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100 Metres Hurdles

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100 Metres Hurdles

100 metres hurdles
A 100m hs at Atlanta 1996.
Women's records
World  Bulgaria Yordanka Donkova 12.21 (1988)
Olympic  Australia Sally Pearson 12.35 (2012)

The 100 metres hurdles, or 100-meter hurdles, is a track and field event run mainly by women (the male counterpart is the 110 metres hurdles). For the race ten hurdles of a height of 83.8 centimetres (2.75 ft) are placed evenly spaced along a straight course of 100 metres (110 yd). They are positioned so that they will fall over if bumped into by the runner, but weighted so it is disadvantageous. Fallen hurdles don't count against runners so long as they don't run into them on purpose. Like the 100 metres sprint the 100 m hurdles begins with athletes in starting blocks.


Cornelia Oschkenat (nearest camera), Heike Theele and Kerstin Knabe (1986)

For the 100 m hurdles the first hurdle is placed after a run-up of 13 metres from the starting line. The next 9 hurdles are set at a distance of 8.5 metres from each other, and the home stretch from the last hurdle to the finish line is 10.5 metres long.

The Olympic Games had included the 80 m hurdles in the program from 1932 to 1968. Starting with the 1972 Summer Olympics the women's race was lengthened to 100 m hurdles.

The fastest 100 m hurdlers run the distance in a time of around 12.5 seconds. The world record set by Yordanka Donkova stands at 12.21 seconds, the equivalent of 8.19 metres per second or 29.48 kilometres per hour.

The hurdles sprint race has been run by women since the beginning of women's athletics, just after the end of World War I. The distances and hurdle heights varied widely in the beginning. While the men had zeroed in on the 110 m hurdles, the International Women's Sport Federation had registered records for eight different disciplines by 1926 (60 yards/75 cm height, 60 yards/61 cm, 65 yards/75 cm, 83 yards/75 cm, 100 yards/75 cm, 100 yards/61 cm, 120 yards/75 cm, 110 metres/75 cm). At the first Women's World Games in 1922 a 100 m hurdles race was run.

From 1926 until 1968 on only the 80 m distance was run. For the 80 m race women had to clear eight hurdles placed at a distance of 8 metres from each other and a height of 76.2 cm.

Just like with the men's races, until 1935 no more than three hurdles could be knocked over (or the runner was disqualified) and records were only officially registered if the runner had cleared all her hurdles clean. In 1935, this rule was abandoned, and L-shaped hurdles were introduced that fell over forward easily and greatly reduced the risk of injury to the runner.

Comparison of 80m and 100m hurdles
Distance Number
of hurdles
Height Distance made up of
Runup Intervals Home stretch
80 m 8 76.2 cm 12 m 8.0 m 12.0 m
100 m 10 83.8 cm 13 m 8.5 m 10.5 m

The 80 m hurdles was on the list of women's sports demanded by the International Women's Sport Federation for the Olympic Summer Games in 1928, but wasn't included as an Olympic discipline until 1932. Starting with 1949 the 80 m hurdles was one of the disciplines included in the women's pentathlon.

During the 1960s some experimental races were run over a distance of 100 metres using hurdles with a height of 76.2 cm. During the 1968 Summer Olympics a decision was made to introduce the 100 m hurdles using hurdles with a height of 84 cm and the first international event in the 100 m hurdles occurred at the European Athletics Championships, which were won by Karin Balzer, GDR. The modern 100m race has an extra 2 hurdles compared to the 80m race, which are higher and spaced slightly further apart. The home stretch is shorter by 1.5m.

Masters athletics

A version of the 100 metres hurdles is also used for 50- to 59-year-old men in Masters athletics. They run the same spacing as women, which coordinates with existing markings on most tracks, but run over 36" (.915 m) hurdles. In the 60-69 age range, the spacings are changed. Women over age 40, men over age 70 run 80 metre versions with different heights and spacings.[1][2]


100 m hurdles:

  • First official time registered with hurdles of reduced height (76.2 cm): Pamela Kilborn, AUS, November 26, 1961
  • First official time with hurdles of standard height (83.8 cm): 15.1 seconds, Connie Pettersson, USA, May 28, 1966
  • First official world record: 13.3 seconds, Karin Balzer, GDR, June 20, 1969
  • First runner under 13 seconds: 12.9 seconds, Karin Balzer, GDR, September 5, 1969
  • First runner under 12.5 seconds:
  • First runner under 12.3 seconds: 12.29 seconds, Yordanka Donkova BUL, August 17, 1986

Most successful athletes

Note: Narozhilenko-Engquist and Pearson are the only 100 metres hurdlers to have become both Olympic Champion and World Champion.

