The Chronicle -

Perspective - Historical notes on the 100- and 200-meter sprints:

A weekly report from Joey Blum of The Chronicle • [email protected]


January 9, 2020

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Are we faster than Jesse Owens was in 1936? Many track experts say improved track surfaces, better training and wind-resistant uniforms have resulted in faster times.

• The 100- and 200-meter men's races have been featured in the modern Olympics since the inaugural 1896 games. The women's races were added in 1928.

John Carlos, 1968 Olympic 200-meter bronze medalist, told me that humans have not really run any faster than did Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

In 1896 the winning men's time at the Olympics was 11.8 seconds. The first sub-10-second 100 meters was 9.95 seconds, run by American Jim Hines in 1968. In the 50 years since, the mark has been lowered in small increments and today Usain Bolt's 9.59 seconds, set in 2009, is best. No one,...

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