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5 World Athletics Records Held by Retired Black Athletes

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World athletics records have been recognized since 1912. Over the years, records have been written and rewritten in multiple track and field events and the marathon. Over the years, world record times have gotten faster because of the advancement of technology, training, and a better understanding of the human body. 

The possibility of lowering records is high, and every time athletes line up, fans expect to see a new one. Nonetheless, some records have stood the test of time. In this post, we’ll explore some records held by retired black athletes

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David Rudisha’s 800M – 1:40.91

David Rudisha running at the Berlin Marathon. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

David Rudisha hasn’t officially announced his retirement from the sport. However, his prolonged absence due to niggling injuries and age makes it unlikely for him to make a comeback. He’s thinking about doing coaching full-time, another sign of his impending retirement from the sport. 

In 2012, Rudisha produced one of the best moments of the London Olympics games. He stormed to the finish line in the final of the 800M in a time of 1.40.91. He broke Wilson Kipketer’s record of 1.41.11 set in 1997. 

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Florence Griffith Joyner’s 100M – 10.49 Seconds

Popularly known as Flo Jo, she set the fastest time in the women’s 100m in 1988. The late American sprinter beat Evelyn Ashford’s record of 10.76 seconds set in 1984. However, her victory was shrouded in controversy. 

Flo Jo was accused of using performance-enhancement drugs despite testing negative after numerous tests, and her early death raised more questions than answers. That notwithstanding, Joyner’s record remains unbroken. Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson has the second fastest time of 10.54 seconds recorded in 2021. 

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Hicham El Guerrouj  1500M – 3.26.00

Moroccan middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj still holds the world athletics record in the 1500m. He set this in Rome in 1998 and broke the record of an Algerian runner, Noureddine Morceli, of 3.27.37. His record still stands. The closest challenger is Kenyan athlete Bernard Lagat, who ran 3.26.34 in 2001. 

Hicham is regarded as one of the best-ever middle-distance runners in the world. He certainly is Morocco’s best. He was recognized for his achievements. In 2001, 2002, and 2003, the retired athlete was voted the World Athlete of the Year. 

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Mary Keitany’s Women’s Only Marathon – 2.17.01

Former long-distance runner Mary Keitany set the world record time of 2.17.01 during a women-only marathon in London in 2017. She improved Paula Radcliffe’s 2005 record of 2.17.41 by 41 seconds on the same course. Keitany was one of the best female runners from Kenya. She won gold medals in the major marathon races in London and New York. She stepped away from the sport in 2021. 

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Mike Powell – 8.95

Long jump world record holder Mike Powell. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Former American world jumper Mike Powell still holds the world athletics record in his discipline. In 1991, he jumped 8.95 m and broke Bob Beamon’s record of 8.90m set in 1968. No one has come close to Powell’s distance, with the next best competitor being Czech long jumper Tomáš DVOŘÁK with a distance of 8.07. 

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Usain Bolt’s 100M – 9.58 Seconds

Usain Bolt celebrating after a race. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

In 2009, Usain Bolt set a new world athletics record in the 100m at Berlin World Athletics Championships. He crossed the finish line in 9.58 seconds and became the first sprinter to run under 9.60 seconds. 

Five years after Usain Bolt’s retirement, the record still stands. In fact, no one has come close to breaking it. The second fastest time in the event is 9.69 by former American sprinter Tyson Gay and Johan Blake. Scientists say the record will be broken, but it’s likely that won’t happen any time soon.  

World athletics records are the highlights of major athletic events. The athletes mentioned above put the capabilities of human strength on show and wrote records that will take time to fall. 

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Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi is a sports enthusiast who enjoys sharing sports knowledge. Over the years, she has also written on different niches, and she now brings that experience at Spotcovery. She writes sports content and also, Arts & Culture, Recipe, Beauty and more.


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