Usain Bolt Holds Longest-Standing Record 100-Meter Record in History

Jamaica’s legendary Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt is now the holder of the longest-standing record time in the history of the 100-meter event. Bolt’s record time of 9.58 seconds set in 2008 had not been broken for 14 years, eight months, and 22 days as of May 8, 2024.

World’s fastest man

With his sub-10 second time, Bolt broke the record set by American Jim Hines in 1968, who became the first man to run the distance in under 10 seconds, clocking 9.99 seconds with manual timing. Fully automatic timing was not applied until 1977. Hines’ record stood from 1968 until 1983 when Calvin Smith ran the 100 meters in 9.93 seconds. Bolt told an interviewer from World Athletics in December 2023 that he was not worried about his record being broken in the near future, and he expressed his enjoyment at being called the “fastest man ever.” Bolt set his record in May 2008 and broke it twice, once in August 2008 and in Berlin with the current record time of 9.58.

History of the 100-meter sprint

The men’s 100-meter race has been a part of the Summer Olympics since the first Games were held in 1896. Women sprinters first ran the race in 1928. The final of the 100 meters is one of the most popular sports events in the world. In 2016, 35 million people watched Bolt win the event at the Olympics. Winners of the 100 meters are known as the “fastest man/woman” in the world. The competitions are run under strict international rules established by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The first Olympic 100-meter gold medal winners were both from the United States. Thomas Burke clocked 12.0 seconds in the men’s event, and Betty Robinson finished the women’s race in 12.2 seconds. The US has had the most winners in the 100 meters at the Olympics, but in the past three stagings of the Games, Jamaica’s male and female athletes have dominated the event. Bolt won three consecutive 100-meter gold medals at the Games in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Jamaicans Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson also took home gold in the past three Olympics. The IAAF reports that the men’s world record has improved 12 times since 1968.

Potential challengers to Bolt’s record

Several runners are closing in on Bolt’s record, however. American sprinter Christian Coleman believes Bolt’s time will be surpassed soon added that “perfect conditions” – the right day, competition, and venue – would have to be in place before that happens. Among other sprinters ready to take on the challenge are Christian Coleman, Christian Miller, Noah Lyles, Tyson Gay, and Fred Kerley.

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