100 m (one hundred metres) is the shortest outdoor sprint race distance in athletics. The reigning 100 m Olympic champion is often named "the fastest man/woman in the world". The 200 m record had often been at a faster average speed than the 100 m record.
Sprinters typically reach top speed after somewhere between 50–60 m.Their speed then slows progressively towards the finish line. Maintaining that top speed for as long as possible is a primary focus of training for the 100 m.
In the past, athletes often competed over 100 yards (91.4 m) instead of 100 m, especially in the United States. This shorter distance is now obsolete. Indoor sprints are often run over 60 m (sometimes 50 m or 55 m) as few facilities have a 100 m indoor straight.
Major 100 m 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 twelve times since the introduction of electronic timing in 1968. The current men's world record of 9.58 s is held by Usain Bolt of Jamaica, set at the 2009 World Athletics Championships final on 16 August 2009, breaking his own previous world record by 0.11 s. The current women's world record of 10.49 s was set by Florence Griffith-Joyner of the USA, in Indianapolis, Indiana, on 16 July 1988.
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. In 2003, revelations of failed drug tests by sprinting legend Carl Lewis before the 1988 Seoul Olympics also put the validity of his achievements into question.
At the start, some athletes play psychological games such as trying to be last to the starting blocks, although direct intimidation would be considered unsportsmanlike. 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 0.1 s 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 to react to it.
For many years a sprinter was disqualified if responsible for two false starts individually. However, this rule allowed some major races to be restarted so many times that the sprinters started to lose focus. The current rule, introduced in February 2003, 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. In order to avoid such abuse, the IAAF will implement a change to the rule from the 2010 season, so that the first false starting athlete is immediately disqualified. This proposal was met with objections when first raised in 2005, on the grounds that it would not leave any room for innocent mistakes. Justin Gatlin commented, "Just a flinch or a leg cramp could cost you a year's worth of work.".
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 2.0 m/s is allowed for a 100 m 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. In theory, the thinner air would also make breathing slightly more difficult (due to the partial pressure of oxygen being lower), but this difference is negligible for sprint distances where all the oxygen needed for the short dash is already in the muscles and bloodstream when the race starts. While there are no limitations on altitude, performances made at altitudes greater than 1000 m above sea level are marked with an "A".
Updated 20 September 2009
|1||9.58||+0.9||Usain Bolt||Jamaica||16 August 2009||Berlin|
|2||9.69||+2.0||Tyson Gay||United States||20 September 2009||Shanghai|
|3||9.72||+0.2||Asafa Powell||Jamaica||2 September 2008||Lausanne|
|4||9.79||+0.1||Maurice Greene||United States||16 June 1999||Athens|
|5||9.84||+0.7||Donovan Bailey||Canada||27 July 1996||Atlanta|
|+0.2||Bruny Surin||Canada||22 August 1999||Seville|
|7||9.85||+1.2||Leroy Burrell||United States||6 July 1994||Lausanne|
|+0.6||Justin Gatlin||United States||22 August 2004||Athens|
|+1.7||Olusoji Fasuba||Nigeria||12 May 2006||Doha|
|10||9.86||+1.2||Carl Lewis||United States||25 August 1991||Tokyo|
|−0.4||Frankie Fredericks||Namibia||3 July 1996||Lausanne|
|+1.8||Ato Boldon||Trinidad and Tobago||19 April 1998||Walnut|
|+0.6||Francis Obikwelu||Portugal||22 August 2004||Athens|
Updated 20 September 2009
|1||10.49||0.0||Florence Griffith-Joyner||United States||16 July 1988||Indianapolis|
|2||10.64||+1.2||Carmelita Jeter||United States||20 September 2009||Shanghai|
|3||10.65||+1.1||Marion Jones||United States||12 September 1998||Johannesburg[A]|
|4||10.73||+0.1||Shelly-Ann Fraser||Jamaica||17 August 2009||Berlin|
|+2.0||Christine Arron||France||19 August 1998||Budapest|
|6||10.74||+1.3||Merlene Ottey||Jamaica||7 September 1996||Milan|
|7||10.75||+0.4||Kerron Stewart||Jamaica||10 July 2009||Rome|
|8||10.76||+1.7||Evelyn Ashford||United States||22 August 1984||Zürich|
|9||10.77||+0.9||Irina Privalova||Russia||6 July 1994||Lausanne|
|+0.7||Ivet Lalova||Bulgaria||19 June 2004||Plovdiv|
Updated 21 September 2009.
|Africa (records)||9.85||Olusoji Fasuba||Nigeria||10.90||Glory Alozie||Nigeria|
|Asia (records)||9.99||Samuel Francis||Qatar||10.79||Li Xuemei||China|
|Europe (records)||9.86||Francis Obikwelu||Portugal||10.73||Christine Arron||France|
|North, Central America
and Caribbean (records)
|9.58 WR||Usain Bolt||Jamaica||10.49 WR||Florence Griffith-Joyner||United States|
|Oceania (records)||9.93||Patrick Johnson||Australia||11.12[A]||Melinda Gainsford-Taylor||Australia|
|South America (records)||10.00[A]||Robson da Silva||Brazil||11.17[A]||Lucimar Aparecida de Moura||Brazil|