Athletics is widely regarded as the mother of all global sports and often hogs the limelight at the biggest sporting spectacle of all, The Olympic Games. Athletics at the Summer Olympics does encompass of multiple track and field events and often has a major bearing on how a nation will finish in the medal’s tally at the grandest sporting spectacle.
For over a century, the United States of America has been the dominant powerhouse in Summer Olympics and much of its stellar success has come by way of their supremacy in the sprint events at the Olympics.
Ever since the inception of Summer Olympics in modern history dating back to the 1896, USA has consistently medaled at the track events in athletics and exerted its dominance particularly in the sprint events.
America has a legacy of producing some greats who dominated their sports like never before.
In the build up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, we go back into time and recall the American sprinting greats who were numero uno in their discipline and won a bagful of medals competing under the American flag and bringing honour to United States at the Olympics
Carl Lewis is undoubtedly hailed as the greatest American male sprinter in Olympic history.
In a highly successful Olympic career, Lewis clinched a staggering 9 golds and one silver medal. Lewis equalled Jesse Owen's stupendous feat of winning 4 gold medals at a single edition of the Summer Olympics at the 1984 Los Angeles.
Lewis bagged a hat-trick of medals at the sprints in the 1984 Los Angeles Games by winning the 100m and 200m sprints and anchoring the US team to victory in 4*100m relay.
Lewis leapt a distance of 8.54 m to add a record equalling fourth gold medal in the long jump at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
Lewis could defend his 100m title at the 1988 Olympics when his arch rival Ben Johnson was stripped off his gold medal due to testing positive for a banned substance. He added to his ever-swelling Olympic gold medal tally by winning the long jump and rounded off yet another spectacular performance with a silver in the 200m at the Seoul Olympics.
Maurice Greene took over the glorious legacy of American sprinting from Carl Lewis and became the dominant American male sprinter in the 2000s.
Greene proved his prowess at the Olympics when he won Gold in the 100m sprint at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and helped the US relay team become champions in the 4*100m relay.
Greene would go onto add more Olympic silverware to his kitty by winning a bronze in the 100m sprint in the 2004 Olympics and clinch a silver as part of the 4*100 US relay team.
Justin Gatlin’s sheer longevity in being a dominant sprinter at the very pinnacle of sprint events on the international athletic circuit is simply awe inspiring.
Taking over from Maurice Greene as America’s poster boy in sprint events, Gatlin challenged Jamaican great Usain Bolt to the hilt in sprints over the past few editions of the Summer Olympics.
After becoming the 100m Olympic champion and winning a bronze in the 200m at the 2004 Olympics, Gatlin added a bronze and silver in his pet 100m event in the 2012 and 2016 edition of the Olympic Games.
Gatlin was outgunned to second place in the 100m sprint by his fierce rival Usain Bolt in the 2016 Olympics at Rio, he had to contend with bronze in the blue riband event at the 2012 London Games with Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake making it 1-2 for Jamaica.
The legendary American Olympian scripted history of sorts when he became the ever first sprinter to clinch gold medals in the 200m and 400m sprints in the 1996 Olympics at Atlanta.
Johnson grew in stature and etched his name in Olympic history after becoming the first ever athlete to defend his 400m title in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney. Besides his individual accolades, few are cognizant of the fact that Johnson was also part of the US 4*100 m relay team that bagged a gold medal in the 1992 Summer Olympics at Barcelona.