Olympic medalists

Games Gold Silver Bronze
1972 Munich
 Annelie Ehrhardt (GDR)  Valeria Bufanu (ROU)  Karin Balzer (GDR)
1976 Montreal
 Johanna Schaller-Klier (GDR)  Tatyana Anisimova (URS)  Natalya Lebedeva (URS)
1980 Moscow
 Vera Komisova (URS)  Johanna Schaller-Klier (GDR)  Lucyna Langer (POL)
1984 Los Angeles
 Benita Fitzgerald (USA)  Shirley Strong (GBR)  Michèle Chardonnet (FRA)
 Kim Turner (USA)
1988 Seoul
 Yordanka Donkova (BUL)  Gloria Siebert (GDR)  Claudia Zackiewicz (FRG)
1992 Barcelona
 Voula Patoulidou (GRE)  LaVonna Martin (USA)  Yordanka Donkova (BUL)
1996 Atlanta
 Ludmila Engquist (SWE)  Brigita Bukovec (SLO)  Patricia Girard (FRA)
2000 Sydney
 Olga Shishigina (KAZ)  Glory Alozie (NGR)  Melissa Morrison (USA)
2004 Athens
 Joanna Hayes (USA)  Olena Krasovska (UKR)  Melissa Morrison (USA)
2008 Beijing
 Dawn Harper (USA)  Sally McLellan (AUS)  Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (CAN)
2012 London
 Sally Pearson (AUS)  Dawn Harper (USA)  Kellie Wells (USA)

World championships medalists

Games Gold Silver Bronze
Helsinki 1983  Bettine Jahn (GDR)  Kerstin Knabe (GDR)  Ginka Zagorcheva (BUL)
Rome 1987  Ginka Zagorcheva (BUL)  Gloria Uibel (GDR)  Cornelia Oschkenat (GDR)
Tokyo 1991  Ludmila Narozhilenko (USSR)  Gail Devers (USA)  Nataliya Grygoryeva (USSR)
Stuttgart 1993  Gail Devers (USA)  Marina Azyabina (RUS)  Lynda Tolbert-Goode (USA)
Gothenburg 1995  Gail Devers (USA)  Olga Shishigina (KAZ)  Yuliya Graudyn (RUS)
Athens 1997  Ludmilla Engquist (SWE)  Svetla Dimitrova (BUL)  Michelle Freeman (JAM)
Seville 1999  Gail Devers (USA)  Glory Alozie (NGA)  Ludmilla Engquist (SWE)
Edmonton 2001  Anjanette Kirkland (USA)  Gail Devers (USA)  Olga Shishigina (KAZ)
Paris 2003  Perdita Felicien (CAN)  Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM)  Miesha McKelvy (USA)
Helsinki 2005  Michelle Perry (USA)  Delloreen Ennis-London (JAM)  Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM)
Osaka 2007  Michelle Perry (USA)  Perdita Felicien (CAN)  Delloreen Ennis-London (JAM)
Berlin 2009  Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM)  Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (CAN)  Delloreen Ennis-London (JAM)
Daegu 2011  Sally Pearson (AUS)  Danielle Carruthers (USA)  Dawn Harper (USA)
Moscow 2013  Brianna Rollins (USA)  Sally Pearson (AUS)  Tiffany Porter (GBR)

Fastest 25 athletes

In brackets: Wind in m/s

Pos. Time Athlete Country Venue Date Ref
1 12.21 (+0.7) Yordanka Donkova  Bulgaria Stara Zagora 20 August 1988
2 12.25 (+1.4) Ginka Zagorcheva  Bulgaria Drama 8 August 1987
3 12.26 (+1.7) Ludmila Narozhilenko  Russia Seville 6 June 1992
12.26 (+1.2) Brianna Rollins  United States Des Moines 22 June 2013 [3]
5 12.28 (+1.1) Sally Pearson  Australia Daegu 3 September 2011 [4]
6 12.33 (−0.3) Gail Devers  United States Sacramento 23 July 2000
7 12.36 (+1.9) Grażyna Rabsztyn  Poland Warsaw 13 June 1980
8 12.37 (+1.5) Joanna Hayes  United States Athens 24 August 2004
12.37 (-0.2) Dawn Harper  United States London 7 August 2012
10 12.39 (+1.5) Vera Komisova  Soviet Union Rome 5 August 1980
12.39 (+1.8) Nataliya Grygoryeva  Soviet Union Kiev 11 July 1991
12 12.42 (+1.8) Bettine Jahn  East Germany Berlin 8 June 1983
12.42 (+2.0) Anjanette Kirkland  United States Edmonton 11 August 2001
14 12.43 (-0.9) Lucyna Kalek  Poland Hannover 19 August 1984
12.43 (-0.3) Michelle Perry  United States Carson 26 June 2005
12.43 (+0.2) Lolo Jones  United States Beijing 18 August 2008
12.43 (+1.2) Queen Harrison  United States Des Moines 22 June 2013 [5]
18 12.44 (-0.5) Gloria Siebert  East Germany Rome 4 September 1987
12.44 (-0.8) Olga Shishigina  Kazakhstan Lucerne 27 June 1995
12.44 (+0.4) Glory Alozie  Nigeria Monaco 8 August 1998
12.44 (+0.6) Damu Cherry  United States Lausanne 7 July 2006
22 12.45 (+1.3) Cornelia Oschkenat  East Germany Neubrandenburg 11 June 1987
12.45 (+1.4) Brigitte Foster-Hylton  Jamaica Eugene 24 May 2003
12.45 (+1.5) Olena Krasovska  Ukraine Athens 24 August 2004
12.45 (+1.4) Virginia Crawford  United States New York City 2 June 2007

