Month: August 2017
8 Olympic Gold medals, 11 Gold World Championship medals, 8 Jamaican National Championships, 10 World Records broken, “9.58” Current World Record in the 100 meter dash, “19.19” current World Record in the 200 meter dash. The list of his accomplishments are too long to show, but the way he did it is what makes his legacy so special. Aside from the video game times he has put up year after year, Usain Bolt brought something to track & field the sport never saw, and quite frankly the sport needed. Before he arrived on the seen the sport had never seen an athlete with his bravado, size (6’5 inches), showmanship, and box office appeal. Track and Field needed that one athlete who could be confident in their abilities , and then go onto the track to put up times that we have never seen, so we can say “This can’t be real.”, “Who is this guy?”, “HE MUST BE DOPING.”. The last comment leads me to the most important aspect of Bolt’s legacy. His career has been absolutely clean. Let’s face it after what he did in the 100 meter dash in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, we all thought that no human being can run away from the worlds best sprinters like that, but he did. If you look at the top 20 times of all time in the 100 meter dash, Usain Bolt is the only athlete to not have tested positive for PEDs, simply amazing. With the sport having a dark shadow of drug use, to have track & field’s best athlete to be drug free has made the people who don’t follow the sport always find a television when he is racing. The interest of the sport has risen in the past 10 years with more elite athletes to come, and all of this is thanks to him. Bolt never backed down from the challenge, in fact he embraced it. Every season, every major championship he was willing to test his ability to surpass what he had did the previous year. He kept he fans wanting more and asking does he have any limits. We can’t help but to think, if he had run through the line in Beijing. The record could easily be 9.55, or faster. 6- time IAAF World Athlete of the year, 4-Time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for an athlete that may be the closest thing to Muhammad Ali as far as charisma. When an athlete sets foot on the track for a race whether it be sprinting or long distance, the nerves are hard to maintain everything is running through you mind. Usain Bolt is the first athlete we saw to jokingly just enjoy the moment and just “keep it light” he didn’t let the moment wear him down, and that is what we will remember about the entire experience. Yes, the races and times speak for themselves, but pre-race was part of the show as well. The crowd screaming for him no matter if he was in Europe, or North America. The custom made spikes from Puma, and the pose that has cultivated sports. The sport of track & field needed a Michael Jordan figure on and off the track, not just for the performances, but for his personality. The 3-time BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award(tied for the most with Muhammed Ali & Roger Federer) reminded everyone that athletics is an individual sport and that you alone must control your brand, and the way fans with gravitate towards you.
Usain Bolt’s records are what fans will always remember, but taking a deeper dive into the statistics shows just how consistent he was at running world best times. Bolt holds the top 3 fastest times of all-time. He ran 9.58 in Berlin, 9.63 in London, and 9.69 in Beijing, but what’s more impressive is that 3 of his top 4 performances in the 100 meter dash were world records, and the other is an Olympic record.
The king of the 200 meter dash has done the same at that distance. He was known to be more of an 200 meter runner early in his career. Bolt still holds the world under-18 200 meter dash record of 20.13 , and the world under-20 200 meter dash record of 19.93. Bolt was just as dominant in the 200 meter dash, he holds 5 of the top 10 200 meter dash times ever.
Even though his sprinting days are over, we certainly hope the his legacy off the track will be as successful as on the track. This past spring he played a good part in the Nitro Athletics track meeting in Melbourne, Australia. He knows what the sport needs to move forward, and I certainly hope he can provide the same excitement he need while competing.
All- Pro Track & Field
10. Asafa Powell- Asafa Powell has went sub-10 in the 100 meter dash more than any other sprinter in history. He is approaching a milestone of 100 times. The consistency, strength, and mindset to do this is amazing. Powell is an 5-time world championship medalist(2 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze). He was apart of the Jamaican 4×100 relay team to win the gold medal in the Rio Olympics. His time of 9.72 in the 100 meter dash ranks #4 on the all time list.
9. Yohan Blake- His fundamentals are great in every aspect. Blake has the #2 all time 100 meter dash time of 9.69 and 200 meter dash time of 19.26. He is also an 4-time Olympic medalist, with two gold medals, and 2 silver medals. He was apart of the Jamaican 4×100 relay team that broke the world record with a time of 36.84 at the 2012 London Olympic games. At those same games he took home the silver medal in the 100m and 200m respectively. In 2011, Blake won two gold medals at the 2011 world championships, by winning the gold medal in the 100 meter dash, and teaming with his Jamaican teammates to win the 4×100 meter relay in World Record time.
