Best Sprinters of All Time

The Top Ten

Usain Bolt Usain St. Leo Bolt is a Jamaican sprinter. Regarded as the fastest person ever timed, he is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977. Along with his teammates, he also set the world record in the 4×100 metres more.

Yeah I can compare usain bolt to come other athletes as examples which would make sense and some things are like how bolt is one of the tallest sprinters ever he is taller than lots of nba players as well. 60 percent of his height comes from his legs which is a really fair deal 60 to 65 percent of your height coming from your legs can really make you take great strides they say the average stride length is 1.78 meters while you sprint usain bolt takes a 2.7 meter stride when he is at top speed 9 feet every step in the race pretty much. He takes strides that length mainly because of him being 6 foot 5 inches tall with long legs and from all that training he does and techniques that he has he is flexible enough to stretch his legs about 5 feet up and has great hops when he runs he keeps his head down at the start gets his head up at top speed running tall about 50 meters out running calm but strong. He pushes off with a thousand pounds of force off the ground weighs 207 lbs with good ...more

Usain bolt is tremendous he really is one of the best sprinters that is because he as such a large combination and balance of many different physical advantages like size, race, age, gender, and training. Race is a slight factor in fast twitch muscle fibers and also with gender and age being a black jamaican man with tons of training and proper technique makes him run faster. He is 6'5'' and 207 lbs being bulky like a weight lifter does not help in speed but being skinny like long distance runners is not does not help sprinters either. Having long legs is great but also some tall guys can not run that fast. Justin gatlin at true potential is about the same speed as usain bolt. Justin gatlins fastest official time is 9.64 in the 100m. Bolt 9.58 so that would put him 2 and a half feet ahead of gatlin in the race. It is so common for good athletes to come from anywhere but especially in certain places depending on the sport. For example jamaica, new york, california, have more gifted ...more

Usain Bolt ran 9.58 in 2009 at Berlin breaking the world record. He ran a 9.63 seconds at The Olympic Games. These are the results for the Berlin 2009 final:

1. Usain Bolt Lane 4 9.58 seconds
2. Tyson Gay Lane 5 9.71 seconds
3. Asafa Powell Lane 6 9.84 seconds
4. Daniel Bailey Lane 3 9.93 seconds
5. Richard Thompson Lane 8 9.93 seconds
6. Dwain Chambers Lane 1 10.00 seconds
7. Marc Burns Lane 2 10.00 seconds
8. Darvis Patton Lane 7 10.34 seconds

These are the results for the Olympics 2012 Final:
1. Usain Bolt 9.63 seconds
2. Yohan Blake 9.75 seconds
3. Justin Gaitlin 9.79 seconds
4. Ryan Bailey 9.88 seconds
5. Churandy Martina 9.94 seconds
6.Richard Thompson 9.98 seconds
7. Asafa Powell 11.99 seconds
8. Tyson Gay Disqualified

The world records are from Usain Bolt running 9.58 seconds followed by Yohan Blake and Tyson Gay running at 9.69 seconds.

You are very fast and I love running a lot. I am doing a project on you. My friend and I are doing a project to see who's faster you or Milkha Shingh. I can't determine right now who is faster but I hope you are faster and my friend is Indian so he want's Milkha Shingh to win this. I wonder if you play any other sports like, hockey, soccer. I bet you would be good at those sports it was nice talking with you my name is Ben I'm in grade 4 Mrs. Koebel's class. She is a very good teacher so I hope you like this talk next time you race can you vs Milcha Shingh I bet 2 billion Dollars (just kidding) you would win by a lot so I say bye.

Michael Johnson

Had it not been for a bug from food in Spain Johnson would have won golds in Barcelona too thus reigning supreme over 3 consecutive Olympics in both 200 and 400 and everything in between. Johnson won his races apparently strolling hardly breaking sweat unless he was pushing to beat his own record. He was just way head of anyone else and also ran with a shocking leaning back style.
Bolt clearly has a huge physical stature but Johnson's secret was and still remains amazingly a total mystery. Even super Bolt manages only a few centimetres ahead of Johnson when breaking Johnson's record. One can only imagine them racing side by side.

Michael Johnson holding both 200m and 400m makes him the greatest. Those are the two most difficult sprints. By the way, what is Dwain Chambers doing in the list?

