The 100m sprint
Some may disagree but the 100m sprint is often regarded as the Main Event of every track and field competition. The extra cool factor is that the record holder also bears the unofficial title of – “the fastest man in the world”. The 100m sprint or dash is believed to originate from the ancient Greek Olympics event called the Stadion. The Stadion was the main event of the ancient Greek Olympics. Actually from 776 to 724 BC it was the ONLY event. So the winner would actually win the entire Olympic games! Later on Stadion was a part of the Pentathlon. Pentathlon included: discus throw, javelin throw, wrestling, long jump and of course the Stadion.
Stadion was very different than the modern 100m sprint. Runners would start from a standing position and the track length was actually 180 meters. Since Stadion was such a great event we even know the first winner and the first man to bear the title of “the fastest man in the world”. It was Coroebus of Elis and the year was 776 BC.
The modern Olympics got the 100m sprint in 1896. at the very first modern Olympic games. The winner was Thomas Burke USA. His time was 12.2 seconds.
Of course, 100m sprint is not only an event on Olympic games but also on various track and field competitions. In fact the current world record ran by Jamaican Usain Bolt is set at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin.
To cut strait to the chase we present you the 100m sprint world record progression:
Men’s 100 m sprint progression table:
|10.8||Luther Cary, USA||Paris, France, July 4, 1891|
|10.6||Knut Lindberg, SWE||Gothenburg, Sweden, August 26, 1906|
|10.5||Emil Ketterer, GER||Karlsruhe, Germany, July 9, 1911|
|10.6||Donald Lippincott, USA||Stockholm, Sweden, July 6, 1912|
|10.4||Charlie Paddock, USA||Redlands, USA, April 23, 1921|
|10.3||Percy Williams, CAN||Toronto, Canada, August 9, 1930|
|10.2||Jesse Owens, USA||Chicago, USA, June 20, 1936|
|10.1||Willie Williams, USA||Berlin, Germany, August 3, 1956|
|10.0||Armin Hary, W GER||Zürich, Switzerland, June 21, 1960|
|9.9||Jim Hines, USA||Sacramento, USA, June 20, 1968|
IAAF 1977 – introducing fully automatic timing
|9.93||Calvin Smith, USA||Colorado Springs, USA, July 3, 1983|
|9.83||Ben Johnson, CAN||Rome, Italy, August 30, 1987||* rescinded|
|9.92||Carl Lewis, USA||Seoul, South Korea, September 24, 1988|
|9.90||Leroy Burrell, USA||New York, USA, June 14, 1991|
|9.86||Carl Lewis, USA||Tokyo, Japan, August 25, 1991|
|9.85||Leroy Burrell, USA||Lausanne, Switzerland, July 6, 1994|
|9.84||Donovan Bailey, CAN||Atlanta, USA, July 27, 1996|
|9.79||Maurice Greene, USA||Athens, Greece, June 16, 1999|
|9.78||Tim Montgomery, USA||Paris, France, September 14, 2002||* rescinded|
|9.77||Asafa Powell, JAM||Athens, Greece, June 14, 2005|
|9.74||Asafa Powell, JAM||Rieti, Italy, September 9, 2007|
|9.72||Usain Bolt, JAM||New York, USA, May 31, 2008|
|9.62||Usain Bolt, JAM||Beijing, China, August 16, 2008||*Olympic Record|
|9.58||Usain Bolt, JAM||Berlin, Germany, August 16, 2009||* current WR|
* – several other athletes ran the same time as athletes in this table. However we included only the ones that ran the time first.
If we look at the progressions we can see that it took more than a hundred years to reduce the time by one single second. (Luther Cary ran 10.8 sec in 1891 – Carl Lewis ran 9.86 sec in 1991). The current record holder Usain Bolt already cut that down by 0.3 seconds. So the current World Record 100m sprint time is now at an amazing 9.58 seconds.
On the next page – Women’s 100m sprint records and history