Hubert Lawrence, Gleaner Writer
There were all sorts of argument when the time came to pick the 2011 Jamaica Athlete of the Year.
Most agreed that Veronica Campbell-Brown deserved the women's title. On the men's side, it seemed that Usain Bolt's false start in the 100-metre final at the Daegu World Championships had cost him dearly.
Few recalled that was his only loss of 2011 or that he was undefeated over 200 metres.
There shouldn't be so much contention this year. Once again, the choice for Jamaica's female Athlete should be unanimous. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was simply too good. To back up her Olympic gold-silver exploits, she won the 100 in the Diamond League, denying the formidable American Carmelita Jeter.
The little dynamo set personal bests in both her events. Following an ambush of her 100-metre rivals in New York, she stormed away with top honours at the Jamaican Championships. In the 100, she delivered a blinder of 10.70 seconds. In the 200, she improved to 22.10 seconds.
In the Olympics, she held off Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown to win in 10.75 seconds. She'd have gone faster if not for the nagging London chill. In the longer event, she was second to Allyson Felix in 22.09.
Her gold-silver medal haul surpassed the Olympic double silver performances by Juliet Cuthbert and Merlene Ottey in 1992 and 1996, respectively.
Only Usain Bolt had better individual sprint results in London than Shelly-Ann, who is on her way to becoming the best 100-metre sprinter in history.
World record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner was brilliant in 1988, but only ran the 100m once in two trips each to the World Championships and the Olympics.
Americans Wyomia Tyus and Gail Devers won back-to-back Olympic 100m titles before the Jamaican. Tyus had modest seasons in-between her 1964 and 1968 wins, but like Shelly-Ann, Devers has a World Championship title as well.
On track to take lead
If Shelly wins a medal at next year's World Championships in Moscow, she'll take the lead.
Put it altogether and she is Jamaica's Female Athlete of the Year.
Bolt should be an automatic choice, too. Not only did he do the unprecedented Olympic double-double, but he did it in style. But for the London chill, he ran history's second-fastest 100 - 9.63 seconds and the fourth-fastest 200 - 19.32 seconds - to do it.
Undefeated except for a dual loss to Yohan Blake at the Jamaica Championships, the tall man also produced times of 9.76, 9.79, 9.82, 19.58 and 19.66 in this season past.
Overall, he was two-all with his training partner, but his Olympic wins should earn him the number one spot on the men's side.
Shelly-Ann has an outside shot at being World Athlete of the Year. In her path will be shot putter Valerie Adams and 400-metre runner Sanya Richards-Ross, who won World Indoor titles in March and Olympic titles in August.
Some put Felix in the group of contenders too. She didn't do Indoors, but ran brilliantly at the US Trials. The slim American scorched the 200m in 21.69 seconds, the sixth-fastest time ever. She reached the Olympic 100m final and won the 200 in 21.88.
Bolt has formidable rivals for the title of World Athlete of the Year. Aries Merritt of the United States established a new benchmark in the 110-metre hurdles, with an Olympic gold medal as his biggest accomplishment. Eight times he beat the 13-second barrier, including a world record of 12.80.
Kenyan whiz David Rudisha continued to redefine the speed limits in the 800. After a stupendous run of one minute, 42.12 seconds in the thin air of Nairobi at his trials, he won the Olympics with the first ever run under 1.41 - one minute 40.91 seconds.
That probably gives him the edge unless things change in big late-season marathon action.
Last year, there was lots of discussion, especially about who the Jamaican men's Athlete of the Year was. In 2012, things will be straightforward. Shelly-Ann and Usain were just too good.
- Hubert Lawrence has covered athletics since 1987.