Warholm's performance is considered one of the greatest Olympic track performances of all time, while Thompson-Herah took the women's award for achieving the sprint double at a second consecutive Olympics.
Norwegian 400m hurdler Karsten Warholm and Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named the World Athletes of the Year.
Warholm received the award for smashing the 29-year-old world record in winning the Tokyo Olympics final in a sensational time of 45.94 second.
His performance is widely considered one of the greatest Olympic track performances of all time.
Presenting the award at a virtual ceremony in Monaco on Wednesday, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: "We were rendered speechless by your run."
Warholm, 25, said: "I'm so happy for this. When I first saw the time I thought it must be a mistake. It was a very intense race, I always go out hard and never know what's going on behind me."
Thompson-Herah took the women's award for achieving the sprint double at a second consecutive Olympics.
Thompson-Herah beat fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to the 100m gold in Tokyo and held off 18-year-old Namibian revelation Christine Mboma to retain her 200m title, repeating the double she had won at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In addition to her Olympic triumphs, she also clocked 10.54 sec and 21.53 sec over 100m and 200m respectively to move to second on the world all-time lists behind the late Florence Griffith Joyner.
"I just take it year by year, I think I have more," she told World Athletics president Sebastian Coe on receipt of her award in Monaco.
"I went very close to the world record, so anything is possible. There will be no hanging up of the spikes yet."
Athing Mu, the 19-year-old American who was an impressive winner of the women's 800m Olympic title, was named the Female Rising Star.
Erriyon Knighton, the American sprinter who at just 17 years old finished fourth in the men's 200m final in Tokyo, won the equivalent men's award.