How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (2024)

By Joe Ward,Lazaro Gamio,Larry Buchanan,Jeremy White,Bedel Saget,Weiyi Cai,Jon Huang,Emily Rhyne,Tessa Barton,Alexandre Devaux,Or Fleisher,Niko Koppel,Mark McKeague and Peter Whidden

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (1)

Doug Mills/The New York Times

TOKYO — There is now a successor to Usain Bolt. Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy ran a 9.80-second 100 meters to win the gold medal on Sunday night at Tokyo Olympic Stadium. It marked the first time since 2004 that anyone other than Bolt, who retired in 2017, has been the Olympic champion in the men’s event.

Who was fastest at each meter

Fastest

Slowest

25

50

75

100

4th

Simbine

9.93

1st

Jacobs

9.80

Hughes

DQ

2nd

Kerley

9.84

6th

Su

9.98

5th

Baker

9.95

Adegoke

DNF

3rd

de Grasse

9.89

Note: Zharnel Hughes was disqualified, and Enoch Adegoke did not finish.·The New York Times

Without Bolt, it was a wide-open race: Nearly everyone in the starting blocks had a shot at victory. A false start caused Zharnel Hughes of Britain to be disqualified, and Enoch Adegoke of Nigeria did not finish; the remaining six competitors all clocked times under 10 seconds.

Fred Kerley of the United States won silver, four-hundredths of a second behind Jacobs, and Andre de Grasse of Canada (9:89) won bronze, as he did in Rio. All three of the top finishers achieved personal best times.

Speed during the entire race

Jacobs

26.76m.p.h.
at 72 meters

22.93m.p.h.

Kerley

26.29m.p.h.
at 66 meters

22.84m.p.h.

de Grasse

26.59m.p.h.
at 68 meters

22.73m.p.h.

Simbine

26.53m.p.h.
at 74 meters

22.56m.p.h.

Baker

26.14m.p.h.
at 66 meters

22.53m.p.h.

Su

26.10m.p.h.
at 66 meters

22.54m.p.h.

Jacobs’s time was 0.17 seconds off Bolt’s Olympic record of 9.63 that he set in London in 2012, and 0.22 seconds off Bolt’s world record of 9.58 that he set in 2009. The last European to win gold in the 100 was Britain’s Linford Christie in Barcelona in 1992. (Jacobs, who was born in Texas to an Italian mother, ran for Italy.)

Speed throughout the race

Each line is the smoothed average of a runner’s readings.

091827m.p.h.0meters255075100

Jacobs

The New York Times

Explosive start for Kerley

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (2)

Runners' positions at four moments in first few seconds of the race

Jacobs

Kerley

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (3)

Runners' positions at

four moments in first

few seconds of the race

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (4)

Runners’ positions at

four moments in first few

seconds of the race

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (5)

Runners' positions at three moments

in first few seconds of the race

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

Composite image by Jeremy White

Kerley blasted out of the blocks faster than any of the runners, reacting with a time of 0.128 seconds. Jacobs’s reaction time was 0.161, the second slowest of the seven starters. During the acceleration phase, the first 30 meters or so, Kerley was holding off the pack.

Speed during first 25 meters

091827m.p.h.0meters510152025

Jacobs

Kerley

Section detail

Jacobs gains ground

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (6)

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (7)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (8)

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (9)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

Composite image by Jeremy White

Jacobs erased his early deficit in a hurry, then stayed just behind Kerley through the second 25 meters. Jacobs was running faster than anyone at this point in the race. But Kerley had been a 400-meter runner until switching over to the 100 this year. Specialists in the 400 often make great finishers in the 100, so Kerley appeared to be in good shape.

Speed from meters 25 to 50

2324252627m.p.h.25meters3035404550

Jacobs

Kerley

Section detail

Jacobs reaches 26.76 m.p.h.

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (10)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (11)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (12)

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (13)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

Composite image by Jeremy White

But Jacobs increased his speed and drew even with Kerley midway through the race — and looked strong. His peak speed was 26.76 m.p.h. Jacobs, a former Italian long jump champion, had set an Italian 100-meter record in May, at 9.95, and then ran 9.94 in the heats here. He would need to run faster than he ever had over the last 50 meters if he wanted to win. In Lane 8, Adegoke pulled up with an apparent leg injury.