Note: Michelle Perry also ran 12.43 in Lausanne, 11 July 2006

Note: Glory Alozie also ran 12.44 in Brussels, August 28, 1998 & in Seville, August 28, 1999

Assisted marks

Any performance with a following wind of more than 2.0 metres per second does not count for record purposes. Below is the fastest wind-assisted times. Only times that are superior to legal bests are shown:

  • Cornelia Oschkenat (DDR) ran a wind-aided 12.28sec (+2.7) in Berlin, August 25, 1987.
  • Gail Devers (USA) ran a wind-aided 12.29sec (+2.7) in Eugene, May 26, 2002.
  • Lolo Jones (USA) ran a wind-aided 12.29sec (+3.8) in Eugene, July 6, 2008.
  • Bettine Jahn (DDR) ran a wind-aided 12.35sec (+2.4) in Helsinki (World Championship final), August 13, 1983
  • Kellie Wells (USA) ran a wind-aided 12.35sec (+3.7) in Gainseville, April 16, 2011. Legal best is 12.48sec in London (Olympic final), August 7, 2012.

Season's bests

Year Time Athlete Place
1970 12.93  Chi Cheng (ROC) Munich
1971 12.60  Karin Balzer (GDR) East Berlin
1972 12.59  Anneliese Ehrhardt (GDR) Munich
1973 12.68  Anneliese Ehrhardt (GDR) Dresden
1974 12.66  Anneliese Ehrhardt (GDR) Rome
1975 12.91  Bozena Szwierczynska (POL) Zielona Góra
1976 12.69  Grazyna Rabsztyn (POL) Bydgoszcz
1977 12.87  Lyubov Kononova (URS) Düsseldorf
1978 12.48  Grazyna Rabsztyn (POL) Fürth
1979 12.48  Grazyna Rabsztyn (POL) Warsaw
1980 12.36  Grazyna Rabsztyn (POL) Warsaw
1981 12.68  Tatyana Anisimova (URS) Tbilisi
1982 12.44  Yordanka Donkova (BUL) Sofia
1983 12.42  Bettine Jahn (GDR) Berlin
1984 12.43  Lucyna Kalek (POL) Hannover
1985 12.42  Ginka Zagorcheva (BUL) Sofia
1986 12.26  Yordanka Donkova (BUL) Ljubljana
1987 12.25  Ginka Zagorcheva (BUL) Dráma
1988 12.21  Yordanka Donkova (BUL) Stara Zagora
1989 12.60  Cornelia Oschkenat (GDR) Barcelona
1990 12.53  Nataliya Grygoryeva (URS) Kiev
1991 12.28  Ludmila Narozhilenko (URS) Kiev
1992 12.26  Ludmila Narozhilenko (RUS) Seville
1993 12.46  Gail Devers (USA) Stuttgart
1994 12.53  Tatyana Reshetnykova (RUS)
 Svetla Dimitrova (BUL)
Stara Zagora
1995 12.44  Olga Shishigina (KAZ) Lucerne
1996 12.47  Ludmila Narozhilenko-Engquist (SWE) Atlanta
1997 12.50  Ludmila Narozhilenko-Engquist (SWE) Athens
1998 12.44  Glory Alozie (NGR) Monaco
1999 12.37  Gail Devers (USA) Seville
2000 12.33  Gail Devers (USA) Sacramento
2001 12.42  Anjanette Kirkland (USA) Edmonton
2002 12.40  Gail Devers (USA) Lausanne
2003 12.45  Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM)
 Gail Devers (USA)
2004 12.37  Joanna Hayes (USA) Athens
2005 12.43  Michelle Perry (USA) Carson
2006 12.43  Michelle Perry (USA) Lausanne
2007 12.44  Michelle Perry (USA) Rome
2008 12.43  Lolo Jones (USA) Beijing
2009 12.46  Brigitte Foster-Hylton (JAM) Zürich
2010 12.52  Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (CAN) London
2011 12.28  Sally Pearson (AUS) Daegu
2012 12.35  Sally Pearson (AUS) London
2013 12.26  Brianna Rollins (USA) Des Moines
2014 12.44  Dawn Harper-Nelson (USA) Paris

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kirby Lee (23 June 2013). "National records for Rollins, Carter and Bingson at US Championships".  
  4. ^ "100 Metres Hurdles Results".  
  5. ^ Kirby Lee (23 June 2013). "National records for Rollins, Carter and Bingson at US Championships".  
  • Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent German-language WorldHeritage article (retrieved February 13, 2006).
  • All-Time List
  • Year Lists
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