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Olympic Games: what are the 100m and 200m track and field world records?

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will fancy her chances of breaking the Olympic record in Tokyo after a 10.63 in Kingston but Usain Bolt's legacy seems safe for now.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after winning the Men's 4 x 100m Relay Final on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cameron SpencerDIARIO AS

The 2020 Tokyo Games will see a new gold medallist crowned in the men’s 100m and 200m with the dominant figure in the sport over the past decade and a half, Usain Bolt, not among the competitors in an Olympic field for the first time since Beijing in 2008. The Jamaican great, unarguably the greatest sprinter of all time, won gold in both events in China, London and Rio to become the only athlete in history to complete the sprint double at three consecutive Games.

While Bolt’s Olympic crown will be passed to a new holder when the sprint finals take place on Sunday 1 August, his world and Olympic records are likely to remain intact for some time. The fastest man in history exploded into the public consciousness on the track at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, setting world and Olympic records in the 100m and 200m at 9.69 and 19.30 respectively, with neither run wind-assisted. As such, he took Michael Johnson’s world record of 19.32 set at the 1996 Olympics and nobody, including Bolt, has ever bettered that time.

Mr Lightning would go on to smash his own 100m world record a year later at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, setting a new mark of 9.58. The Olympic record, also belonging to Bolt, stands at 9.63 and was set at the 2012 London Olympics.

Tokyo 2020: 100m and 200m sprint contenders

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Kai PfaffenbachREUTERS

It will require the run of a lifetime for anyone to beat Bolt’s times at the Tokyo Games. Only two athletes among the top 10 fastest times recorded over 100m in history will line up in Tokyo. Four-time Olympic medallist Yohan Blake holds the joint second-fastest 100m of all time of 9.69, alongside Tyson Gay, but Bolt’s former relay teammate, now 31 and competing at his final Games, set that mark back in 2012 at a meet in Lausanne. Among the favourites for the title is US sprinter Trayvon Bromell, who ran a time of 9.77 in Florida last month, the fastest of the year heading into the Games. Christian Coleman, the reigning 100m world champion whose personal best stands at 9.76, is serving a ban for missed drugs tests.

Rio 2016 silver medallist Andre de Grasse (PB 9.9), France’s Jimmy Vicault, the fastest European-born sprinter of all time (PB 9.86), and South African continental record-holder Akani Simbine (PB 9.84) will all be expected to be on the start line for the 100m final.

In the 200m all eyes will be on Noah Lyles, who failed to qualify for the 100m and will aim to make up for that disappointment with victory in the longer format, in which he holds the world-leading time of 19.74.

Men’s Olympic and world 100m and 200m records

100m world: Usain Bolt (9.58)

100m Olympic: Usain Bolt (9.63)

200m world and Olympic: Usain Bolt (19.30)

Women’s 100m the big draw in Tokyo

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While the presence of Bolt has focused attention on the men’s 100m at the past three Games, there is a greater prospect of witnessing history in the women’s 100m final in Tokyo. The fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will be aiming to claim her third Olympic 100m title after winning in Beijing and London and the Jamaican will take some stopping after setting a pre-Games mark of 10.63 at the Jamaican Olympic Trials in Kingston on 5 June, 100th of a second shy of the Olympic record set by the peerless Florence Griffith-Joyner at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Fraser-Pryce will certainly have that record in mind when she lines up in Tokyo but much like Bolt’s 100m world mark, it will require something extraordinary to relieve the late Griffith-Joyner of her world record of 10.49 set in Indianapolis a couple of months before the Seoul Games.

Defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah - who beat Fraser-Pryce and Torie Bowie to Olympic gold in Rio in a time of 10.71 and completed the sprint double with 200m victory - and 2019 World silver medallist Dina Asher-Smith pose the greatest threats to Fraser-Pryce’s designs. Thompson-Hera is the first female sprinter since Griffith-Joyner to win the 100m-200m double and will not relinquish those crowns lightly.

Asher-Smith is the reigning 200m world champion and finished behind Fraser-Pryce in the 100m in Doha two years ago. Although her PB of 10.83 set in the Khalifa International Stadium may not have her Jamaican opponents overly concerned, Asher-Smith laid down a warning at a Diamond League meet in Gateshead earlier this summer by beating Fraser-Pryce and US sensation Sha’Carri Richardson to the line. Asher-Smith perhaps has her best shot at gold over 200m though.

In a blow to the most anticipated race of the Tokyo Games Richardson, who ran 10.72 to place sixth on the list of fastest times in history at the Miramar Invitational in Florida in April, will not be competing at the Olympics while she serves a 30-day suspension for marijuana use.

Women’s Olympic and world 100m and 200m records

100m world: Florence Griffith-Joyner (10.49)

100m Olympic: Florence Griffith-Joyner (10.62)

200m world and Olympic: Florence Griffith-Joyner (21:34)