Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Top 10 Olympic moments in track and field

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2016 | 12:24 AMHubert Lawrence
Jamaica's victorious men's 4x100m relay team (from left) Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell celebrate.
United States' Ryan Crouser displays his gold medal for the men's shot put.
Spain's Ruth Beitia celebrates winning the gold medal in the women's high jump.
Ethiopia's Almaz Ayana competing in the women's 10,000 metres final.
Jamaica’s Javon Francis (left) coming off the top of the final turn in his men’s 400 metres heat behind South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk. Van Niekerk won the heat in 45.26 seconds, with Francis placing third in 45.88. The South African went on to win the gold medal in a world record 43.03 seconds.
The United States team (from left) Allyson Felix, English Gardner, Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie celebrate winning the gold medal in the women's 4x100-metre relay final.


Almaz Ayana - 29:17.45 WR


It came in the morning of the first day of track and field competition in Rio de Janeiro in a race where one of the giants of the sports, Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, then the world record-holder, was chasing history. Had she won the 10,000 metres, she would secure an unprecedented third victory in a row.

Instead, Dibaba was burnt by the searing pace of her younger compatriot, Almaz Ayana. Not only did she win ahead of Kenyan Vivian Cheriyout and Dibaba, she also broke the world record of her illustrious teammate, with a brilliant time of 29 minutes 17.45 seconds.

The first 14 finishers, including Dibaba, set personal bests.


Wayde Van Niekerk - 43.03 WR


It seemed that American Lashawn Merritt had sharpened his sprint speed enough to neutralise the quickness of South Africa's 2015 World 400m champion, Wayde van Nierkerk.

In Rio, van Niekerk escorted the theorists to the garbage can with a 0.15 demolition of Michael Johnson's 400-metre world record of 43.18 seconds. Incredibly, the smooth running South African ran energetically all the way in lane eight to a phenomenal winning time of 43.03 seconds.

The 2012 Olympic champion, Kirani James, held off Merritt in the battle for the silver medal.


Anita Wlodarczyk - 82.29 WR


Already the only woman to launch the hammer over 80 metres, Anita Wlodarcyzk was at her best in Rio. Remarkably, the Polish star extended her own world record by 1.10 metres to 82.29.

The two-time World champion had two other 80 metres throws in the final and overall had four throws longer than anyone else seeking the gold medal.


Ruth Jebet - 8:59.75 (two all-time)


It wasn't a world record, but that was the only stone left unturned by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain.

While onlookers griped about athletes switching national allegiance, the Kenyan-born standout broke away from her rivals to win the steeplechase with the second best clocking ever recorded.


USA women's 4x100m - 41.01 (second best all-time, from lane one)


After all the hullabaloo about how the USA advanced to the women's 4x100m final, long jump winner Tianna Bartoletta, 400-metre World champion Allyson Felix, English Gardner and 100/200m top-three finisher Tori Bowie scooted away with the gold medal.

Running in lane one, the Americans walloped a hesitant Jamaican team in 41.01 seconds. That time is inferior only to the world record of 40.82.