USA gymnast star Simone Biles and Serbian number one tennis player in the world Novak Djokovic have been named AIPS Athletes of the Year for the 2023 edition (Right: Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for ITF; Left: Photo by Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty)

December 30, 2023 – US gymnast star Simone Biles and Serbian number one tennis player in the world Novak Djokovic have been named AIPS Athletes of the Year for the 2023 edition. This results from a poll by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS), where a panel of 405 journalists from 107 countries voted for the Champions of 2023.

The world’s most decorated gymnast from Columbus, Ohio, has lived an unforgettable 2023 as she scooped first place with a total amount of 353 votes collected. Second place has been reached by Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon with 329 votes, with Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati in third place with 297 votes.

By establishing himself as one of the most prominent champions of all time in tennis and all sports, the Serbian star scooped first place in this year’s edition with a total amount of 616 points collected. Second place has been reached by Swedish Pole Vaulter Armand Duplantis with 335 points, with Argentinian Footballer Lionel Messi in third place with 277 points.

THE FEMALE CHAMPION OF THE YEAR In 2023, Simone Arianne Biles, born on March 14, 1997, in Columbus, Ohio, became the world’s most decorated gymnast, male or female. Her triumphant return to competition after a two-year hiatus cemented her status as the greatest of all time in the sport she took up at the age of six. Her major international medals to date are seven Olympic medals – four gold, one silver, two bronze; and 30 World Championship medals – 23 gold, four silver, three bronze.

The now 26-year-old American announced her comeback in June 2023 and went on to dominate the all-around at the 2023 US Classic gymnastics competition in early August. It was her first event since withdrawing from the women’s team final and four subsequent individual finals at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021, to prioritise her mental health as she dealt with a case of ‘twisties’ – what gymnasts describe as a kind of mental block which causes a person to lose their sense of space and dimension as they are in the air.

Towards the end of August 2023, a historic eighth individual all-around title at the US Championships followed, as the seven-time Olympic medalist continued to deliver stunning performances. Then she claimed a sixth all-around world title in Antwerp, Belgium, in October, in addition to winning gold medals in the floor exercise, balance beam and team. Antwerp proved the perfect stage for the feat. Biles made her global debut in the same city in 2013, winning four medals including her first all-around gold. She’s now the only gymnast to win all-around world titles a decade apart. 

In 2016, Biles became the first male or female gymnast to be voted as AIPS Best Athlete of the Year. She took a sabbatical in 2017 and returned to claim the accolade again back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

AIPS Best Female Athlete of 2023 (votes and percentages):

1. Biles Simone
 – Gymnastics, USA – 353 votes (9,68%)

2. Kipyegon Faith – Athletics, Kenya – 329 votes (9,03%)

3. Bonmati Aitana – Football, Spain – 297 votes (8,15%)

4. Shiffrin Mikaela – Ski, USA – 256 votes (7,02%)

5. Assefa Tigst – Athletics, Ethiopia – 237 votes (6,50%)

6. Swiatek Iga – Tennis, Poland – 203 votes (5,57%)

7. Bol Femke – Athletics, The Netherlands – 190 votes (5,21%)

8. Rojas Yulimar – Athletics, Venezuela – 176 votes (4,83%)

9. Putellas Alexia – Football, Spain – 158 votes (4,33%)

10. Ledecky Katie – Swimming, USA – 135 votes (3,70%)

11. Al-Sadeq Julyana – Taekwondo, Jordan – 117 votes (3,21%)

12. Jackson Shericka – Athletics, Jamaica – 113 votes (3,10%)

13. Andrade Rebeca – Gymnastics, Brazil – 108 votes (2,96%)

14. Goggia Sofia – Ski, Italy – 105 votes (2,88%)

15. Garnbret Janja – Climbing, Slovenia – 88 votes (2,41%)

16. Gauff Cori – Tennis, USA – 83 votes (2,28%)

17. Cristiane de Oliveira Debora – Football, Brazil – 78 votes (2,14%)

18. Daly Rachel – Football, England – 57 votes (1,56%)

18. Sabalenka Aryna – Tennis, Belarus – 57 votes (1,56%)

20. Earps Mary – Football, England – 54 votes (1,48%)

21. Yingsha Sun – Table Tennis, China – 53 votes (1,45%)

22. Richardson Sha’Carri – Athletics, USA – 52 votes (1,43%)

23. Breanna Stewart – Basketball, USA – 51 votes (1,40%)

24. Hassan Sifan – Athletics, The Netherlands – 49 votes (1,34%)

25. Fox Jessica – Canoe, Australia – 43 votes (1,18%)

26. McKeown Kaylee – Swimming, Australia – 41 votes (1,12%)

27. Se-Young An – Badminton, South Korea – 36 votes (0,99%)

28. Hansen Gyda Westvold – Nordic Ski, Norway – 34 votes (0,93%)

29. Vondrousova Marketa – Tennis, Czech Republic – 32 votes (0,88%)

30. Sjöström Sarah – Swimming, Sweden – 31 votes (0,85%)

31. Perez Maria – Athletics, Spain – 29 votes (0,80%)

MALE CHAMPION OF THE YEAR Novak Djokovic, born on May 22, 1987 in Belgrade, Serbia hailed his 2023 season as “One of the best, I wouldn’t say the best, but one of the best.” As he reflects on how 2023 stacks up against some of his greatest career seasons, after clinching a record-extending eighth year-end No. 1 finish in Men’s singles World Tennis Ranking. The Serbian has only played 12 tournaments this year, including the ATP Finals, but has won six of them, including three Grand Slams, making 2023 one of the most unforgettable years ever in his career.

