From Phantis
Jump to navigation Jump to search

100 m (one hundred metres) is the shortest outdoor sprint race distance in athletics. The reigning 100m Olympic champion is often named "the fastest man/woman in the world".

On an outdoor 400m running track, the 100m is run on the home straight, the start being set on an extension to make it a straight-line race. Illegal drug use has been seen by some people as a means to gain a competitive edge; in particular, the scandal at the 1988 Summer Olympics when the winner, Ben Johnson, was stripped of his medal.

Record performances

Major 100m races, such as at the Olympic Games, attract much attention, particularly when the world record is thought to be within reach.

The men's world record has been improved upon eleven times since the introduction of electronic timing in 1968, never being surpassed by more than 0.05s at a time. The current men's world record of 9.58s is held by Usain Bolt of Jamaica, set in Berlin on August 16, 2009. The current women's world record of 10.49s belongs to Florence Griffith-Joyner, set in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 16, 1988.

Due to the progression of record times compared to longer distances, the downward march of the 100m record has been criticized as more a measure of technological advances than athletic greatness.[1]


At the start, some athletes play psychological games such as trying to be last to the starting blocks, although direct intimidation would be considered unsporting. The starter will keep the sprinters in the set position for an unpredictable time of around two seconds and then fire the starting gun.

The time between the gun and first kick against the starting block is measured electronically, via sensors built in the gun and the blocks. A reaction time less than 0.1s is considered a false start. The 0.1-second interval accounts for the sum of the time it takes for the sound of the starter's pistol to reach the runners' ears, and the time it takes for a human to react to it.

For many years a sprinter was disqualified if responsible for two false starts individually. However, this rule was allowing some major races to be restarted so many times that the sprinters started to lose focus. The new rule is that, after one false start, anyone responsible for a subsequent false start is disqualified immediately. This rule has led to some sprinters deliberately false-starting to gain a psychological advantage: an individual with a slower reaction time might false-start, forcing the faster starters to wait and be sure of hearing the gun for the subsequent start, thereby losing some of their advantage.

Climatic conditions

Climatic conditions are a crucial factor for good performances in the 100 m. Air resistance is the primary climatic factor in sprint performances. A strong head wind is very detrimental to performance, while a tail wind can improve performances significantly. For this reason, a maximum tail wind of 2.0m/s is allowed for a 100m performance to be considered eligible for records, or "wind legal". Furthermore, sprint athletes perform better at high altitudes because of the thinner air, which provides less air resistance. While there are no limitations on altitude, performances made at altitudes greater than 1000 m above sea level are marked with an "A".[2]

Fastest 100 metres runners

Top 10 all-time athletes — men

Updated May 16, 2020

Rank Time Wind (m/s) Athlete Country Date Place
1 9.58 +0.9 Usain Bolt Jamaica August 16, 2009 Berlin
2 9.69 +2.0 Tyson Gay United States September 20, 2009 Shanghai
−0.1 Yohan Blake Jamaica August 23, 2012 Lausanne
4 9.72 +0.2 Asafa Powell Jamaica September 2, 2008 Lausanne
5 9.74 +0.9 Justin Gatlin United States May 15 2015 Doha
6 9.76 +0.6 Christian Coleman United States September 28, 2019 Doha
7 9.78 +0.9 Nesta Carter Jamaica August 29, 2010 Rieti
8 9.79 +0.1 Maurice Greene United States June 16, 1999 Athens
9 9.80 +1.3 Steve Mullings Jamaica June 4, 2011 Eugene
10 9.82 +1.7 Richard Thompson Trinidad and Tobago June 21, 2014 Port of Spain


  • Usain Bolt's 9.63 in London on August 5, 2012 is currently the Olympic record.
  • Justin Gatlin ran 9.77 in Doha on May 12, 2006, which was at the time ratified as a world record. However, the performance was annulled in 2007 after he failed a doping test in April 2006.
  • Ben Johnson ran 9.79 at Seoul on September 24, 1988, but he was disqualified after he tested positive for stanozolol after the race. He subsequently admitted to drug use between 1981 and 1988, and his time of 9.83 in Rome on August 30, 1987 was invalidated. Carl Lewis's 9.92 in the Seoul race was therefore recognized as the world record, and his two prior runs of 9.93 were seen as having equalled the previous world record.
  • Tim Montgomery's time (9.78 in Paris on September 14, 2002) was invalidated following his indictment in the BALCO scandal on drug use and drug trafficking charges. The time had stood as the world record until Asafa Powell first ran 9.77.

Top 10 all-time athletes — women

Updated May 16, 2020

Rank Tjime Wind (m/s) Athlete Nation Date Location
1 10.49 0.0 Florence Griffith-Joyner United States July 16, 1988 Indianapolis
2 10.64 +1.2 Carmelita Jeter United States September 20, 2009 Shanghai
3 10.65 +1.1 (A) Marion Jones United States September 12, 1998 Johannesburg
4 10.70 +0.6 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Jamaica June 29, 2012 Kingston
+0.3 Elaine Thompson Jamaica July 1, 2016 Kingston
6 10.73 +2.0 Christine Arron France August 19, 1998 Budapest
7 10.74 +1.3 Merlene Ottey Jamaica September 7, 1996 Milan
+1.0 English Gardner United States July 3, 2016 Eugene
9 10.75 +0.4 Kerron Stewart Jamaica July 10, 2009 Rome
+1.6 Sha'Carri Richardson United States June 8, 2019 Austin


  • Florence Griffith-Joyner's 10.62 in Seoul on September 24, 1988 is currently the Olympic record.

The 100m in Greece

The Greek record in the 100 metres currently stands at 10.11, set on August 2, 1997 by Angelos Pavlakakis. The women's record stands at 10.83, achieved by Katerina Thanou on August 22, 1999 in Sevilla, Spain.

Male Athletes

Female Athletes


  1. [http://www.slate.com/id/2174851 McClelland, Ted World's Fastest Sham Sports Nut column, Slate, 2007-09-27]
  2. 100 metres IAAF


External links

A portion of content for this article is credited to Wikipedia. Content under GNU Free Documentation License(GFDL)