The 100-meter sprint race at the London Olympics could well see another name added to the history books with a faster time than has ever been seen. The track is fast, with early times coming in showing speed.
Here are the ten fastest women in Olympic history prior to 2012:
10. Annegret Richter, 1976, 11.08, FRG
Richter won the gold medal at the Montreal Games in 1976 for West Germany. The Olympics are most remembered for the perfect 10 earned by gymnast Nadia Comaneci. It was remarkable, but Montreal saw many great performances, including Richter's 100m gold.
9. Renate Stecher, 1972, 11.07, GDR
The East German sprinter was one one-hundredth of a second faster than her West German counterpart was four years later. Stecher set the 11.07 mark in the Munich Games. Here's video of her in the 1971 European championships.
8. Lyudmila Kondratyeva, 1980, 11.06, URS
The 1980 Moscow Games were marred by the ill-advised boycott led by the United States. The Games still saw a fast run in the women's 100m. Still, like the two already mentioned, Kondratyeva's time wasn't an Olympic record. The record time of 11.0 was set in 1960.
7. Wyomia Tyus, 1968, 11.0, USA
When the American sprinter made her run, times weren't yet kept to the one one- hundredth of a second standard. She tied the Olympic record set by countrywoman Wilma Rudolph eight years prior. She won gold in 1964 as well, running an 11.4.
6. Wilma Rudolph, 1960, 11.0, USA
In the Rome Games, Rudolph smoked through the run in a time that would stand for more than 20 years of Olympic Games. Here's a grainy black-and-white video of her run.
5. Evelyn Ashford, 1984, 10.97, USA
The bad decision for the United States to boycott the 1980 Moscow Games was followed by the equally bad choice the Soviet Union made to skip the Los Angeles Games of 1984. Still, the women's 100m saw the first Olympic time under 11.0.
4. Yulia Nesterenko, 2004, 10.93, BLR
It was at the very next Games that a woman ran faster in the Olympics than Ashford did in Los Angeles. That run will be coming up. The next fastest time after Ashford's happened in 2004, when Belorussian Nestrenko blazed a 10.93.
3. Gail Devers, 1992, 10.82, USA
It was the first gold medal she would pick up, winning one in each of the two next Olympic Games as well. Devers was also famous for her nails, which were usually outrageously long. She battled Graves disease throughout her career, overcoming it and winning gold.
2. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 2008, 10.78, JAM
The Jamaican speedster is the defending gold medal champion and will be vying for another in London. Will the fast track give her, or another runner, a time faster than the long-standing Olympic record? She currently has the best mark of the year, with a 10.70.
1. Florence Griffith-Joyner, 1988, 10,54, USA
There's only one Olympic record, and it's stood since 1988. When "Flo Jo" ran in Seoul, the world saw the fastest woman ever, a title that may stand for decades. Unfortunately, she died unexpectedly of natural causes in 1998 at the age of 38.
Jeff Musall is a lifelong fan on the incredible competitions and wide variety of sporting contests of the Olympic Games. In a perfect world, they would take place every year, and would be the only forum nations fought in.
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- Athletics, Track & Field
- Annegret Richter
- Wilma Rudolph