The Wanda Diamond League hit new heights in 2023, with seven world records and 12 first-time champions crowning what was arguably the greatest season in the series' history. In the second part of our season review, we take a look back at all the action in Paris, Oslo and Lausanne.
Season review part two: History rewritten
When she landed in Paris on June 9th, Faith Kipyegon had already written herself into the Diamond League history books with her 1500m world record in Florence a week earlier. In Paris, the history books were rewritten entirely as Kipyegon and others delivered a flurry of world-beating performances to produce one of the most exhilarating evenings the series has ever seen. The Kenyan star got the party started with an unexpected world record in the 5000m, collapsing to the floor in shock after clocking 14:05.20. "I wasn't thinking about the world record and I don't know how I did it," said a flabbergasted Kipyegon after the race. Around an hour later, Lamecha Girma took up the baton with a world record of 7:52.11 in the men's steeplechase. Before Kipyegon, no athlete had ever broken two world records in the same Diamond League season, and prior to Paris, there had never been two world records at a single Diamond League meeting. On any other night, Keely Hodgkinson's British record in the 800m and Jakob Ingebrigtsen's two-mile world best would have been the standout performances. As it was, they were completely overshadowed, and that just about said it all.
How do you follow an act like that? The Bislett Games were always going to have their work cut out after the fireworks in France, but any fears of a post-Paris hangover were quickly laid to rest as Oslo delivered another historic day of Diamond League action on June 15th. As well as a meeting record in every single women's track race, there were also plenty of headline acts in the men's events, with Wayde Van Niekerk making his long-awaited Diamond League comeback after six years out injured and Erriyon Knighton breaking Usain Bolt's previous meeting record with 19.78 in the men's 200m. The real drama came when the local boys hit the track, as Karsten Warholm and Jakob Ingebrigtsen delivered thumping wins in front of a delirious home crowd. Warholm rampaged to a Diamond League record of 46.52 in the 400m hurdles, a time which was not quite as fast as his current world record but faster than the one he set at Bislett back in 2021. Ingebrigtsen, meanwhile, crowned the day with a European record of 3:27.95 in the 1500m. Hangover? What hangover?
It was a night of first-timers when the Diamond League landed in Lausanne for Athletissima on June 30th, with several athletes claiming their first ever Diamond League win in the Stade de la Pontaise. Botswana's Letsile Tebogo claimed a statement win in the men's 200m, a maiden Diamond League victory which would set him up nicely for a World Championships medal in Budapest later in the summer. There were also first series wins for Japan's Shunsuke Izumiya in the men's 110m hurdles, Bahamian LaQuan Nairn in the men's long jump and Australia's Mackenzie Little in the javelin. Little's compatriot Nicola Olyslagers stole the show however, as she delivered a statement win to keep the heat on reigning champion Yaroslava Mahuchikh in the women's high jump. Olyslagers' 2.02m was not only a world lead, it also equalled her own personal best and Oceania record.