8. Wayde Van Niekerk- Many fans may say that having him ranked #8 all time of sprinters is a bit pre-mature, but we have good reasoning. His versatility is what sets him apart, Van Niekerk has gone Sub-10 9.94, Sub-20 19.84, Sub-31 30.81(World record), and Sub-44 43.03(World Record). He won the gold medal at the 2015 world championships in Beijing for the 400 meter dash, and then put on the performance of a lifetime at the 2016 Rio Olympic games in the 400 meter dash, breaking the world record previously held by Michael Johnson, and winning the gold medal in the event. In the 2017 world championships Van Niekerk took home the gold medal in the 400 meter dash, and the silver medal in the 200 meter dash. There is a possibility that he can become the first sprinter to go Sub-43, which would be astonishing, In 8 -10 years we may say the Wayde Van Niekerk is the best sprinter of all time, but time will tell.
7. Donovan Bailey- Bailey started his dominance in the sport at the 1995 world championships in Gothenburg where he won the 100 meter dash, and teamed up with his Canadian teammates to win gold in the 4×100 relay. At the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia Bailey broke the world record in the 100 meter dash with a time of 9.84 to win gold. At 1997 world championships in Athens,Greece he took the silver medal in the 100 meter dash and once again teamed with teammates to win gold in the 4×100 relay.
6. Justin Gatlin- Gatlin’s has been running consistently great outdoor times since his college days at The University of Tennessee, Gatlin started his dominance at the 2004 Athens Olympics games where he won the gold medal in the 100 meter dash. He would follow that up the next year at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki winning gold in the 100 meter dash & the 200 meter dash. Gatlin is an 5- time Olympic medalist ( 1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze), 8-time outdoor world championship medalist (3 gold & 5 silver), and a 2-time world indoor championship medalist winning gold in the 60 meter dash at the 2003 championships in Birmingham, England , and the 2012 championships in Istanbul. His time of 9.74 in the 100 meter dash ranks #5 all time. Gatlin’s most impressive performance of his career came in the 2017 world championship 100 meter dash final. With 60,000 fans booing him at the London Olympic Stadium, everyone expecting Usain Bolt to win his last race, Gatlin pulled off the upset winning the race, and the best win of his career.
5. Maurice Greene- From the Mid 90’s to the mid 2000’s Maurice Greene was the face of track & field. His reign started at the 1997 world championships in Athens, Greece with him winning the gold medal in the 100 meter dash. Greene went on to win three straight 100 meter dash titles at the world championships in 1997, 1999, and 2001. At the 1999 world championships in Seville, Greene won the sprinting triple crown, winning the 100m,200m, and teaming with USA in the 4×100 relay. All of his 5 medals in the world championships are gold, he is an 4-time Olympic medalist (2 gold,1 silver, 1 bronze). At the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, Australia he won the gold medal in the 100 meter dash and also teamed to win gold in the 4×100 relay.
All Pro Track & Field’s Mount Rushmore of Sprinting
4. Carl Lewis- If we are speaking of overall events in track & field, Carl Lewis is the greatest track & field athlete of all-time, in my opinion. The mere fact that he went to 4 straight Olympic games to win the gold medal in the long jump is a streak that will be around for a long time, but this list is about sprinting. Lewis is an 10-time Olympic medalist (9 gold & 1 silver). He also is an 10-time world championship medalist( 8 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze). Of the 10 medals at the Olympics, he won 2 each in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and 4×100 relay. Of his 10 medals at the world championships, he won three gold medals in the 100 meter dash, 3 golds teaming on the USA 4×100 relay, and took home the silver medal in the 200 meter dash at the 1993 Stuttgart world championships.
3. Jesse Owens- 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist. He won gold the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, long jump, and teamed with team USA to win the 4×100 relay at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. These feats are great, but the stand that he take to not only take the trip to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, but to compete and not just compete, but to put on the best Olympic performance in history is something that will never be duplicated in Track & Field Olympic history.
2. Michael Johnson- Perfection in track and field at the championship level is something that is very rare. Why do most fans have Michael Jordan listed at the greatest basketball player of all-time, because he is 6-0 in NBA Finals. Michael Johnson is a 4-time Olympic medalist and a 8-time world championship medalist. Every medal he has won at the world championships and Olympic games is an gold medal. Johnson is an combined 12-0 in championship finals ( Olympic & World Championship). His performance at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics would set the bar for track & field for the next 20 years, and made him a legend in the sport. If there is an world championship or Olympic final in the 200m, or 400 meter it will be difficult to pick any other sprinter in their prime than Michael Johnson.
