Men: There were just three centimetres in the men’s shot put last time in London where Poland’s Tomasz Majewski edged out Germany’s David Storl in one of the closest finals of the Games.
Storl, at just 23, would have his moment the following year in Moscow and has been a largely consistent presence over the five years between London, finishing with silver behind American Joe Kovacs in 2015 and sixth in Rio.
But it’s another American, Ryan Crouser, who will no doubt be the man to beat in 2017. Crouser threw an Olympic record in the 2016 Games and has already begun the year in a purposeful way as he holds the three furthest throws in the world.
Women: Kiwi Valerie Adams has for so long reigned supreme in the women’s shot put, and was at the top back in 2012 where she won a second Olympic gold.
Adams followed it up in 2013 with her fourth world title but has since been knocked off her perch. Germany’s Christina Schwanitz was the outstanding athlete in 2015, boasting the four furthest throws of the year and winning the world title. China’s Gong Lijao has also been a consistent performer over the years with three minor medals from 2012 to 2015.
But again, similarly to the men’s side, it was American Michelle Carter who came good in 2016 and prevented Adams completing a trio of golds when she produced a national record in the final round. The self-styled ‘Shot Diva’ leads the challenge in London.
Men: The men’s discus mantle has been handed down from one Harting brother to another over the past five years.
The energetic and ever-popular Robert Harting lit up the London Stadium with his celebratory antics after gold in 2012, but saw his grip on his Olympic title relinquished to his younger brother Christoph in Rio last year.
Robert also won world gold in 2013, though the German has for years had to fend off the challenge of Poland’s Piotr Malachowski, the 2015 world champion, who has won two Olympic silver medals and entered each of the previous three major championships as world no.1.
Women: Croatian Sandra Perkovic’s two Olympic, one world and four European golds since 2010 aptly demonstrate the extent of her domination of the discipline in the past six or seven years.
Perkovic has accumulated gold medals in 2012, 2013 and 2016, had world-leading throws in four of the five years and already leads the way in 2017.
However, a chink in Perkovic’s armour formed in 2015 when she was unable to produce a significant response to Cuba’s Denia Caballero, who threw a first-round effort in the World Championship final which she was unable to match. Germany’s Julia Harting (nee Fischer) – Robert’s wife – also has the distance in her to add yet more gold to the family medal cabinet.
Men: The past two years have seen the men’s javelin light up in a way it hasn’t for some years, with Germany’s Thomas Rohler and Kenya’s Julius Yego as torchbearers for a new generation of greats.
Yego threw an African record of 92.72m for gold in Beijing in 2015 and Rohler had to throw over 90 metres to beat him to the Olympic crown last year. Rohler has kicked on since, rising to second on the all-time list with a colossal 93.90m throw earlier this month.
Trinidad & Tobago thrower Keshorn Walcott previously won in 2012 with relatively moderate 84.58m and Vitezslav Vesely of Czech Republic won the following year in Moscow. This time round, however, all signs point to a much higher level in London.
Women: There looks to be a space to fill in the women’s javelin as world record-holder and 2012 Olympic champion Barbora Spotakova comes to the end of her years at the top.
London was the last time the world saw the best of Spotakova, and since then new champions have emerged. German Christina Obergfoll was first to pounce on gold in 2013 and then it was her compatriot Katharina Molitor’s turn in 2015.
Sara Kolak, 21, from Croatia was one of the shock winners in Rio, and South Africa’s Sunette Viljoen has been there or thereabouts during the previous Olympic cycle to suggest she’ll be placed highly come London. Spotakova even came away with bronze last year, hinting there’s still life in her yet at 35.
Men: 2016 didn’t go to plan for defending two-time world champion Pawel Fajdek who went to Rio as the overwhelming favourite, yet failed to qualify for the final.
Fajdek again leads the world this year as the only man beyond 80 metres and will enter London looking for his third World Championship gold. Barring another qualification mishap, he will be expected to add to his collection of titles.
Back in 2012 it was Krisztian Pars of Hungary who stood atop the podium, but at 35 and a seventh-placed finish in Rio, his powers appear to be on the wane. However, age isn’t necessarily a measure of quality in the men’s hammer as it was Tajikistan’s Dilshod Narazov, 12 years after his Olympic debut, who claimed glory last year in what was by some distance his best ever major championship showing.
Women: Preventing world record-holder Anita Wlodarczyk from climbing to the top of the podium in London appears to be a near-impossible job, given her tendency to break her own world records at with frightening regularity.
Wlodarczyk twice set world records in 2016, including one which secured her a second Olympic gold medal.
The Pole was champion last time in London and in 2015 too where she threw a championship record. Former world record-holder Betty Heidler, China’s silver medallist from Rio, Zhang Wenxiu, and Great Britain’s Sophie Hitchon appear most capable of mounting a challenge to Wlodarczyk, while American Gwen Barry has begun 2017 in strong form.
Tickets to the IAAF World Championships London 2017 are available at https://tickets.london2017athletics.com