When the Wanda Diamond League season got underway in Doha last May, few could have imagined what an incredible campaign lay ahead. 2023 proved to be a vintage year in athletics' premier one-day series, delivering seven world record, 13 Diamond League records and nailbiting drama across the 14 meetings.
It began, as so many great sporting sagas do, with some good old-fashioned trash talk.
Ahead of the season opener, all eyes were on Fred Kerley. The US sprinter was reigning world champion, and a firm favourite to claim the Diamond Trophy in the men's 100m and 200m. He had also been stoking the fires ahead of the series by demanding a showdown with Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs.
"I'll be there. I don't know if he'll show up," said Kerley ahead of the Seashore Group Doha Meeting, at which he cruised to a comfortable victory with 19.92m in the 200m. At that point, Jacobs had not appeared at a Diamond League meeting for two years amid ongoing struggles with injury, and the two men had already been exchanging barbs on social media in the weeks previously.
Jacobs later made his first Diamond League appearance in two years at the Meeting de Paris, while Kerley picked up further wins in Rabat and Florence.