Smashed the 200m and 400m world records, and still holds the 400m record 14 years later. Still has 12/20 of the best ever 400m times.

Broke the WR in the 200 by.34 after braking it by.06 just a few months earlier. One of my favorite athletes of all time

Tyson Gay

The second fastest man in history he is for me the best as he is also the first man in history to race in the the 400m under 45s 200m under 20s and 100m under 10s and he is the only man to ever beat bolt in a final.

He could've beat Usain Bolt on that one race if he had gotten a good start

Shouldn't be on this list due to being tested positive?

Has the American record in 100 and tied for second fastest all time. Indoor 200 Wr

Asafa Powell

Asafa powell is a amazing sprinter if you compare him with tyson gay and usain bolt they are the comparetities and the pressure is always on. They have a lot of potential of getting a medal I rio 2016

He is the most complete sprinter of all time. He has the best start and the best form. He just needs to believe in himself

Also shouldn't be on this list for testing positive?

Amazing Sprinter, sucks that he got injured in london.

Maurice Greene

He changed the sprinting style.

Please had a long carrer and produced some of the greatest preformances ever seen. Plus 9.81 in edmonton with injury could have gone sub 9.7, as well extremley consistent.

He ran 51 sub-ten sec races. The first man to run under 9.8.

Carl Lewis Frederick Carlton "Carl" Lewis is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold. His career spanned from 1979 to 1996, when he last won an Olympic event.

All sorts of things change with time; things that improve performances in general. I think the only way to compare athletes is by comparing how they performed against other athletes during the period they performed.
In 1980, Carl Lewis was ranked 8th in the world among sprinters in 100 meters. From that year through 1992 he was never ranked lower than third, and he didn't drop from the top 10 until 1995. That is 15 years in the top 10. Six times he ranked number 1.

Carl Lewis always will be remembered as the single most captivating sprinter the world of track & field has ever seen in the circuit of Olympic competition. He was consistent and versatile and always would win gold medals in his pursuits.

Absolutely! I always admired Michael Johnson running style as beautiful loved to see him run, and Husain bolt who left his opponents in his dust, but Carl Lewis and longevity his is the greatest sprinter so far.

Just my opinion. I'm sure others on here have stated good reasons why he is the best.

Allyson Felix

She is just amazing, her zeal in every race is worth admiring... she will be in my books the greatest sprinter we have seen even more than the male counterparts

Allyson Felix is the best sprinter the world has ever seen.

My favorite athlete of all time.

Milkha Singh

Hi Milkha. My friend and I are doing a project on Milkha vs Usain and I am Indian so I believe you could win. My friend thinks Usain Bolt is faster. He is doing it on him. Who really is faster? I am in grade 4 can you tell me your history of racing please. Thank you.

Personally for me Milkha Singh is a hero and an idol. A lot of things that put him down but he didn't give up and moved a long. He is the greatest athlete of all time.

I respect milkha Singh a lot. The main thing is that how he sacrifised a lot in his life and broke the world record of 400 metre and the way he took his body to extrem. I salute him

He may not be the greatest sprinter of all time but he is certainly the greatest sprinter of India of all time.

Dwain Chambers

9.87 PB... So you lot... Might as well shh. And being the best british sprinter at this moment, winning the British trials. Beat Harry aitkins, marlin devonish, Mark Lewis francis

Kept GB sprinting

Linford Christie

Dwain chambers can never match him or even beat him in a race because he's just one of the greatest british sprinters of all time. I believe dwain chambers should be at the bottom of the list because he's no role model after the drug ban

Linford Christie 1999 - tested positive?

The greatest if he had the same kind of running shoes and all the legal energy boosting foods supplements no comparison lol

The Contenders

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens is one of the greatest sprinters ever. What he accomplished at a time with very limited track technology and training is remarkable. If he had a modern weight training and dieting program, he could probably be a contender in the world first heat. The track that he used to run on is nothing compared to the modern track, which allows you to bounce off the surface much easier. He also didn't have modern racing shoes, which modern athletes take for granted. If Jesse Owens ran today, I would say he would be close to competing with Usain Bolt.

Greatness has many different definitions by various people / groups. It should not always be based on sprint times and lasting longevity. Owens performance in the 1936 Olympics is the single greatest event in Olympic History given the racists socialist Germans led by Hitler and the pressure put on him at the time.

