The men's track events every time proves just how far humans can push themselves; results that were unbeatable 20 years ago are smashed, and for every unbelievable performance, somewhere down the line, another will challenge to top it.
Will more legends be born and records be smashed this year?
That remains to be seen, but, for now, let us take a look back at the world records of the current Olympic track events.:
Record Holder:Usain Bolt, Jamaica
Time: 9.58 seconds
Set: August 16th, 2009 in Berlin, Germany
How: Exactly one year after Bolt set the Olympic and world record in the 2008 Olympics (9.69 seconds), everyone was excited to see if Bolt could match that time. He didn't match it -- he smashed it. Bolt shaved .11 seconds off his 100-meter run and ensured that he remained the fastest man on the planet.
Record Holder: Usain Bolt, Jamaica
Time: 19.19 secondsSet: August 20th, 2009 in Berlin, Germany
How: The story is the same for Usain Bolt. One year exactly from the day he crushed the world and Olympic records in the 2008 Olympics, Bolt showed that his 100-meter race was no fluke; he was an even faster man, a scary thought for all his competitors.
Record Holder:Michael Johnson, United States of America
Time: 43.18 secondsSet: August 26th, 1999 in Seville, Spain
How: Michael Johnson was the best of his day, holding multiple world and Olympic records when he once again showed off his speed by breaking the 400m world record. But Johnson wasn't impressed; after the race, he said if he wanted to, he could have broken the 43-second mark, but did not want to risk anything.
Record Holder:David Rudisha, Kenya
Time: 1:41.01Set: August 29th, 2010 in Rieti, Italy
How: Just a week earlier, Rudisha had broken the 13-year-old world record in Berlin, Germany. In that week, Rudisha shaved .08 seconds off his 800-meter run to become the world record holder. He is currently aiming to win his first Olympic medal at the 2012 Games.
Record Holder:Hicham El Guerrouj, Morocco
Time: 3:26.00Set: July 14th, 1998 in Rome, Italy
How: El Guerrouj had already won gold in the 1,500 meters race in two previous World Championships in 1995 and 1997, and his dominance continued, a true testament to his endurance. He set the world record in 1998, won silver in 2000, and gold in 2004, prompting many to call him the greatest middle-distance runner of all time.
Record Holder:Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia
Time: 12:37.35Set: May 31st, 2004 in Hengelo, Netherlands
How: Bekele fell behind early in the race, and even after capturing the No. 1 spot, was still behind the world record. But Bekele seemed to be getting faster as the race went on, and he gave it his all in the final lap to overcome his early deficit and set the world record.
Record Holder:Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia
Time: 26:17.53Set: August 26th, 2005 in Brussels, Belgium
How: Once again, Bekele did not seem to tire as the race went on. The 10,000-meter run -- the longest race in the Olympics -- pushes human endurance to the max, but Bekele simply added this world record to his resume by finishing as strong as he started.
110 Meter Hurdles
Record Holder:Dayron Robles, Cuba
Time: 12.87 secondsSet: June 12, 2008 in Ostrava, Czech Republic
How: Robles was in the race as Liu Xiang set the world record mark of 12.88 seconds in 2006, but finished fourth. Fast forward two years, and Robles was the one setting records, barely edging out Liu's record by .01 seconds.
400 Meter Hurdles
Record Holder:Kevin Young, United States of America
Time: 46.78 secondsSet: August 6th, 1992 in Barcelona, Spain
How: A walk-on to the UCLA track team, Young wasn't born with natural talent or discovered at an early age, but his world record has been standing for 20 years and counting, a true testament to his skill in the day and age of breaking records.
Record Holder:Patrick Makau, Kenya
Time: 2:03:38Set: September 25th, 2011 in Berlin, Germany
How: Makau was surprisingly consistent throughout his marathon, finishing only 10 seconds slower in the second half than in the first. He beat out former record-holder Haile Gebrselassie to become the fastest marathon runner in this trademark Olympic event.
Time: 37.04 secondsSet: September 4th, 2011 in Daegu, South Korea
How: Led by Usain Bolt and rising star Yohan Blake, Jamaica knew the only challenge it would have was beating its old record in 2008, when Asafa Powell ran instead of Blake. Blake proved to be up to the task of filling Powell's large shoes as he helped Jamaica set the world record in the 4x100 relay.
Record Holder:United States of America
Time: 2:43.29Set: August 22nd, 1993 in Stuttgart, Germany
How: Led by the legendary Michael Johnson, the United States set a world record in 1993 that has been untouched since. With some of the fastest runners in the world -- such as Bolt -- preferring the 4x100 relay, Johnson and the United States' record could be here to stay for a while.
Brian has been a long time fan of the Olympic Games and enjoyes a wide variety of events.
- Athletics, Track & Field
- Sports & Recreation
- Usain Bolt
- Michael Johnson
- Kenenisa Bekele
- world record