No track and field event captures the attention of sports fans everywhere quite like the 100-meter dash. It is typically one of the most watched events at the Summer Olympics.
The winner of this event earns the right to be called the fastest man or fastest woman in the world. World records set in these races -- like the one Usain Bolt established on Sunday, Aug. 5 -- are part of what gives the 100m its enduring thrill.
These 10 men's 100-meter races rank as the best or most notable in Olympic history:
1. Bolt races into history, 2012 London: Usain Bolt made a case for being considered the all-time greatest sprinter with his victory in the 100m on Sunday. For the second consecutive Olympics, he shattered the previous Olympic record in the event. Bolt won in 9.63 seconds to beat his record of 9.69 set four years earlier in Beijing. He has now run the three fastest times for the 100m on record.
2. Owens defies Hitler, 1936 Berlin: Jesse Owens foiled the grand plans of Adolf Hitler to use the Olympics as a Nazi political statement by winning the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and 4x100 relay. Owens' quartet of victories forever changed the sports landscape and paved the way for the record-breaking efforts of modern sprinters like Bolt.
3. Bolt sets world record, 2008 Beijing: The world was introduced to Bolt when he obliterated the 12-year world record in the 100 meter. The Jamaican sprinter won in 9.69 to claim his first gold medal.
4. Gatlin wins fantastic finish, 2004 Athens: There are few races in any sport that can match the hotly contested finish for the 100-meter gold medal in Athens. Justin Gatlin became the most recent U.S. sprinter to finish atop the podium when he crossed the line in 9.85 seconds. Just .04 seconds separated Gatlin from fourth-place finisher Shawn Crawford.
5. Lewis mirrors Owens, 1984 Los Angeles: Carl Lewis put himself in the Olympic record books when he matched Owens' short-distance sweep decades later in Los Angeles. Lewis won the 100 meter, 200 meter, long jump and 4x100 relay. He would later repeat as the long jump gold medalist in 1988, 1992 and 1996. Lewis also repeated as the 100-meter gold medalist in 1988.
6. Bailey enters record books, 1996 Atlanta: Donovan Bailey held the world record in the 100 meter for 12 years before Bolt came onto the scene. Bailey set the mark in Atlanta when he finished in 9.84 seconds to beat Frank Fredericks by .05 seconds for the gold medal.
7. Hines breaks the barrier, 1968 Mexico City: Jim Hines will forever be remembered as the first modern athlete to break the 10-second barrier. Hines posted a final time of 9.95 seconds to win a gold medal in Mexico. His world record stood for 15 years until broken by Calvin Smith.
8. Johnson stripped of gold, 1988 Seoul: Ben Johnson shed light on doping problems in track and field when he bested Lewis for the gold medal at Seoul. Johnson ran a world record time of 9.79 seconds. It changed three days later when Johnson tested positive for steroids. He was stripped of his medal and Lewis repeated as champion.
9. Greene for Gold, 2000 Sydney: Maurice Greene set a world record for the 100 meter a year before running in Sydney with a time of 9.79 seconds. Greene was the favorite in 2000 and he did not disappoint. He won the event with a time of 9.87 seconds to claim his only gold medal in the 100 meter.
10. Christie defies age, 1992 Barcelona: Linford Christie became the third British sprinter to win a gold medal in the 100 meter when he won at Barcelona with a time of 9.96 seconds. The most notable part of his victory was that Christie won at 32 years old -- an age when most sprinters are past their prime. He became the oldest 100-meter Olympic champion by four years.
All the above times can be found on the IAAF home page.
John Coon has covered multiple Olympic sports as a reporter in Salt Lake City. He considers the Summer Olympics to be one of his favorite sporting events.