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Hines to Bolt: Five of the greatest ever 100m Men’s Olympic finals

| 11.08.2016

The Olympics are fully up and running, cycling, swimming and well, you name it they’re doing it in Rio right now, but as the weekend rolls in, we draw nearer to the show everybody wants to watch – the 100m Men’s final.

Arguably the diamond in the athletics crown, the quadrennial hype over who will be titled the fastest man of earth is here once again.

Can Usain Bolt claim Gold for the third straight Olympics? Can anybody possibly stop him?

It may be over faster than the time it takes to read this sentence, but the 100m final has seen some epic sporting moments down the years.

We’ve reeled off five of the best…


The year Mexico City hosted the Olympics proved to be a watershed in 100m sprinting.

Before October’s finals, three men had finally ducked under the 10 second barrier at the US Outdoor Trials in an evening dubbed – the ‘Night of Speed’.

Jim Hines was one of those three men, and – aided by Mexico City’s high altitude – zipped through the field to claim the first Olympic 100m Gold with a time beginning in a 9.

The American’s time was officially recorded at 9.95 seconds, and it would be 1983 before his world record would be beaten.

Hines and 1968 opened the door for sub-10 second times,  and sprinters haven’t looked back since.


It remains one of the most controversial finals in Olympic history, and for that reason, plus the incredible level of competition, the 1988 final in Seoul makes our list.

Ben Johnson will forever be synonymous with that race, for all the wrong reasons.

The Canadian’s blistering run to Gold in 9.79 seconds – a world and Olympic record had it been clean – was stripped away two days later after a drugs test indicated steroid use.

Of the eight men who ran the final that day, six were implicated in drugs at some point in their careers.


Even 24 years later, this still stands as one of Britain’s finest Olympic moments.

Third in the final four years previously, Linford Christie had been bumped up to silver following Johnson’s DQ, and now, in Barcelona, was captain of the British charge in Spain.

And Christie didn’t disappoint, in a thrilling race that was only decided in the closing metres, Christie stormed home in 9.96 seconds to become only the third male Brit to win the showpiece final.


The year the wider world discovered Usain Bolt. He had the name, he had the swagger and boy, did he have the speed.

Having snatched the world record earlier in the year from Asafa Powell, Bolt showed the world his ability for the very first time in China’s Bird’s Nest stadium.

Seemingly at ease, Bolt smashed the word record once more to claim 100m Gold in 9.69 seconds.  Bolt was 0.2 seconds clear of second and third, who had each ran PBs. A new level of dominance had arrived.


If 2008 was the announcement of Usain Bolt to the world, then 2012 was the Jamaican’s consummate stamp of total dominance.

Having stunned the world again in 2009 with a still-unbeaten 9.58 at the World Championships, the whole world sat and wondered what Bolt could do at London’s Olympic Stadium.

The world wasn’t to be disappointed. A slow start handed others a brief glimmer of hope, but Bolt hauled them in, and cantered into the distance for the second Olympic 100m final in succession.

The time? An Olympic-smashing 9.63 seconds and his second-fastest run to date.

Ladbrokes is not an official sponsor of the Olympics and is in no way affiliated with any of the competing athletes, events or competitions being held in Rio de Janeiro this summer.



Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.