Speed from meters 50 to 75

2324252627m.p.h.50meters5560657075

Jacobs

Kerley

Section detail

A gold, and a personal best, for Jacobs

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (14)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (15)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (16)

Jacobs

Jacobs

Kerley

Kerley

de Grasse

de Grasse

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (17)

Jacobs

Kerley

de Grasse

Composite image by Jeremy White

In the final meters, Kerley could not hold off Jacobs, who was running the race of his life. With about five meters to go, it looked as if either runner could claim the gold. Kerley was running faster than Jacobs at this point. Both runners leaned hard into the finish line.

When the results were posted, Jacobs had raced more than a tenth of a second faster than he ever had before, setting a personal best and claiming both a gold medal and the unofficial title of the fastest man in the world.

Speed from meters 75 to 100

2324252627m.p.h.75meters80859095100

Jacobs

Kerley

Section detail

Methodology

The Times recorded the position of every runner in a sequence of more than 100 photographs taken every five-hundredths of a second to determine the speed of each athlete throughout the race. Speeds were calculated by combining the positions of the athletes with timestamp information from the images.

Correction:

Aug. 1, 2021

A chart in this article showing the runners ranked by speed throughout the race depicted incorrect standings for some runners at several points. It has been updated.

How the World’s Fastest Men Battled for Gold in 10 Seconds (Published 2021) (2024)

FAQs

Who is the fastest man in the world 2021? ›

Trayvon BROMELL

What happened to the Italian sprinter? ›

ROME (AP) — The guy who won the biggest race in the Olympics now lives in relative obscurity inside a gated community in Florida. Hardly anybody recognizes him. Nobody bothers him. And that suits Marcell Jacobs just fine after dealing with the chaos that surrounded his every move back home in Italy.

What is Usain Bolt's record? ›

The athlete Usain Bolt does not need an introduction. He is recognized all over the world for his sporting achievements. He is the winner of eight Olympic gold medals and is the world record holder in the 100 m (9.58 s), 200 m (19.19 s), and 4 × 100 m relay (36.84 s).

Who is the fastest man in the Olympics? ›

There's only one man to answer that: the current holder of both records, the eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt. Despite having been retired from athletics since 2017, the Jamaican still holds the title of "the world's fastest man": 9.58 seconds in the 100m and 19.19 seconds in the 200m.

Who is the fastest man alive in mph? ›

Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter is the fastest human alive, our reality's version of the Flash. He set a world record in 2009 at the 100 meter sprint at 9.58 seconds. His top speed was 27 mph.

Who is the 2 fastest man in the world? ›

Yohan Blake

On number 2 in our list of Top 10 fastest runners in the world is Yohan Blake . Yohan Blake is once again a famous sprinter from Jamaica. He used to play in both 100 m and 200 m format. Yohan currently holds the record for completing the 100m dash in 9.69 seconds.

Is Mbappe faster than Usain Bolt? ›

While Mbappe is rapid in football circles, Bolt's 100m record of 9.58 seconds appears set to stand the test of time. He is now 37 years of age, and well into retirement away from the track, but added with a smile when asked if he would still emerge triumphant in a race with Mbappe: “Yes, I can beat him.”

Is Usain Bolt still the fastest man in the world? ›

The Jamaican holds the current world record for the race, standing at 9.58 seconds, but his 15-year tenure as the fastest man in the world may be in danger of coming to an end.

Who is the fastest recorded man running? ›

Usain St. Leo Bolt OJ CD OLY (/ˈjuːseɪn/; born 21 August 1986) is a retired Jamaican sprinter, widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. He is the world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 4 × 100 metres relay.

Who is the fastest man in all time? ›

Adjusted or not, Usain Bolt's World Record 9.58 from the '09 World Champs remains history's fastest 100. Adj. Pos.

Who is the 1st fastest man? ›

Usain St. Leo Bolt OJ CD OLY (/ˈjuːseɪn/; born 21 August 1986) is a retired Jamaican sprinter, widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. He is the world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 4 × 100 metres relay.

Who is the real fastest man? ›

Join me on an incredible journey as I meet Usain Bolt, the king of speed and my childhood idol. Witness the thrill of encountering the legendary Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, in person. Don't miss out on this unforgettable experience!

Who is the top fastest man alive? ›

Filter All Time Top Lists
RankMarkCompetitor
19.58Usain BOLT
29.69Tyson GAY
29.69Yohan BLAKE
49.72Asafa POWELL
34 more rows

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