Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to top



Sub-10.00 Statistical Abstract

Sub-10.00 Statistical Abstract

| On 05, Jul 2015

Photo credit: Dane Schubert for Daily Relay

Yesterday’s Meeting Areva, the Paris stop on the Diamond League tour, had a lot of upsets and wild finishes. One race that did go according to form was the men’s 100 meters, where Asafa Powell won in the time of 9.81 seconds.

It led one fan to ask this question:

Ato Boldon jokingly replied “999,999”, but Powell himself chimed in and said it’s 91 times he’s run under 10.00.

Of course that led to a follow-up question.

This is where my work comes in. Interestingly enough, my count for Asafa Powell’s career sub-10 races is slightly different than his.

Notes for the nerdy: My source is the deep and detailed lists at, which breaks things down into a main list plus times that were considered to have a “rolling start” (e.g., a false start that wasn’t called), hand timing, en route to longer distance, and run with a faulty wind gauge. I included all of those sub-10.00 marks with automatic timing, plus three hand-timed 9.7 marks.

Most career sub-10 races

88 – Asafa Powell
53 – Maurice Greene
44 – Usain Bolt
41 – Justin Gatlin
33 – Tyson Gay
31 – Mike Rodgers
29 – Nesta Carter
28 – Ato Boldon
27 – Frank Fredericks
22 – Yohan Blake
Note: four of Bolt’s 44 sub-10 clockings were taken for the first 100 meters of a longer race (150 or 200 meters), the only man who has ever officially done it.

Most career sub-10 races, active athletes

88 – Powell
44 – Bolt
41 – Gatlin
33 – Gay
31 – Rodgers
29 – Carter
22 – Blake
12 – Richard Thompson
10 – Kemar Bailey Cole
10 – Walter Dix

Most sub-10 races in a season

15 – Asafa Powell, 2008
12 – Powell, 2009
12 – Powell, 2006
11 – Usain Bolt, 2008
10 – Justin Gatlin, 2013
10 – Yohan Blake, 2012

Most sub-10 races by nation

311 – USA
222 – Jamaica
49 – Trinidad & Tobago
27 – Namibia
26 – Canada
Notes: Powell has more sub-10s than any countries except the USA and Jamaica, and all of Namibia’s count comes from Frank Fredericks.

Most sub-10 races by venue

48 – Hayward Field
39 – Olympic Stadium (Athens)
39 – Letzigrund
37 – National Stadium (Kingston)
37 – Stade Olympique de la Pontaise

Wind conditions

152 – headwind
44 – still air
542 – tailwind (26 had maximum 2.0 m/s)
4 – wind gauge malfunctioned

Youngest: Trayvon Bromell (USA), 27 days before 19th birthday (2014 NCAAs)
Oldest: Kim Collins (SKN), 69 days before 40th birthday (on June 13, 2015; Collins might break it again this summer)

Longest between first and last: Kim Collins, 7/27/02 to 6/13/15

Most in one day: 12 (8/16/08, Beijing Olympic semis & finals)
Most in one race: 7 (8/5/12, London Olympic final)

More reading
Jon Mulkeen has compiled the number of sub-10 sprinters for each of the last thirty seasons. This year is already the deepest.

Wikipedia has an entire entry dedicated to the 10-second barrier, including a list of all 105 men who have run 9.99 or better.


  1. Stewie

    That list does not include Powell’s 9.93 from the London 2012 semi-finals or two other sub-tens he ran last year. So Powell IS right. It is 91 sub-tens officially.

    • Jesse Squire

      The official results of the 2012 Olympic show 9.94 for Powell in semifinal 1, and that’s on the list at The site shows three sub-10s for the 2014 season, which is in agreement with and I’m not saying that Peter Larsson’s site is error-free, but that’s not where the discrepancy lies.

  2. Cool. So I am assuming you have enough data to do a trend plot based on the yearly totals of sub-10s? That would be interesting to see as well.

  3. Douglas James Burke

    Bolt needs to start racing more to catch Powell, I think Bolt should try to beat Powell’s 15 in one season next year, to get race sharp for the Olympics. Other similar things LaShawn Merritt has I think 89 sub 45 seconds for 400, Mutola has 83 sub 1:58 for 800, Jesse squires did a GREAT article on statistical dominance a few years ago and Heike Dreschler had 248 of the top 500 long jump performances.

  4. Douglas James Burke

    Found it, this is the men’s and there is a link to the women’s at the bottom of the article.

Submit a Comment