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Six men beat 10 seconds
men's final :: Tokyo 1991
Statistically, this was the greatest 100m of all time. For the first and only time in history, six men broke the magical 10-second barrier in one race. Carl Lewis, in the best form of a wonderful career, smashed the old world record by 0.04secs to set a new mark of 9.86secs, coming through in the last 20m after trailing at halfway.

Former record-holder Leroy Burrell set a new personal best of 9.88secs, while Linford Christie, who slashed his European record by 0.05secs to 9.92secs finished only fourth.

The Brit even talked of retirement, baffled that he could run faster than at any time in his life and fail to win a medal. Even the times of the fifth and sixth men bear comparison to the best today - Frankie Fredericks clocked 9.95secs, while Ray Stewart ran 9.96secs.

To add to the drama, two sobering facts emerged in the days that followed.

Third-placed American Dennis Mitchell was revealed to have recorded a reaction time off the blocks of 0.09secs, under the 0.10secs false start limit set for the automatic recall of athletes. By that yardstick the race should have been called back. Then the Tokyo track was shown to be harder than IAAF rules allowed, giving the sprinters another illegal advantage.

No matter. The times - and the records - stood.

Carl Lewis takes 100m gold - and the world record
Lewis takes gold - and the world record
Golden Moment Video
100m Records -
World record:
9.79secs Maurice Greene
Championship record:
9.80secs Maurice Greene
World record:
10.49secs Florence Griffith-Joyner
Championship record:
10.70secs Marion Jones
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