100m at the Olympics

The 100m men's Olympic sprint has been on all Olympic Games programs since the first Olympics in 1896, and has provided many highlights. The 100m men's Olympic sprint champion is hailed the fastest man on earth, and the world stops to watch it.

US athletes have won the Olympic 100m more times than any other country, 17 out of the 27 times that it has been run. There is only one athlete who has backed up and won the event more than once (other than Archie Hahn winning in 1906 for the second time), it is US sprinter Carl Lewis in 1984 and 1988.

Below is the timeline of the 100m winners, with some videos, images and stories that have made this event so interesting.

Year Winner Time (secs) Image Notes
1896 Tom Burke
(USA)
12

The first ever event of the Modern Olympic Games was the 1st heat of the 100m, held on 6 April 1896.

1900 Frank Jarvis
(USA)
11
1904 Archie Hahn
(USA)
11
1906 Archie Hahn
(USA)
11.2
1908 Reggie Walker
(SAF)
10.8 Walker was 19 years, 128 days when he won, making him the youngest ever winner of the Olympic 100m.
1912 Ralph Craig
(USA)
10.8 The winner Craig would not have won as under the current rules as he would have been disqualified for making several false starts to the race. Five of the 6 finalists were from the United States.
1920 Charles Paddock
(USA)
10.8 The winner Charley Paddock died in a plane crash in 1943 while serving as a captain in the US Marines.
1924 Harold Abrahams
(GBR)
10.6 100m 1988 Harold Abrahams was famously depicted in the movie Chariots of Fire, and became the first European winner of the 100m. See video.
1928 Percy Williams
(CAN)
10.8
1932 Eddie Tolan
(USA)
10.38 American Eddie Tolan won in a world record equalling time of 10.38 seconds. Second placed Ralph Metcalfe also from the US was given the same time.
1936 Jesse Owens
(USA)
10.3 100m 1936 jesse Owens

100m sprint final at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was won by American Jesse Owens. It was one of his 4 gold medals. See video.

1948 Harrison Dillard
(USA)
10.3 100m 1988 See video.
1952 Lindy Remigino
(USA)
10.4 100m 1988 It was a very close finish, the time given was 10.4 for the first four finishers and 10.5 for the fifth and sixth runners. Electronic timing gave Remigino 10.79. See video.
1956 Bobby Morrow
(USA)
10.5 100m 1988 Morrow also won gold in the 200m and 4x100m. See video.
1960 Armin Hary
(GER)
10.2 100m 1988 See video.
1964 Bob Hayes
(USA)
10 100m 1988 Hayes won easily. After his Olympic career he went on to play professional football with the Dallas Cowboys. See video.
1968 Jim Hines
(USA)
9.95 100m 1988 Jim Hines won gold in 9.95 seconds, the first legal time under 10 seconds using automatic timing. There were many fast times aided by the high altitude in Mexico City. See video.
1972 Valery Borzov
(URS)
10.14 100m 1988 See video.
1976 Hasely Crawford
(TRI)
10.06 100m 1988 Crawford beat Jamaican Don Quarrie by 1/100th of a second See video.
1980 Allan Wells
(GBR)
10.25 100m 1988 Wells won in a photo finish. The American led boycott of these Games resulted in many of the World's top sprinters not competing. See video.
1984 Carl Lewis
(USA)
9.99 100m 1988 The win by Lewis was one of his four gold medals in 1984, replicating the achievement of Jesse Owens in 1936. See video.
1988 Carl Lewis
(USA)
9.92 100m 1988

Ben Johnson was the initial winner in 9.79 seconds. He was very quickly stripped of his win after testing positive to performance enhancing drugs. Second in the race (eventual gold medalist) was Carl Lewis, making him a two time winner. See video.

1992 Linford Christie
(GBR)
9.96Olympic Games 100m sprint See video.
1996 Donovan Bailey
(CAN)
9.84 Olympic Games 100m sprint There were three false starts, two of them by defending champion Linford Christie, who was then disqualified. Bailey won in a world record. See video.
2000 Maurice Greene
(USA)
9.87 Olympic Games 100m sprint See video.
2004 Justin Gatlin
(USA)
9.85 Olympic Games 100m sprint Justin Gatlin won in a close finish. See video.
2008 Usain Bolt
(JAM)
9.69 100m Olympic final Winner Usain Bolt broke the world record with a time 9.69 seconds. See video.
2012 Usain Bolt
(JAM)
9.63 100m Olympic final Winner Usain Bolt won again, in an Olympic record 9.63s. It was the second fastest time in history (behind his WR). Seven runners crossed the line in under 10 seconds.
jesse owens at the Olympics in 1936Jesse Owens 1936 (credit: public domain)

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