Faster, Higher, Stronger

Stories of the Olympic Games - 100 metres

Series 1 - Episode 1 Stories of the Olympic Games - 100 metres



There’s a fascinating photograph taken of the starting line-up for the 100m at the 1896 Olympic Games. Each of the five finalists is poised for the start in a different pose. One is crouched sideways as if on a surfboard, one is resting his hands on wooden pegs, and only one is doubled up with his hands on the track, modern style.

He was America’s Tom Burke and he won, ensuring his technique became widespread. For years afterwards, athletes carried trowels so they could dig foot-holes in the cinder track (starting blocks were introduced for the 1948 games). These and other trivia are revealed in a smart sprint through the history of the 100m.


The history of the Olympic Games, focusing on different events and the athletes who have pushed performance to the limit in their pursuit of gold. The first of four programmes examines the 100m final, and features Jim Hines, the first to run the race in less than 10 seconds in 1968, Carl Lewis, the best finisher of them all, and Usain Bolt, whose massive stride allows him to virtually eat up the track. Britain's Alan Wells also recalls the dip at the line that won him gold at Moscow in 1980, while archive footage, period reconstruction and special filming techniques provide an insight into the event.
Documentary Sport