Usain Bolt winning the 200m in the London 2012 Olympics (Getty images)


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Walter Dix 20.41 United States USA
2 Alexander Hartmann 20.59 Australia AUS


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Sally Pearson 22.97 Australia AUS
2 Ella Nelson 23.33 Australia AUS
3 Shericka Jackson 22.9 Jamaica JAM
4 Shericka Williams 23.1 Jamaica JAM


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Usain Bolt 19.19 Jamaica JAM
2 Yohan Blake 19.26 Jamaica JAM
3 Michael Johnson 19.32 United States USA
4 Walter Dix 19.53 United States USA
5 Tyson Gay 19.58 United States USA


Pos Athlete Mark Country
1 Florence Griffith-Joyner 21.34 United States USA
2 Marion Jones 21.62 United States USA
3 Merlene Ottey 21.64 Slovenia SLO
4 Allyson Felix 21.69 United States USA
5 Marita Koch 21.71 German Dem Rep GDR

200 Metres

How it works

Runners race for 100m around a bend and 100m down the home straight. They start from blocks and run in lanes.

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. A runner can also be disqualified if he or she steps out of their designated lane.


A slightly shorter race than the current 200m (192m, one length of the stadium) was part of the Ancient Olympics. The 200m (for men) was added to the Olympic programme in 1900 and has been part of all subsequent Games, except 1906.

Women have contested the distance in every Olympics since 1948.

Did you know

The second half of a 200m race is often quicker than the first half, as athletes approach the final 100m at full speed. When Usain Bolt set his 19.19 world record, he covered the final 100m in 9.27 seconds.

Gold standard

American men have won 17 Olympic titles, one more than their tally of 100m gold medals. There has been at least one Jamaican medallist in each of the past nine women’s Olympic finals.


Usain Bolt

The Jamaican superstar is dominant in both the 100m and 200m, but it’s the latter where he first made his name, winning World Youth and World Junior titles several years before his first Olympic triumph and World record in 2008.

Gwen Torrence

The American won a cluster of medals during a lengthy career. She was a two-time World champion but enjoyed her greatest moment when she won Olympic gold in 1992. She would have won a World title in 1995, too, but was disqualified for running out of her lane.