The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Top Ten 100 Meter Races of all Time – Women

Oct 25th, 2012
4:50 pm PDT

Me for Blog picThis was a very interesting exercise. The men’s list was relatively easy to put together, as there have been some very memorable races for the men. As I started putting this list together however, I found that getting the top women together AND performing as a group at a high level has not been as frequent as one would have thought. Especially when it comes to the final times.

The one exception was the 90s where a group of Gail Devers, Merlene Ottey, Gwen Torrence, and  Irina Privalova dominated most of the decade and this list with four races – and another just narrowly missing the cut. That race being the 1995 World Championships – a race that I really liked but was off a tad in terms of both depth and closeness of finish.

Here’s the list that I came up with, I’m sure you will let me know what you think.

1. 2012 Olympics – The one easy selection was the top spot as this race was extremely fast on the top end with a pair on 10.7s and 5th place going in 10.89! Throw in a US v Jamaica head to head that was also a classic starter v finisher race between Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce and Camelita Jeter that’s decided by only .03. Finally add that last place was 11.01, and we have the best women’s 100 to date. NO contest.

10.75 – Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce
10.78 – Carmelita Jeter
10.81 – Veronica Campbell Brown
10.85 – Tianna Madison
10.89 – Allyson Felix
10.94 – Kelly Ann Baptiste
11.00 – Murielle Ahoure
11.01 – Blessing  Okagbare

2. 1999 World Championships – The original "double 7" race, Inger Miller made this one closer than many expected. This one was also extremely deep, but at the end of the day, it was the closeness of London from top to bottom, that kept this’d race from the top of the podium. I know some may take umbrage with this race because of Marion, Katerina and Zhanna. While both had their issues, neither had this race removed from their histories so the race stands.

10.70 – Marion Jones
10.79 – Inger Miller
10.81 – Katerina  Thanou
10.95 – Zhanna Pintusevich
10.95 – Gail Devers
10.97 – Christine Arron
11.06 – Chandra Sturrup.
11.13 – Mercy Nku

3. 1992 Olympics – This may be my personal favorite, as this group of women were as competitive a group as has been seen in the sport. When they lined up the potential was there for almost any order of finish – which is what we got in various meets. In Barcelona, we got the first five at their competitive best with all under 10.90 AND within .06 off each other. THAT’S the kind of race you want to see in a championship setting. It was Gail Devers at her best against Juliet Cuthbert in her last really great race.

10.82 – Gail Devers
10.83 – Juliet Cuthbert
10.84 – Irina Privalova
10.86 – Gwen Torrence
10.88 – Merlene Ottey
11.10 – Anelia Nuneva
11.15 – Mary Onyali
11.19 – Lilliana. Allen

4. 1993 World Championships – The 90s crew wasted no time coming back and giving the world another show. This time the race wasn’t quite as deep, as only three went sub 10.90′ but that race for the gold came down to a photo – perhaps the tightest gold medal race ever. This was easily Ottey’s best attempt at gold and she came oh so close. But Devers was in the middle of as good a gold medal run as has been seen in the women’s event.

10.82 – Gail Devers
10.82 – Merlene Ottey
10.89 – Gwen Torrence
10.96 – Irina Privalova
11.05 – Mary Onyali
11.20 – Natalya Voronova
11.20 – Nicole Mitchell
11.23 – Lilliana Allen

5. 2007 World Championships – Some may scoff at the inclusion of this race because it lacks a single sub11 – in the New Millennium no less. But that’s the only thing this race lacked as it’s one of the closest, most competitive finals ever with only .07 separating the first six women – and the medals being decided within .01! This was perhaps the best race of Lauren Williams’s career and the beginning of the rise of Carmelita Jeter.

11.01 – Veronica Campbell
11.01 – Lauren Williams
11.02 – Carmelita Jeter
11.05 – Torri Edwards
11.05 – Kim Geveart
11.08 – Christine Arron
11.12 – Merton Stewart
11.26 – Ismailia Osayomi

6. 1988 Olympics – Where do you put a race that was won in 10.54w? Here in the middle. This was like the men’s Beijing race for me – a huge runaway win and big performance by the winner. However this race also had a great race for silver and bronze AND five women under 11 st a time when that just wasn’t happening. That medal run between Ashford & Drechsler was classic. This meet was also the coming out party for Gwen Torrence.

