American 100 metre hurdler Lolo Jones (Getty images)

Female

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Dawn Harper Nelson 12.44 United States USA
2 Queen Harrison 12.46 United States USA
3 Brianna Rollins 12.53 United States USA
4 LoLo Jones 12.55 United States USA
5 Cindy Billaud 12.56 France FRA

Female

Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Yordanka Donkova 12.21 Bulgaria BUL
2 Ginka Zagorcheva 12.25 Bulgaria BUL
3 Ludmila Engquist 12.26 Sweden SWE
4 Brianna Rollins 12.26 United States USA
5 Sally Pearson 12.28 Australia AUS

100 metre hurdles

How it works

Women start from blocks and negotiate ten 2ft 9in (83.8cm) hurdles spread over a 100m straight. A reaction time – measured by sensors in the starting pistol and on the blocks – of less than 0.1 is deemed a false start and runners will be recalled, and the responsible athlete disqualified.

Once the race is under way there are 13m to the first hurdle, 8.5m between hurdles thereafter, and 10.5m from the final hurdle to the finish. The hurdles are knocked down easily if touched, which allows the athlete to continue the race even if she collides with them. But a runner can be disqualified if she steps out of her designated lane.

History

The event evolved from wooden barriers being placed along a 100 yard stretch, in England during the 1830s. The inaugural Women’s World Games of 1922 featured the 100m hurdles, and a slightly truncated event made its first Olympic appearance – at 80m – in 1932. The distance was increased to 100m at the 1972 Olympics.

Did you know

Until 1935, athletes were disqualified for knocking over three hurdles or more and records were only registered if an athlete cleanly negotiated all the hurdles.

Gold standard

It’s a sprint, so the USA sets the benchmark. Germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Sweden, Canada and Jamaica are also strong.

Icons

Yordanka Donkova

The brilliant Bulgarian set four World records and struck Olympic gold (in 1988). Her final mark – 12.21, also in 1988 – still stands today.