The Top 10 Male Sprinters of All-Time…The only list that matters

On August 25, 2017 by All-Pro Track & Field Founder

“Meeting Areva au stade de France à Paris 2015” by Citzen59 CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

“Yohan Blake” by Nick Webb CC BY 2.0

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.

“Meeting Areva au stade de France à Paris 2015” by Citzen59 CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

“Justin Gatlin (USA) before Semi Final of 100m in Lodon 2017” by Marco Verch CC BY 2.0

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.

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All Pro Track & Field’s Mount Rushmore of Sprinting

“Carl Lewis” by Doha Stadium Plus Qatar CC BY 2.0

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.

“Michael Johnson” by Jimmy Harris CC BY 2.0

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.

“Usain Bolt nach seinem letzten Rennen in London 2017 “ by  Marco Verch CC BY 2.0

  1. Usain Bolt- ALI, JORDAN, RUTH, BRADY……..BOLT!!! Like these legends when we say his name we know exactly who he is , and what he did in his respective sport to re-write history. In last year’s Rio Olympics he completed the unprecedented unimaginable triple triple in the 100 meter dash & 200 meter dash, and 4×100 relay in the Olympics. Bolt currently holds  World Records on the 100 meter dash 9.58 & the 200 meter dash 19.19. Bolt is a 14-time world championship medalist(11 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze), 8-time Olympic gold medalist!!! That’s correct he is undefeated 8-0  in Olympic final races. It’s hard to pinpoint what performance is his best, but I will say his 2009 world championship appearance in Berlin was my favorite. The speculation was what his encore was going to be after the Beijing Olympics. Bolt broke his own 100 meter & 200 meter dash world records with times you would see in video games.  His world records and resume’ in Athletics will stand for a long time. Usain Bolt = G.OA.T.