The International Athletics Foundation’s (IAF) primary mission is to provide charitable support to World Athletics and its affiliated national governing bodies in perpetuating the development and promotion of athletics worldwide.
Through its support of a variety of programmes and projects including educational, scientific, technical, promotional and social activities, the foundation strives to aid athletes, administrators, coaches, national athletics federations and others to practice all forms of athletics in the best of conditions.
With the kind personal support of His Serene Highness, Prince Albert II of Monaco, who also acts as the foundation’s honorary president, the foundation is especially interested in spreading the universal message of one of the purest of humankind’s sports, regardless of race, religion, colour or country of origin.
All foundation projects and programmes are administered by an Executive Committee and a Council whose decisions are implemented by a secretariat located in Monaco.
The current IAF Council is composed by:
• Honorary President: HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco
• President: Sebastian Coe
• Vice-President: Arne Ljungqvist
• Members of the Executive Committee: Prince Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud, Bernard Fautrier, Jose Maria Odriozola
• Members of the Council: Bernard Amsalem, Sergey Bubka, Nawal El Moutawakel, Roberto Gesta de Melo, Yvonne Mullins, Donna Raynor
The IAF also has five Honorary Members: Ollan Cassel, Lou Dapeng, Amadeo Francis, Giovanna Nebiolo, Maurice Nicholas, Jung Ki Park.
The General Secretary of the foundation is Pierre Weiss.
Since its creation, the IAF has sponsored more than 300 projects, investing more than 30 million dollars in the promotion and the development of athletics worldwide.
Foundation projects include educational courses, seminars and conferences to promote a better knowledge of the sport of athletics as well as to better understand its past, present and future. Activities also include exhibitions of a social, scientific and technical nature in order to continually expand the horizons of the sport and those responsible for administering it. Where possible, the foundation also exceptionally assists deserving athletes, students and federations in realising their full potential where conditions would otherwise not permit.
Established by World Athletics in 1986 thanks to the dynamic vision of the late president, Primo Nebiolo, the foundation was formally inaugurated in Monaco following a ministerial decree by the minister of State of Monaco on 28 November 1986.
Sebastian Coe has led the foundation since the Council Meeting in December 2016.
From 1987 until 2014, the IAF, together with World Athletics, organised the Galas, a commemoration celebrating the world’s greatest athletes of past and present. During this evening, the male and female Athletes of the Year were named. Other special awards included Rising Stars, President's Award, Coaching Achievement and Women's Award. The ceremonies were presided over by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the World Athletics President.
Since 2016, these Galas have been replaced by the World Athletics Awards, organised by World Athletics.
World Athletes of the Year
1988 Carl Lewis (USA) – Florence Griffith-Joyner (USA)
1989 Roger Kingdom (USA) – Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB)
1990 Steve Backley (GBR) – Merlene Ottey (JAM)
1991 Carl Lewis (USA) – Katrin Krabbe (GER)
1992 Kevin Young (USA) – Heike Henkel (GER)
1993 Colin Jackson (GBR) – Sally Gunnell (GBR)
1994 Noureddine Morceli (ALG) – Jackie Joyner-Kersee (USA)
1995 Jonathan Edwards (GBR) – Gwen Torrence (USA)
1996 Michael Johnson (USA) – Svetlana Masterkova (RUS)
1997 Wilson Kipketer (DEN) – Marion Jones (USA)
1998 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) – Marion Jones (USA)
1999 Michael Johnson (USA) – Gabriela Szabo (ROM)
2000 Jan Zelezny (CZE)
2001 Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) – Stacy Dragila (USA)
2002 Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) – Paula Radcliffe (GBR)
2003 Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) – Hestrie Cloete (RSA)
2004 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)
2005 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)
2006 Asafa Powell (JAM) – Sanya Richards (USA)
2007 Tyson Gay (USA) – Meseret Defar (ETH)
2008 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Yelena Isinbayeva (RUS)
2009 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Sanya Richards (USA)
2010 David Rudisha (KEN) – Blanka Vlasic (CRO)
2011 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Sally Pearson (AUS)
2012 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Allyson Felix (USA)
2013 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (JAM)
2014 Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) – Valerie Adams (NZL)
2015 Ashton Eaton (USA) – Genzebe Dibaba (ETH)
2016 Usain Bolt (JAM) – Almaz Ayana (ETH)
2017 Mutaz Essa Barshim (QAT) – Nafissatou Thiam (BEL)
2018 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) – Caterine Ibarguen (COL)
2019 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) - Dalilah Muhammad (USA)