Five women who can make history in 2023
Jamaican legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was one of the standout performers in the Wanda Diamond League last season, showing that age and motherhood are no barrier as she rampaged to four meeting records en route to her first Diamond Trophy since 2015. The 36-year-old now has five Diamond League titles to her name, putting her just one behind New Zealand shot putter Valerie Adams and Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic, who are currently the most successful women in the series' history with six titles each. Fraser-Pryce is far from done, however, and few would bet against her equalling that record this year. Just this week, she told NBC Sports that she has her sights set on both the Olympic Games in 2024 and a potential 100m world record.
While Fraser-Pryce is eyeing a sixth title in 2023, Sandra Perkovic may well hope that she can go one better and finally clinch a history-making seventh Diamond Trophy this season. Having swept aside all before her between 2012 and 2017, the Diamond Trophy has eluded Perkovic in recent years, with Cuba's Yaime Perez pipping her to the title in 2018 and 2019 and the USA's Valarie Allman stealing the show in 2021 and 2022. But even if her days of dominance are now behind her, the 32-year-old can still compete at the very highest level, as she showed with a World Athletics Championships silver medal in Oregon last year. If she did manage to regain her crown in 2023, she would become the first woman to win seven Diamond Trophies, drawing level with record champions Renaud Lavillenie and Christian Taylor.
There was no getting past Chase Ealey last season, with the US star winning all five legs of the Wanda Diamond League in the women's shot put to claim her first Diamond Trophy and join an elite group of 10 athletes who have pulled off a perfect Diamond League season in their chosen discipline. Of those 10, none have managed to repeat the feat in successive seasons and only Sandra Perkovic has managed to do it more than once. Ealey has already cleared the 20-metre mark once this season in New York and she will be odds-on favourite for the Diamond Trophy. But can she once again make it five victories out of five and become the first athlete ever to complete back-to-back perfect seasons?
In the history of the Wanda Diamond League, there are several athletes who have enjoyed success - even racked up titles - in more than one discipline. Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Allyson Felix and Elaine Thompson-Herah have all excelled in at least two sprinting disciplines, while Caterine Ibargüen famously won the triple jump and long jump titles within two days of one another in 2018. Yet as it stands, no female athlete has ever held the 400m and 400m hurdles titles at the same time. That could change this year, as two-time 400m hurdles champion Femke Bol slowly strengthens her claim to being one of the best 400m flat performers in the world. The Dutchwoman has already broken a world indoor record with 49.26m this year and she picked up her first 400m win on the circuit last season. She remains clear favourite to defend her 400m hurdles title this year, and while her outdoor best of 49.44 on the flat is still a little way off Miller-Uibo's Diamond League record, Bol has been improving so rapidly in recent years that it seems plausible she could end the season as series record holder and Diamond Trophy winner in both one-lap disciplines.
Yaroslava Mahuchikh finally got her hands on her first Diamond Trophy last season, after coming within a whisker of glory in an epic battle wiht Mariya Lasitskene a year before. The Ukrainian, who defended her European indoor title in Istanbul last weekend, will once again be the woman to beat in the women's high jump in 2023 as she aims to become the first Ukrainian athlete ever to win a second Diamond League title. Her fellow high jumpers Andriy Protsenko and Bogdan Bondarenko and triple jumper Olga Saladukha each have one Diamond Trophy, but Mahuchikh is Ukraine's best chance in years of producing a serial Diamond League champion.