Top 10 Best Sprinters of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Usain Bolt Usain St Leo Bolt is a Jamaican retired sprinter, widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. He is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay... read more

His dominance speaks for itself. Jesse Owens got 4 gold medals in one Olympics, but he did only one Olympics. Bolt has done 2 so far with 6 medals and looks set to get 3 in Rio. Carl Lewis also got 4 medals in one Olympics but was not able to repeat in the 200 meters - which Bolt did. Carl Lewis did not break as many world records as Bolt has already done - three alone in Beijing, 2 more in the 2009 Berlin World Championships, 4 by 100 meters record in Daegu in 2011, and a new record in the 4 by 100 in London 2012.

In addition, Bolt is quite simply more popular than Carl Lewis, who is not as comfortable around regular people - fans or not. Lewis is easily irritated by the press and simply has not made as much money as Bolt. Although the American sprinter Bob Hayes was in many ways the best 'raw and physically intimidating' sprinter ever to run the 100 meters, he did one Olympics and then fizzled away. Bolt has done 2 Olympics and is still around preparing for a third.

2 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 three consecutive Olympics in both the 200 and 400 and everything in between. Johnson won his races apparently strolling, hardly breaking a sweat unless he was pushing to beat his own record. He was just way ahead 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 centimeters ahead of Johnson when breaking Johnson's record. One can only imagine them racing side by side.

3 Tyson Gay

Tyson Gay is faster than Michael Johnson. Watch out for Tyson Gay in Rio de Janeiro.

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

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

4 Asafa Powell

Asafa Powell is an amazing sprinter. If you compare him with Tyson Gay and Usain Bolt, they are the competitors, and the pressure is always on. They have a lot of potential to get a medal in 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.

Amazing sprinter. It's unfortunate that he got injured in London.

5 Maurice Greene

He changed the sprinting style.

6 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 the 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 will always 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, always winning gold medals in his pursuits.

7 Allyson Felix

She is just amazing. Her zeal in every race is worth admiring. She will be in my books as 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.

8 Milkha Singh

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

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

I respect Milkha Singh a lot. The main thing is that he sacrificed a lot in his life and broke the world record of 400 meters. The way he took his body to the extreme... I salute him.

9 Dwain Chambers

9.87 personal best. So you lot might as well shh. And being the best British sprinter at this moment, winning the British trials, he beat Harry Aitkins, Marlin Devonish, and Mark Lewis-Francis.

10 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.

The Contenders
11 Jesse Owens James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980) was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games.Owens specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in... read more

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 modern weight training and dieting program, he could probably be a contender in the world's 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.

12 Yohan Blake

It's unreasonable that he is not in the top 3. He ran the second-fastest 100m of all time, tied with Gay, but he beats him due to the air conditions (Gay had a +2.0 while Blake had a -0.1). He also ran the second-fastest 200m of all time, and rumors say that had he had the same start reaction as Bolt when he ran 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 second greatest sprinter. I agree. Number 2, you hear me! Quality, top class. Yohan Blake!

13 Donovan Bailey

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

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

Should be higher than Michael Johnson because he beat him in Toronto!

14 Richard Thompson
15 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 squat muscular look, the thrilling rivalry and bad feeling with Lewis (even better than the Prost-Senna rivalry in F1), the all-red kit of Canada, and the ability to perform under the most incredible pressure. He and Lewis made that the golden era of 100m. How I miss characters like that in sport.

And yes, there is the matter of the steroids, but that moment in time in 1988 was so magnificent, I can't let the drugs cloud my judgment. I'm sure they were all doing it, and he still annihilated them. If Bolt is clean in today's world, then he's magnificent, and I can't fault him as an athlete. But never in my lifetime will anyone ever give me 10 seconds of sheer sporting wonder like Ben did in '88.

16 Justin Gatlin

It's well stated that he's in the top ten for the 100m, but it should be said that he has the second-best top speed ever, which is 29 mph. He went 27.8 in a 9.7 race, which is right up there. But he also once hit 9.45 in an advertisement where windmills blew at him, but experts said no wind puts him at 9.64. So, he has the second-best 100m and top speed - he hit 0.77 on a 10m split.

It turns out Bolt went faster than 27.8 in his 9.58 PR and also hit 29 mph. There are 10 people who beat 28 mph, including Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay, and Asafa Powell. There are 100 people who ran 27 mph, 2000 people who ran 25 mph, and 20000 people who get over 23 mph under 11.5 seconds.

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 the 300m hurdles. Justin Gatlin is from Brooklyn. He is cool and strong and has great technique. Usain Bolt and Gatlin can reach 28 mph.

17 Wallace Spearmon
18 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 400m. In four years, he will be second only to Usain Bolt.

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

Wayde is the first and only to run sub-10, sub-20, sub-31, sub-44 (multiple times). Also, he's one of two, along with Michael Johnson, to ever get medals in the 200m and 400m in World Championships. He's the only one of two, along with Michael Johnson, to defend a 400m world title.

19 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.

20 Bruce Jenner

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

21 Christophe Lemaitre

He is the fastest white man to ever live. That is saying something. He should be in the top ten.

22 Ato Boldon
23 Kirani James

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

24 Pietro Mennea

Underrated. He was the first athlete capable of winning two medals in the Olympic 200m (after him: Lewis, Bolt, and De Grasse) and the only one who reached four Olympic finals in this race. In this race, he held the world record for 17 years and still holds the European record for 43 years. He deserves to be at least in the top 15, just like his main challenger in the era, Valery Borzov.

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

The smallest but the greatest!

25 Don Quarrie
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