Counting down the top 10 Colorado athletes of the past decade (2010-’19) as chosen by The Denver Post sports department.

10. Emma Coburn: The Crested Butte native was a three-time NCAA champion distance runner at CU before winning the first-ever U.S. Olympic medal in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (2016, bronze). Coburn also took home gold in the same event at the World Championships in 2017 and broke an American record she had previously set.

9. Nikola Jokic: The Nuggets’ second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft blossomed into a centerpiece of the first Denver team to win an NBA playoff series in a decade. Jokic earned 2018 All-Star honors after averaging a double-double (20.1 points and 10.8 rebounds) with ultra-rare court vision and passing ability for a hefty 7-foot center.

8. Nathan MacKinnon: The Avalanche’s No. 1 overall NHL draft pick in 2013 instantly met expectations by winning rookie of the year honors. MacKinnon has been considered among the game’s best centers ever since, finishing runner-up in the 2018 Hart Trophy vote for league MVP. He is on pace this season to total more than 100 points for the first time in his career.

7. Christian McCaffrey: The former do-it-all Valor Christian football star broke several Colorado high school career records. As a Stanford sophomore, he garnered AP Player of the Year honors as a Heisman Trophy finalist. The Panthers drafted McCaffrey No. 8 overall in 2017 and he became just the third player in NFL history to record at least 1,500 yards rushing and 1,500 yards receiving over his first two seasons.

6. Nolan Arenado: The Rockies’ second-round pick in the 2009 MLB draft quickly developed into one of the league’s best defensive infielders. Arenado is one of only three third basemen in MLB history to win seven-or-more consecutive Gold Glove awards. He has also earned all-star appearances in each of the last five seasons.

5. Lindsey Vonn: The Vail-raised alpine skier has won more World Cup races (82) than any woman in history. Vonn also touts three Olympic medals, including downhill gold at the 2010 Vancouver games. She retired from competitive skiing in 2019 after a significant stretch of injuries hampered her career toward the end of the decade.

4. Von Miller: The Broncos’ No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft blossomed into one of the league’s all-time greatest pass rushers. Miller, MVP of Super Bowl 50, eclipsed 100 sacks in 121 games (including postseason play) — the fifth-fastest rate in history. His eight career Pro Bowl selections are tied for the most among active NFL players today.

3. Missy Franklin: The 17-year-old Regis Jesuit High School swimmer made her Olympic debut in 2012 and left London with five medals (four gold and one bronze). She then added another gold at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. In total, Franklin claimed 27 international medals before retiring from the sport in 2018 at age 23.

2. Peyton Manning: The former Colts quarterback revived his legendary career after neck surgery and at age 39 to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 title. Manning also earned NFL MVP honors in 2013 and set multiple career league passing records while in Denver. His record over four seasons with the Broncos (including postseason play): 50-15.

1. Mikaela Shiffrin: The Vail native is set to become the most accomplished alpine ski racer ever with 62 World Cup victories and a pair of Olympic gold medals at just 24 years old. Shiffrin’s 42 career slalom titles rank most among any skier, man or woman, in history. She is on pace to obliterate the all-time World Cup wins mark set by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark (86).



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