The alternative athletics awards 2010
And so, with a fizz and a bang, the 2010 summer of athletics comes to an end. In its place springs a desire to dish out some well-earned gongs and brickbats to sum it all up.
Yep - I know we've still got the Great North Run and Commonwealth Games to come. Hence the use of the world 'summer'. For the same reason, performances from the indoor season have also not been considered.
Everything else is fair game. So feel free to argue with my choices, suggest your own and come up with additional alternative categories too. Sadly there are no tangible prizes to dish out, but it should always be more about glory than gold, no?
Athlete of Year
So many contenders, so many big performances.
Until the last fortnight I was certain my vote would be going to Tyson Gay, not only for his 9.78 secs at a cold Crystal Palace and 19.72 secs in Monaco but for the way he pushed on where his big Jamaican rivals fell back, and won in so many different conditions and race scenarios.
If it wasn't Gay, I reasoned, then Allyson Felix should take the crown - for dominating both the 200m and 400m at the Diamond League, and doing it all in the sort of style that could make even grizzled track and field veterans coo with pleasure.
There were other contenders, of course - Andreas Thorkildsen for his peerless performances in the javelin; David Oliver for clocking seven of the 10 fastest times in the world and coming within the thickness of a vest of matching Dayron Robles' 110m hurdles record; Nadzeya Ostapchuk owning the shot put; France's European champion pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, who produced four of the top five jumps all year.
Then David Rudisha stormed to that sensational 800m in Berlin, and - even as the dust was settling - topped it a week later in Rieti.
The 800m world record does not go very often. It's both a biggie and a toughie. So for his displays in that event, and the wonder of watching how he did it, Rudisha gets my nod. Sorry, Tyson.
British Athlete of Year
Honourable mentions to Andy Turner for his European sprint hurdles title, Dai Greene for both winning the European 400m hurdles title and moving into true world-class and superwoman Jessica Ennis for triumphing in filthy conditions in Gotzis and then doing the same under balmy Spanish skies two months later.
But then there were two. First: Phillips Idowu, truly an athlete to rise to the biggest occasions, following his PB to win World gold last summer with... a PB to win European gold.
It shouldn't be possible to top that. But with a European 5,000m and 10,000 double plus a smashing of a British record that had stood for 28 years, Mo Farah does just that.
Everyone likes a big gun. So the no-show of Yelena Isinbayeva throughout the summer was always going to be a miss, even if her form last year had started to show signs of stress and shonkiness.
Way beyond that, however, was the absence of the showdown to end all showdowns - Bolt, Powell and Gay, all three sprint kings in one 100m race, head to head to head.
The Diamond League was meant to make it happen. Injuries, tax bills and poor scheduling meant it didn't. Come on 2011 - spoil us.
Possibly what Jonathan Borlee experienced as he came round the top bend in Rome to be confronted with an overhead camera swooping towards him at head height.
Villain of Year
No-one likes a dope cheat. So for his three positive tests for banned steroid Dehydroepiandrosterone, reigning World and Olympic 400m champion LaShawn Merritt must get the nod.
Most Amusing Story of Year
LaShawn's explanation for his positive test? He'd been using an over-the-counter male enhancement product called ExtenZe, the most unlikely excuse since Dennis Mitchell blamed his illegal testosterone levels on "five bottles of beer and sex with my wife at least four times... it was her birthday, the lady deserved a treat."
Quote of the Year
Did I mention LaShawn Merrit? Here's what he had to say after being caught using the, ah, enlargement product: "To know that I've tested positive ... is extremely difficult to wrap my hands around."
Young Athlete of the Year
Let's start from a British perspective and doff our caps to Steph Twell. Always the cross country queen, this was the year the 21-year-old came of age on the track - reaching the European 1500m final and setting a new PB, beating that mark in Zurich and then taking 22 seconds off her 5,000m best in Brussels to go fourth on the all-time UK rankings.
On the global stage. I'm thinking of three names - first Yohan Blake, if we feel comfortable with putting to one side the ban from last year, then Czech javelin tyro Petr Frydrych for his 88.23m in Ostrava and chasing in the spike-marks of legendary compatriot Jan Zelezny, and finally French sprint sensation Christophe Lemaitre.
No easy choice, but for his impact in Barcelona, his sub-10 secs 100m and subsequent 9.97 secs and his insouciant wearing of both a teenager's fluffy faux-moustache and farmhand's floppy straw hat, Lemaitre gets my nod.
It's always fun seeing what Lolo Jones has to say on Twitter, and everyone loves David Oliver's giddy garrulousness on the same service. But there was a large archer-shaped hole where Usain should have been for most of the summer, and no-one filled it better than the mysterious, mesmeric, ever-so-slightly mad Blanca Vlasic - dancing, prancing, pouting and leaping her way around the world's biggest meets.
Most enjoyable single moment
I did enjoy the athlete's name-plus-band game on Twitter - how can you argue with Roger Black Sabbath, Geoff Cape Get Cape Fly or the Larry Achike Girls?
As far as the actual action goes, I can't see past old pals Mo Farah and Chris Thompson coming home in first and second at that unforgettable 10,000m in Barcelona, and the sheer delight on their faces as they realised what the other had achieved. "That was the best half an hour of my life," said Thompson afterwards, and you knew he meant it.
Best Single Performance
If it's any consolation Teddy, you'll have other years.
There was a time when you thought she might never make it back. There was a time when the rumours about the treatment she may or may not be having grew more outlandish every week. But, by July, Caster Semenya was back and winning all three of her (albeit low-key) first races and coming home third in the Brussels Diamond League 800m.
If she was four seconds off that extraordinary PB from 2009, she still dipped under two minutes, and if there are still plenty of disgruntled rumbles from some of her rivals, she is still favourite for the Commonwealth title in October.
It's all about France for me - first Tamgho, following up his World Indoor success with that stunning 17.98m in New York, but even more so his compatriot Lemaitre - not so much for becoming the first white man to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, but for taking both 100m and 200m gold at the Europeans. As one of his predecessors as European champion, Darren Campbell, told us afterwards, there's a lot more to come too.
Vlasic may have ruled the Diamond League contests, but Chaunte Howard Lowe made it a battle. Barbora Spotakova and Christina Obergfoll went neck and neck too, but for never quite knowing who would come out on top, and a battle that went this way and that and back to this again, step forward Lolo Jones, Priscilla Lopez-Schliep and Sally Pearson.