There has been a lot of debate on what females are the best sprinters to ever lace up spikes. Here at All Pro Track & Field we did a deep dive into history on what qualifies you as great, and what should rank you in the top echelon forever in Athletics. Below is All Pro Track & Field’s Female top 10 Sprinters of All Time.
10. Sonya Richards-Ross- Her time of 48.70 in the Women’s 400 Meter dash still stands as a National Record in the USA. Richards-Ross has 4 Olympic medals; 3 Gold and 1 Bronze also 7 World championship medals ( 5 Gold, 2 Silver).
9. Merlene Ottey- Although she never struck gold at the Olympics, Merelene has an impressive 9 Olympic medals which is tied for the most with Allyson Felix, she has 3 silver Medals and 6 bronze Medals. What’s more impressive is that she has 14 World championship outdoor medals(3 Gold,4 Silver, and 7 Bronze), also 7 World indoor championship medals (3Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze). Merlene Ottey’s longevity is a reason she is an all time great.
8. Carmelita Jeter- The second fastest woman in history in the 100 meter dahs is listed next. Jeter, sped to an tremendous 10.64 September 20th 2009 in Shanghai, China which registers as the second fastest 100 meter dash of all time. She was also apart of the 2012 4×100 relay team that won the gold medal and broke the World Record. Jeter has 3 Olympic medals (1 Gold, 1Silver, 1 Bronze) along with 7 World championship outdoor medals ( 3 Gold, 1 Silver, 3 Bronze).
7. Wyomia Tyus- As a teenager Tyus won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, she would also team up to get a silver medal in the 4×100 relay. She would defend her Olympic title in the 100 meter dash at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. She would also help her team win gold in the 4×100 relay in those same Olympic games. Winning back to back titles in the 100 meter dash at the Olympics definitely cemented her legacy.
6. Veronica Campbell-Brown- You can make a legitimate argument that Campbell-Brown is the best 200 meter dash runner of all time, during the mid 2000’s she was dominant over this distance. She took home Olympic gold medals at the 2004 & 2008 Olympics in Athens, Greece & Beijing, China. Campbell-Brown has a total of 8 Olympic medals (3 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze), 11 World championship medals (3 Gold, 7 Silver, 1 Bronze), and also 2 gold Indoor World championship medals, both in the 60 meter dash.
5. Florence Griffith-Joyner- “Flo-Jo” transcendent the sport, her 10.49 in the 100 meter dash , and 21.34 in the 200 meter dash are still World Records today in 2017. At the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Japan she had a performance for the ages winning gold in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, and teaming up to win gold in the 4×100 relay, and getting the silver medal being apart of the 4x400m relay. Griffith-Joyner broke the 200 meter dash World Record twice at the Seoul Olympics, once in the semi-final 21.56 again in the final 21.34. Her records in the 100 meter dash & 200 meter dash may be around for another 5 years or so.
4. Wilma Rudolph- Rudolph stole the show at the 1960 Rome Olympics. She completed the historic sprint triple winning gold in the 100 meter dash , 200 meter dash, and being apart of the 4×100 relay team. She was the first American women to win three Olympic gold medals in one single Olympic games.
3. Allyson Felix- Her accomplishments in Athletics have been outstanding. She is tied for the most Olympic medals of all time for a female Track & Field athlete with 9 total medals (6 Gold, 3Silver). Her world championship career has been dominant to say the least Allyson Felix has a record 16 world championship medals with 11 gold medals, 4 silver, and 1 bronze. Felix won back to back to back 200 meter crown’s at the world championships from 2005-2009. Felix displayed her versatility at the 2015 world championships in Beijing, China. Having already stamping her legacy in the 200 meter dash, Felix won the gold medal in the 400 meter dash with a personal best 49.26 Allyson Felix may not be done yet, and could climb to the top of this list.
2. Shelly-Ann Fraser- Pryce – The Queen of block starts, Fraser-Pryce is a 6-time Olympic medalist(2 Gold, 3 Silver, 1 Bronze). She captured gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 100 meter dash then defended her title in the 2012 London Olympics. What’s more impressive to us is her dominance at the World championship level. She is a 9-time outdoor World championship medalist, 7 of those medals are gold the other 2 silver. Diving into the numbers, Fraser-Pryce won 3 of those gold medals in the 100 meter dash in 2009, 2013, and 2015 respectively. In 2013 at the Moscow, Russia she completed the trifecta winning gold in the 100m,200m and 4x100m relay. Adding to her span of dominance from 2008-2015 she won the gold medal at the 2014 World indoor championships in Sopot in the 60 meter dash. Fraser-Pryce’s dominance in those eight years is something the sport has never seen in our opinion, and that puts her as one of the best of all time.