10.54w – Florence Griffith Joyner
10.83w – Evelyn Ashford
10.85w – Heike Drechsler
10.97w – Grace Jackson
10.97w – Gwen Torrence
11.00w – Natalya Pomoshnikova
11.26w – Juliet Cuthbert
11.49w – Amelia Nuneva

7. 1976 Olympics – The event hadn’t reached the sub11 stage yet – though the WR dropped to 11.01 in the semis. This was easily the fastest final ever run at the time, however, and a classic Ready v West Germany battle with the West gaining a rare victory. It was the final big appearance by Renate Stecher and the international debuts of Evelyn Ashford & Marlies Olesner (Gohr).

11.08 – Annegret Richter
11.13 – Renate Stecher
11.17 – Inga Helten
11.23 – Raelene Boyle
11.24 – Evelyn Ashford
11.31 – Chandra Cheeseborough
11.32 – Andrea Lynch
11.34 – Marlies Olesner 

8. 1996 Olympics – Yet another Devers nail biter! This time in front of the home crowd in Atlanta. Once again we find Devers blazing from the start with the field in pursuit – and Ottey taking her to the photo. Excellent race for the medals with Torrence right there in the mix at the line, but the follow up behind them could have been better. Had the rest of the field fallen in line this would probably have been higher up. But the women didn’t seem to get the same benefit from the fast Atlanta surface.

10.94 – Gail Devers
10.94 – Merlene Ottey
10.96 – Gwen Torrence
11.00 – Chandra Sturrup
11.06 – Marina Trandenkova
11.10 – Natalya Voronova
11.13 – Mary Onyali
11.14 – Zhanna Pintusevich

9. 2004 Olympics – This is another race that was much slower than it should have been given that it occurred at the turn of the century and the results from the men were once again stellar. Times aside, however, this was another very close and deep race that earned it’s way onto the list for that reason. Ironically with all the talent in this field, it was the technique of Nesterenko that won out in the end.

10.93 – Yulia Nesternko
10.96 – Lauryn Williams
10.97 – Veronica Campbell
11.00 – Ivet Lalova
11.05 – Aleen Bailey
11.07 – Sherone Simpson
11.16 – Debbie Ferguson
11.18 – LaTosha Colander

10. 2005 World Championships – Finally I’m going with this race, once again not because of the speed of the race, but because of the closeness of the race. This race was in two separate halves separated by approximately a tenth of a second. The first half was the medal half – three separated by .05. The second was 4th through 8th all in 11.09! Races don’t come any closer. Overall an exciting run. Lauryn Williams was in several of these races, this was the one where she came out on top!

10.93 – Lauryn Williams
10.95 – Veronica Campbell
10.98 – Christine Arron
11.09 – Chandra Sturrup
11.09 – Lisa Barber
11.09 – Sherone Simpson
11.09 – Muna Lee
11.13 – Yulia Nesterenko

These women were tougher than I expected. Let’s see what the 200’s bring for both the men and the women.

4 Responses to “Top Ten 100 Meter Races of all Time – Women”

  1. Aurelo Feldman says:

    The 92 and 93 races are, as you said, part of the golden age of women sprint golden age.
    Devers, Ottey, Torrence were always fighting each other for the gold and running great times.
    The 04 race is a little hard for me to understand, Nesterenko was not a top player and came around got the gold and we never saw her again. I know that we are looking only in the race results but Marion Jones race in 99 and that one are hard not to think about other stuff that may ou may not happened.
    The 12 olympics final was amazing, to be able to watch a great starter against a finisher like Jeter was amazing, every time I watch that race I feel that Jeter will catch her.

    • CHill says:

      I struggled with a few races as to what may have occurred, but decided that it was about the races .. and if there was no bust, or the sport let the results stand, I evaluated it as is .. That’s all I could do ..

      I was struck by how the women’s races have been so much closer than the men’s .. Across the board …

      Am evaluating deuces now and dilemma is speed v closeness and depth .. gonna be interesting ..

  2. Aurelio Feldman says:

    It is amazing to see how long Ashford career was long, from 76 to 88. A true champion And example And the real 88 olympic gold medalist in my opinion.

    • CHill says:

      Actually Ashford went to Barcelona in ’92 .. Didn’t make the 100 final, but lead off the winning 4×1 … I think she is arguably the greatest female sprinter of all time ..

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