He beat Danish Holger Rune in his opening match at the Nitto ATP Finals to ensure he will finish as year-end No. 1. Djokovic has won three out of four Grand Slam titles this year and played a final in the fourth; He was on a 19-match winning streak that was broken by Jannik Sinner in a thrilling match at the ATP Finals. 

Sinner, has secured victory after just over three hours of high-quality tennis. Marking Sinner’s first career victory against Djokovic.

AIPS Best Male Athlete of 2023 (votes and percentages):

1. Djokovic Novak 
– Tennis, Serbia – 616 votes (16,90%)

2. Duplantis Armand – Athletics, Sweden – 335 votes (9,19%)

3. Messi Lionel – Football, Argentina – 277 votes (7,60%)

4. Haaland Erling – Football, Norway – 229 votes (6,28%)

5. Verstappen Max – Formula 1, The Netherlands – 212 votes (5,82%)

6. Alcaraz Carlos – Tennis, Spain – 184 votes (5,05%)

7. Kos Hubert – Swimming, Hungary – 129 votes (3,54%)

8. El Bakkali Soufiane – Athletics, Morocco – 119 votes (3,26%)

9. Jokic Nikola – Basketball, Serbia – 115 votes (3,16%)

10. Mbappé Kylian – Football, France – 96 votes (2,63%)

11. Kipchoge Eliud – Athletics, Kenya – 93 votes (2,55%)

12. Ohtani Shohei – Baseball, Japan – 83 votes (2,28%)

13. Lyles Noah – Athletics, USA – 76 votes (2,09%)

14. Curry Stephen – Basketball, USA – 71 votes (1,95%)

14. Kiptum Kelvin – Athletics, Kenya – 71 votes (1,95%)

16. José Paixaõ de Oliveira Vinicius – Football, Brazil – 70 votes (1,92%)

17. Kane Harry – Football, England – 62 votes (1,70%)

18. Pogačar Tadej – Cycling, Slovenia – 60 votes (1,65%)

19. Boe Johannes Thingnes – Biathlon, Norway – 57 votes (1,56%)

20. Hafnaoui Ahmed – Swimming, Tunisia – 53 votes (1,45%)

21. Tentoglou Miltiadis – Athletics, Greece – 52 votes (1,43%)

21. Van der Poel Mathieu – Cycling, The Netherlands – 52 votes (1,43%)

23. Odermatt Marco – Ski, Switzerland – 49 votes (1,34%)

24. Tamberi Gianmarco – Athletics, Italy – 46 votes (1,26%)

25. Etzebeth Eben – Rugby, South Africa – 44 votes (1,21%)

26. Ingebrigtsen Jakob – Athletics, Norway – 37 votes (1,02%)

27. Embiid Joel – Basketball, USA – 35 votes (0,96%)

28. Crouser Ryan – Athletics, USA – 34 votes (0,93%)

29. Haiyang Qin – Swimming, China – 29 votes (0,80%)

30. Schröder Dennis – Basketball, Germany – 27 votes (0,74%)

31. Lewandowski Robert – Football, Poland – 26 votes (0,71%)

32. Axelsen Viktor – Badminton, Denmark – 25 votes (0,69%)

33. Vingegaard Jonas – Cycling, Denmark – 24 votes (0,66%)

33. Zhendong Fan – Table Tennis, China – 24 votes (0,66%)

35. Klaebo Johannes Høsflot – Cross Country Ski, Norway – 21 votes (0,58%)

36. Marchand Leon – Swimming, France – 20 votes (0,55%)

36. Savsek Benjamin – Canoe, Slovenia – 20 votes (0,55%)

38. Fuchs Martin – Horse Racing, Switzerland – 18 votes (0,49%)

39. Roglič Primoz – Cycling, Slovenia – 17 votes (0,47%)

40. Medvedev Daniil – Tennis, Russia – 15 votes (0,41%)

41. Savea Ardie – Rugby, New Zealand – 14 votes (0,38%)

42. Riner Teddy – Judo, France – 8 votes (0,22%)

43. Ward Mclain – Equestrian, USA – No votes

AIPS members from the following nations participated in the Best of 2023 poll (countries are listed in alphabetical order):

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Perù, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Yemen.

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