Jesse ran on cinders and had no starting blocks or Steroids! He should be remembered as the greatest if not the fastest. He made Monkeys out of Hitlers "Supermen" in 1936 Olympics in the 100M, 200M and as a member of the 4 x 100M team! A real Man from humble beginnings.

Should be Tied Number ONE with Bolt, that he is this low means nobody knows who he is. The greatest 45 minutes in history and he did what he did in front of Hitler, hated at home, hated in Berlin. L E G E N D!

Yohan Blake

Is unreasonable that he is not in the top 3.
He run 2nd fastest 100m of all time tied up with Gay but he beats him due to the air conditions (Gay had a +2.0 while Blake had a -0.1).
He also run the 2nd fastest 200m of all time and rummors say that had he had the same start reaction as Bolt when he run the world record he would be the world record holder.
So... If Bolt never existed Blake would be the fastest man of all time. But he is not rude and fancy and that's why no one voted for him. That's sad...

Yohan blake is the 2nd greatest sprinter of all times behind usain bolt

Yohan Blake is the 2nd greatest sprinter I agre
Number 2 you here me!
Quality, top class
Yohan Blake!

Yohan is very shy and ran the second fastest 100 m with a lot of nerve issue!

Donovan Bailey

Remember when Donovan Bailey raced Michael Johnson head-to-head to prove who was the fastest, and Johnson faked an injury the instant he realized Bailey was going to win? Johnson (currently ranked #2) never won a race against Bailey.

Donovan Bailey was so strong, he injured Michael Johnson's motivation. LOL
The guy needs to be much higher!

Should be #2. Only 2 sprinters winning a gold medal since 84 haven't tested positive. Bailey and Bolt.

Lack of respect for the sport of sprinting when Donovan isn't even in the top ten,

Richard Thompsan

He is the MOST IDIOTIC athlete in the WORLD!.

Ben Johnson

The Seoul 88 final is one of the greatest and most compelling moments in sporting history, with Ben Johnson the star performer. He was magnificent, exploding out of the blocks, ahead of the field within the first second, leaving the rest trailing in his wake by 50m. Maybe he would be pegged back as the longer legged Lewis and Christie gathered momentum? Not a chance! Johnson kept going, like a bullet. The one fingered salute as he strode across the line was a pose befitting the magnificence of his win. He beat America's golden boy Lewis by a mile on the biggest stage of all. The stadium of circa 90,000 people screamed as he flew along the track in the blistering sunshine. A beautiful stage befitting an amazing moment in time. 9.79 in 1988 was phenomenal and on a par with Bolt's performance in Beijing 08. However Johnson had so many characteristics which made him such compelling viewing and an icon - characteristics which Bolt just hasn't got. The quiet bad guy attitude, the powerful ...more

Drug or no drugs, he was the first man to break the 9.80 barrier, His 9.79 time stood for 20 years. I don't know about you, but I couldn't run sub 12 even if you shot me with 10x the amount they were taking and swapped my blood out for a cheetah's. Who knows how fast he could have run. And imagine how fast he would run today, with the training, supplementation, and science athletes get today. He left the sport before his peak. I believe he had the ability to run a sub 9.60, given 5 more years of "Ben" training, putting him at 32 years of age, when men are considered at their peek in performance. Ben is hands down the fastest true sprinter, which to me is defined as the individual that moves his legs the fastest. Some people believe that the fastest time = the person the moves his/her legs the fastest, but that's not necessarily true. Take for example, Usain Bolt. He was born with a natural advantage for sprinting...height. at 6'5", his legs are naturally longer. Longer legs = longer ...more

B.J. was the sacrificial lamb for the dirtiest sport of them all. Carl Lewis & Flo - Jo were juiced but it was covered up because they were American. Neither should be recognized as Gold Medalists for that reason and Lewis also fouled out three times in Korea with lane violations! Money talks as always! Donovan Bailey destroyed Michael Johnson (who faked injury to bail out) at 150 m in a "world's Fastest Man" match and blew away the field in 100 m & 100 m relay in 1996 Olympics. Top three: U. Bolt; B. Johnson; D. Bailey.

Ben Johnson is the greatest, and most complete sprinter of all time. Unfortunately, he was caught doing what EVERY athlete does at the top level...

