Rio 2016: How the 100m record has got faster over time

Usain Bolts poses next to the scoreboard showing his 100m world record
Usain Bolt holds the 100m men's world record time of 9.58 seconds
Olympic Games on the BBC
Hosts: Rio de Janeiro Dates: 5-21 August Rio time: BST -4
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The 100m is arguably the Olympic Games' most iconic event.

A gold medal in the race gives an athlete global recognition. Breaking the world record over the distance ensures sporting immortality.

American Donald Lippincott and Czech Marie Mejzlikova were the first, with Jamaica's Usain Bolt and Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States the current holders of the crown.

Before the 2016 Games in Rio, at which Bolt and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will defend the 100m titles they won in London four years ago, BBC Sport presents a chronological history of world records in the event, showing each time it has been broken and when.

YearGenderNameCountryTimeInteresting Facts
2009MenUsain BoltJamaica9.58Continuing Jamaica's 100m dominance, two-time Olympic 100m gold medallist Bolt breaks the record twice in 2008 (including in the Beijing Olympic final) before clocking the fastest ever time in the World Championships final in Berlin.
2008MenUsain BoltJamaica9.69
2008Men Usain BoltJamaica9.72
2007MenAsafa PowellJamaica9.74
2005MenAsafa PowellJamaica9.77From 2005 until 2007, Powell dominates, clocking and then twice equalling a new record time before overcoming injury problems to improve it slightly at the IAAF Grand Prix in Rieti, Italy.
1999MenMaurice GreeneUnited States9.79
1996MenDonovan BaileyCanada9.84
1994MenLeroy BurrellUnited States9.85
1991MenCarl LewisUnited States9.86
1991MenLeroy BurrellUnited States9.90
1988MenCarl LewisUnited States9.92
1988In the men's 100m in Seoul - the most controversial race in athletics history - Canadian Ben Johnson has his gold medal-winning world record time of 9.79 rescinded after he fails a drug test.
1980sGreat Britain won Olympic 100m gold twice in 12 years, courtesy of Allan Wells and Linford Christie. Wells won in Moscow 1980 in a time of 10.25s before Christie triumphed in Barcelona when he clocked 9.96s.
1988WomenFlorence Griffith JoynerUnited States10.49Los Angeles-born Griffith Joyner knocks almost half a second off her pre-1988 best to set a new record at the US Olympic trials before going on to win gold at the Seoul Games. It remains the fastest ever by a female athlete.
1984WomenEvelyn AshfordUnited States10.76
1983MenCalvin SmithUnited States9.93
1983WomenEvelyn AshfordUnited States10.79
1983WomenMarlies GohrEast Germany10.81
1977WomenMarlies GohrEast Germany10.88
1977The IAAF decrees that all times must be recorded using fully automatic timing to the hundredth of a second
1976WomenAnnegret RichterWest Germany11.01
1976WomenInge HeltenWest Germany11.04
1972WomenRenate StecherEast Germany11.07
1968MenJim HinesUnited States9.95American Hines is the first to go under the 10-second barrier during the USA Track and Field Championships in Sacramento. In a meeting dubbed 'The Night of Speed', Hines' time is equalled by Ronnie Ray Smith and Charles Greene.
1968MenJim HinesUnited States9.9
1968WomenWyomia TyusUnited States11.08
1968The Mexico City Olympics are the first global track and field event to be held on a firm synthetic surface.
1965WomenIrena SzewinskaPoland11.1
1961WomenWilma RudolphUnited States11.2A year after becoming the first American woman athlete to win three track and field golds at one Olympics, Rudolph breaks the world record in Stuttgart.
1960MenArmin HaryWest Germany10.0
1956MenWillie WilliamsUnited States10.1
1955WomenShirley StricklandAustralia11.3
1952WomenMarjorie NelsonAustralia11.4
1948WomenFanny Blankers-KoenNetherlands11.5
1948Starting blocks and wind gauges are first used at an Olympic Games, in London.
1937WomenStanislawa WalasiewiczPoland11.6
1936MenJesse OwensUnited States10.2American Owens breaks the record in Chicago in June. Two months later he won four gold medals - including in the 100m - at the Berlin Olympics amid Nazi propaganda promoting 'Aryan superiority'.
1934WomenStanislawa WalasiewiczPoland11.7
1933WomenStanislawa WalasiewiczPoland11.8
1932WomenTollien SchuurmanNetherlands11.9
1930MenPercy WilliamsCanada10.3
1928WomenMyrtle CookCanada12.0
1928WomenKinue HitomiJapan12.2
1926WomenGundel WittmanGermany12.4
1922WomenMary LinesGreat Britain12.8
1922WomenMarie Mejzlikova IICzechoslovakia13.6The first recorded women's world record time is that set by Mejzlikova in Prague in her native Czechoslovakia.
1921Men Charles PaddockUnited States10.4
1912MenDonald LippincottUnited States10.6The IAAF starts identifying world records in 1912, with American Lippincott recording the first in his heat at the Olympics in Stockholm. He won bronze in the final.

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