Over the decades, athletics has been a cornerstone of the Summer Olympics since its inaugural edition in 1896, and its road to the Games was a long and winding one.
It is hard to look past athletics as the sport that has grown the most in terms of impact on global sports fans. The 2021 Tokyo Olympics are slated to kick off July 23, with young and experienced athletes looking to make their mark on history.
Since its inclusion at the Olympics, there have been thousands of athletes who have made their marks and endeared themselves to millions of fans around the world.
While glimpses of brilliance are there for everyone to see, let us track down the five most dominant male sprinters in the world who have broken the mould and sparked on the highest stage.
#5 Linford Christie - 3 Medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver)
Nationality: Great Britain
1988 Seoul Olympics: 100m (Silver), 4x100m relay (Silver)
1992 Barcelona Olympics: 100m (Gold)
One of the most decorated British athletes of all time, Linford Christie won a gold medal in 100m at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
At the Seoul Olympics in 1988, he won two silver medals each for the 100m and 4x100m relay events. To date, he remains the only British athlete to have secured gold medals in 100m at all four major events, namely, the Olympics, the World Championships, the European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.
If one were to reminisce, Christie would not have a dazzling early track career to hold back on. He could not match up to his expectations at the 1984 Summer Olympics qualifying events, until the Jamaican-born Briton began to fulfill his potential under the guidance of former sprinter Ron Roddan.
#4 Maurice Greene - 4 Medals (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze)
2000 Sydney Olympics: 100m (Gold), 4x100m Relay (Gold)
2004 Athens Olympics: 100m (Bronze), 4x100m Relay (Silver)
A five-time world champion, Maurice Greene won four medals during the course of his Olympic career.
As a member of the United States Team, he won two golds each in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, followed by a silver and a bronze medal in the 4x100mrelay and 100m events respectively at the Athens Olympics.
He was one of the most dominant sprinters in history, as he held the world record in the 100m dash from 1999-2005. Having failed to qualify for the Atlanta Games, he soon moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of realizing his truest potential.
He is still best known for his world 100m record of 9.79 at the World Championships in 1999.
#3 Justin Gatlin - 5 Medals (1 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze)
2004 Athens Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Bronze), 4x100m Relay (Silver)
2012 London Olympics: 100m (Bronze)
2016 Rio Olympics: 100m (Silver)
Popularly regarded as the ageless wonder of the track world, Justin Gatlin began his Olympic reign at the 2004 Athens Olympics where he won gold, silver, and bronze in the 100m, 4x100m relay and 200m competitions respectively.
Gatlin became the oldest man to make a United States Olympic team in a sprint event when he won the 100m title in the U.S. Olympic trial competitions. In 2012, he won bronze in the 100m individual competition.
Gatlin is the only sprinter to have edged the great Usain Bolt in a 100m event since the 2012 London Olympics. He proved his mettle again the following Olympic year when he clocked the second-fastest timing in 200m, establishing himself as an Olympic medal favorite.
#2 Carl Lewis - 6 Medals (5 Gold, 1 Silver)
1984 Los Angeles Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Gold), 4x100m Relay (Gold)
1988 Seoul Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Silver), 4x100m Relay (Gold)
For all intents and purposes, Carl Lewis should be higher on this list. He was truly an Olympic mainstay from 1984 to 1996.
He racked up a total of six gold medals in sprinting competitions during his remarkable career at the Games.
One of the most successful sprinters of all time, Lewis dominated in multiple sprinting events, namely the 100m dash and the 200m dash, and the long jump events.
Lewis established himself as an elite athlete at a very young age. He participated in four Olympic Games and matched legend Jesse Owens' remarkable haul of four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Never before has an athlete dominated for so long across multiple events in the Olympic track and field. One ponders, had it not been for the next two, he would then be the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.
#1 Usain Bolt - 8 Gold Medals
2008 Beijing Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Gold)
2012 London Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Silver), 4x100m Relay (Gold)
2016 Rio Olympics: 100m (Gold), 200m (Gold), 4x100m Relay (Gold)
Usain Bolt is the most dominant male sprinter in the history of the Olympics. He holds the record for the most overall Olympic medals with 8 in sprinting.
Considered the benchmark for greatness, Bolt was responsible for establishing Jamaican dominance in sprinting.
He won three gold medals each in 100m and 200m races, and followed it up with two golds in the 4x100m relay events.