Sprinting at the Olympics
The 100m, 200m and 400m for both men and women are the three short distance races that are contested as part of the track and field events during the Olympics.
The 100m sprint is currently the most anticipated and the highest viewed event in the Olympics. The men's event has been a part of the games since the first 1896 and the women's event was added in 1928. Historically the Americans have dominated the event, but of late the Jamaicans have a strong hold on the event winning the men's and women's races in the last three Olympics (2008-2016).
Usain Bolt of Jamaica; who holds the current Olympic record at 9.63 seconds and Carl Lewis of the United States are the two most notable athletes for the event. Bolt won the gold three times straight (2008-2016). The current women's Olympic record is 10.62 seconds set by Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States in 1988 Seoul Games.
The event also has it fair share of controversies where athletes like Ben Johnson and Marion Jones were tested positive for doping.
The men's event 200m was added in 1900 and the women's event was added in 1948. Usain Bolt is again the most dominant performer in the men's event winning the last three Olympic gold medals from 2008 to 2016, and currently also holds the world record at 19.30 seconds. The women's Olympic record of 21.34 seconds was set by Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States in 1988 which is also the current world record.
The men's 400m event has been part of the games since the first Olympics in 1896 and the women's event was added in 1968. Michael Johnson of the United Stated is the most notable athlete for the event who won the gold medal twice and still holds the Olympic record of 43.49 seconds set in 1996 Atlanta Games.
- The 1904 200m race was run on a straight course.
- Ralph Craig of the USA was 23 when he won gold medals in the 100m and 200m sprints in 1912. He returned to Olympic competition at the 1948 Olympics to compete in the yachting competition.
- Charley Paddock, the American sprinter who won the 100m in 1920, died in a plane crash in 1943 while serving as a captain in the US Marines.
- Herb McKenley from Jamaica is the only man to have made the final round at the Olympics in all three sprints – 100, 200, and 400 (in 1948, 1952)
- In 1968, on the winning podium after the 200m race, Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a Black Power salute. The two were immediately suspended from the Games and deported from Mexico.
- In 1972, US sprinters Rey Robinson and Eddie Hart were favorites to win the 100m, however both failed to turn up for their quarter-final races because their coach was using an out of date schedule.
- Mala Sakonninhom of Laos recorded a time of 15.12 seconds in the women's 100m at Seoul 1988, about four and a half seconds slower than the winner of the final, Florence Griffith Joyner.
- In 1988, Canadian Ben Johnson beat Carl Lewis in the 100m race with a world-record time of 9.79. Shortly thereafter, he tested positive for steroid use and was stripped of his medal.
- In 1996, America's Michael Johnson won both the 200m and 400m races; Marie-José Perec from France did the same.
- In 2000, Michael Johnson defended his title in the 400m race.
- In 2008, Jamaican Usain Bolt became the first man to win gold in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m sprints. He repeated that effort in London 2012, becoming the first man ever to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting.
- More about the History of the Olympic 100m
- Hurdles at the Olympics
- About Track and Field at the Olympics
- 100m sprint videos
- progression of the 100m world record
- anthropometric measures of Olympic 100m champions
- The Greatest T&F Athletes at the Olympics.
- List of Olympic Sports