Justin Gatlin

Justin gatlin is amazing he ran an official 9.64 in the 100m sprint. He runs just about as fast as bolt he worked so hard in those years in the relays and sprints likely gatlin or Coleman could be the best in the 110m hurdles and usain bolt could be the fastest in also the 300m hurdles. Justin gatlin is from Brooklyn he is cool and strong has great technique usain bolt and gatlin can reach 28 mph.

He beat USA in bolt in a rac and beat his time by 13 seconds

Are you people crazy! He should be in the top 5

He deserves to be in the Top 15 at the very least

Wallace Spearman
Wayde van Niekerk

He crushed Michael Johnson's 400m world record and is the only human ever to run under 10 seconds in the 100m, under 20 seconds in the 200m, and under 44 seconds in the 400. in 4 years he will be second only to Usain Bolt.

For your information, he isn't the first man to go under 10s in 100m, the first man to go under 20s in 200m nor the first man to go under 44s in 400m. Don't listen to this dude who posted without fact checking his info.

No you misunderstand. He is the first person who's ever done all three. Johnson never ran a sub 10 100m. Bolt's never gone sub 44 in the 400m. Van Niekerk has run sub 10, sub 20 and sub 44. ALL THREE!

Wayde is the 1st and only to run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31, sub-44 (multiple times)
Also 1 of 2(him and Michael Johnson) to ever get medals in
200m and 400m in World Championships. Only 1 of 2(him and Michael Johnson)
to defend a 400m world title.

Bob Hayes

Not as fast consistently as Usain Bolt, but for one moment in time, he ran faster than any human being in history.
His anchor leg in the Olympic 4X100 relay cannot count for record consideration, but his speed near the finish line in that race exceeds even Bolt's best.
Various sources have his hand time for that leg at an inhuman 8.8 or 8.9.
If you watch the grainy black and white footage, it looks like he is literally rocket-propelled; getting the baton in last place, then making those other top-tier Olympic athletes look like elementary school kids.

Won 44 sprint finals before retiring from amateur track to play for the cowboys, ran the most incredible anchor org in the 400m final leading the USA to a huge victory after starting 3-4 meters back. In his early 30s with n track training beat Mel gray in his home town of sl running 4.3 with a starters gun and blocks daily a 4.2 or better. Look at the improvement I equipment, training year round and speed of tracks was anyone ever really better. It would be hard to prove Dennis Crnkovich



Possibly the fastest sprinter that ever lived.
His short lived career running on dirt and cinder tracks, training around his football schedule without any name coach, breaking the WR with gold metals and retiring before his prime would put him on the list as one of the fastest of all time.

In my opinion the 2nd fastest man of all time after Usain Bolt. He ran a 10.06 electronic time at 100m during the Tokyo Olympics which bettered the previous world record of 10.25, which is a huge gap. If he was around today in his prime then I don't think a mid-9.6 is out of possibility.

Bruce Jenner

Just as much right to be up their as any other athlete. Jenner may not have as much medals but he was in a time where the Russians were dominating the games. He was considered a hero.

Christophe Lemaitre

He is awesome best sprinter ever. It is well known that race gender age and other things depend on speed. Yeah it is a scientific fact that you have to be a certain age to be the fastest probably male gender to maybe not race. Any one of any race could be the best Christopher lemaitre is the fastest white man he is awesome. He is three inches shorter than bolt and has shorter legs for his size if he was the same size that would likely shave off his time at least down to 9.7 seconds in the 100 meter dash. Being as bulky makes a slight difference make that down to 9.7 or 9.6 if he was black I guess that would make a natural difference not much but some Girls and guys both run fast guys are slight better black guys naturally will have those certain muscles so maybe Chris would be getting at least around 9:58 seconds being African. But still not much of a difference and chord is really amazing he still hits top speeds like 27 mph.

He is the fastest white guy to ever live that is saying something he should be in the top 10

He is the fastest white man in the world

He beat Gatlin who beat Bolt week ago.
he is the current best european

Ato Boldon

Ato boldon was a very very good sprinter and underrated on this board particularly. He was m greenes training partner. they were very close throughout their careers.

Kirani James

He is the only athlete who came close to Michael Jhonson's 400m record at a young age.

He won the 400m at the London olympics at just 19!

Jesse Owen

He is one of the best athlete in the world he should be after usian bolt

he is good runner

Pietro Mennea

Are You kidding? He held the world record for 17 years!

The smallest but the greatest!

Nice to see Pietro on the list.

fast I guess

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