the Chapiteau de Fontvieille.
The awards were hosted by International Athletics Foundation (IAF) Honorary President HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and IAF & IAAF President Lamine Diack, who presented the trophies to the male and female winners.
It was the first time in the history of the awards that field event athletes had won both accolades and was also the first time that a male pole vaulter or a female thrower had won the World Athlete of the Year award.
Lavillenie, 28, had an almost perfect season which included setting a pole vault world record of 6.16m in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.
The Frenchman won 21 of his 22 competitions in 2014, a series which included victories in the Diamond Race as well as at the European Championships and IAAF Continental Cup.
"This season couldn’t have been better. This is really the dream season for me. I can only enjoy this and be very grateful to the whole athletics family," reflected Lavillenie.
"I think the world record contributed to the award, but I won other competitions too. I wasn’t as good as Valerie, I lost one competition, but 21 out of 22 is not too bad in an event which is quite unpredictable," he joked.
Adams, 30, may have thrown farther in previous seasons than she did in 2014, but the Olympic champion added a ninth senior global title to her collection when she successfully defended her world indoor crown in Sopot and triumphed at the Commonwealth Games.
She was the only athlete in the world to win at all seven IAAF Diamond League fixtures in any discipline and was a clear winner of the women’s shot put Diamond Race.
"This is the icing on the cake for 2014. It's been a year that's been physically challenging but I’m proud to be here for New Zealand and Oceania," commented Adams.
"There's been a lot of pain but I love what I do, I love competing. I'm mentally strong and I've a high pain threshold so that makes it easier," she added, with her delight evident for all to see.
IAAF DISTINGUISHED CAREER AWARD
Virgilijus Alekna (LTU)
Alekna, now 42, has had a stellar career and his major achievements include gold medals at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, 2003 and 2005 IAAF World Championships.
He was also the 2006 European champion and has another five medals from major international championships. His international championship career stretched over 21 seasons, starting at the 1994 European Championships and, 20 years later, he competed in the 2014 European Championships this summer.
He threw a national record of 73.88m in 2000 and currently lies second on the world all-time list for his discipline.
IAAF RISING STAR AWARD
Wilhem Belocian (FRA) & Morgan Lake (GBR)
Belocian, 19, won the 110m hurdles at the IAAF World Junior Championships this summer in a world junior record time of 12.99, making his own mark as the first junior to run under 13 seconds over the barriers. His global victory added to his win at the 2013 European Junior Championships.
Lake, 17, achieved a unique double at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the US city of Eugene, winning both the heptathlon and the high jump and while still a youth as well. Her winning heptathlon total of 6148 points was a world youth best.
IAAF COACHING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Tom Tellez (USA)
Tellez is best known for guiding Carl Lewis to nine Olympic titles. Between 1984 and 1996, all but one of the US athletes who won gold medals in sprinting events at the Olympic Games were coached by Tellez.
His group included the likes of 1988 Olympic 200m champion Joe DeLoach, former 100m world record-holder Leroy Burrell, 1992 Olympic 200m champion Mike Marsh, 1984 Olympic 200m silver medallist Kirk Baptiste and 1996 Olympic bronze medallist Frank Rutherford.
IAAF WOMEN IN ATHLETICS AWARD
Evie Garrett Dennis (USA)
Dennis was instrumental in convening the first ever convention of The Athletics Congress (now USA Track & Field). Eight years later, in 1988, she became the first woman to act as the chef de mission for the US Olympic team.
She went on to serve as the vice president of the US Olympic Committee, again becoming the first woman to do so, and chaired the USOC’s women’s committee and diversity committee. She has been a staunch advocate and spokesperson for Title IX, which ensures equal access to sports for young women.
IAAF WORLD JOURNALIST AWARD
Marc Ventouillac (FRA)
Ventouillac is head of athletics at renowned French sports newspaper l’Equipe and since 2003 he has been a member of the IAAF Press Commission. He is a recipient of the Prix Robert-Parenté, awarded by a group of international French athletics journalists, and in 2014 he became a distinguished member of the AIPS Executive Committee, Europe and president of the AIPS Athletics Commission.
MASTERS’ MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Guido Muller (GER)
Having started out in athletics at the age of 11, Muller is still going strong 64 years later. Since turning 45 in 1983, Muller has gained 126 national masters titles, 82 at the European level and 36 at the World Masters Championships. He also holds 17 world masters records across various age groups from M45 to M75, four of which were set this year.
MASTERS’ FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Lavinia Petrie (AUS)
Since turning 70, Petrie has been on a record-breaking run, setting multiple world records in her age group across middle and long distances. At the start of 2014, Petrie set world W70 records over 3000m and 10,000m in the same day. During the same competition, she broke the W70 world best in the half marathon. Two months later, she took a 46-second chunk off her own W70 10,000m world best.
IAAF HALL OF FAME – 2014 INDUCTEES
A dozen athletics legends, the 'class of 2014', were inducted into the IAAF Hall of Fame.
Hicham El Guerrouj
Shirley Strickland de la Hunty