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Gold medal times in the sprint hurdles at the Summer Olympics 1896-2016

The men's 110 meter sprint hurdles has been a staple event at the Summer Olympics since the first event in 1896, while the women's event was introduced in an 80 meter format in 1932, before changing to 100 meters in 1972. For the men's event, ten hurdles (with a height of 1.067m) are placed along the lane in 9.14m intervals, with a 13.72m distance between the starting line and the first hurdle, and a 14.02m stretch from the final hurdle and the finishing line (the measurements were originally in imperial units, which explains their seemingly irregular distances). The women's 100m event, ten hurdles (with a height of 0.838m) are placed along the lane in 8.5m intervals, with a 13m distance between the starting line and the first hurdle, and a 10.5m stretch from the final hurdle and the finishing line. The current world record for men is 12.80 seconds, and for women it is 12.20 seconds.

Olympic records

In the Olympics, only two men and one woman have won multiple gold medals in their respective hurdle sprints, these were Lee Calhoun in 1956 and 1960, Roger Kingdom in 1984 and 1988 and Shirley Strickland in 1952 and 1956 (Strickland also won Bronze in 1948). The current Olympic records were set in the final races of the 2004 and 2012 events for men and women respectively, and are both within 0.2 seconds of the current world records. As with most track and field events, the USA has claimed the majority of gold medals; this is particularly true in the men's events, while athletes representing a much wider variety of nations have won gold in the women's events. Athletes from the United States have seen the most success in these events, winning 19 golds and 56 overall medals in the men's event, although the women's medal table is much closer, with the US and Australia both having won four golds each.

Overlapping athletes

Unlike other sprinting events at the Olympics, there is very little crossover between athletes in these races and the hurdles, due to the specialist nature of the event. For example, while sprinters such as Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis found success in events such as the 100m, 200m and long jump, running in the hurdles requires different techniques and methods, therefore it is rare for a specialist hurdle sprinter to appear in other sprinting events at the top level (although some athletes do compete in both the 400m sprint and 400m hurdles). The only athletes to win golds in both the 100m sprint and 100m or 110m hurdles were Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1948, and Harrison Dillard in 1948 and 1952 respectively, although the crossover rate has decreased significantly since then.

Gold medal winning times in the Men's 110m hurdles and Women's 80m and 100m hurdles at the Summer Olympics from 1896 to 2016

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Release date




Survey time period

1896 to 2016

Supplementary notes

This data was collected using the official site, as well as a spreadsheet from the Guardian that includes data from 1896-2008 (available here), 2012 and 2016 data was compared with that from Encyclopaedia Britannica, and several news outlets were used to update the table when medals were reassigned (i.e. for doping offenses).

The winning athletes (male listed first) and their represented countries are as follows:
1896 - Thomas Curtis (US)
1900 - Alvin Kraenzlin (US)
1904 - Frederick Schule (US)
1908 - Forrest Smithson (US)
1912 - Frederick Kelly (US)
1920 - Earl Thomson (Canada)
1924 - Daniel Kinsey (US)
1928 - Sidney Atkinson (South Africa)
1932 - George Saling (US) & Mildred Didrikson (US)
1936 - Forrest Towns (US) & Ondina Valla (Italy)
1948 - Bill Porter (US) & Fanny Blankers-Koen (Netherlands)
1952 - Harrison Dillard (US) & Shirley Strickland (Australia)
1956 - Lee Calhoun (US) & Shirley Strickland (Australia)
1960 - Lee Calhoun (US) & Irina Press (USSR)
1964 - Hayes Jones (US) & Karin Richert-Balzer (Germany)
1968 - Willie Davenport (US) & Maureen Caird (Australia)
1972 - Rod Milburn (US) & Annelie Ehrhardt (East Germany)
1976 - Guy Drut (France) & Johanna Schaller-Klier (East Germany)
1980 - Thomas Munklet (East Germany) & Vera Komisova (USSR)
1984 - Roger Kingdom (US) & Benita Fitzgerald-Brown (US)
1988 - Roger Kingdom (US) & Yordanka Donkova (Bulgaria)
1992 - Mark McCoy (Canada) & Voula Patoulidou (Greece)
1996 - Allen Johnson (US) & Ludmila Engquist (Sweden)
2000 - Anier Garcia (Cuba) & Olga Shishigina (Kazakhstan)
2004 - Xiang Liu (China) & Joanna Hayes (US)
2008 - Dayron Robles (Cuba) & Dawn Harper (US)
2012 - Aries Merritt (US) & Sally Pearson (Australia)
2016 - Omar McLeod (Jamaica) & Brianna Rollins (US)

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