Every four years, the Summer Olympics enable athletes to measure themselves against their peers by chasing a hatful of records. Some overcome odds for a podium finish, others make an impact that lives through centuries.
As we anticipate the fall of more records in Tokyo this year, the world's elite competitors will be busy chasing the elusive Olympic glory.
From epic photo finishes to giant leaps, there are Olympic records that may well stand the test of time.
Dominance of US female athletes at Summer Olympics
The United States' emergence as a global force in the international sporting domain is secret to none. And nowhere has this been more on display than at the Summer Olympics. The United States currently sits atop the table with over 800 medals in athletics, the best-ever haul by any country in a single discipline so far.
The women's games at the Summer Olympics have always been hailed for their unrivaled precision and efficiency. This particular custom manifests itself most prominently in athletics, with US athletes like Florence Griffith Joyner, the 4x100m relay team of Carmelita Jeter, Bianca Knight, Allyson Felix, Tianna Madison, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee envied for their immaculate technique and flawless form.
Records held by US female athletes at Summer Olympics
#3 4x100m Relay
4x100m Relay Record - 40:82 seconds (2012 London Olympics)
The 4x100m US quartet of Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight and Carmelita Jeter set eyeballs rolling in London after they clocked an impressive 40.82 seconds to improve the previous standard by a fifty-five hundredths of a second.
The team shattered the previous record of 41.37 seconds, and secured a first-place finish for the first time since the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
#2 Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Heptathlon & Long Jump)
Heptathlon Record - 7,291 points (1988 Seoul Olympics)
Long Jump Record - 7.40m (1988 Seoul Olympics)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee became the first heptathlete to score over 7,000 points in the history of the Summer Olympics.
She delivered two consecutive gold-medal winning performances in the heptathlon in 1988-92 and one in the long jump in 1988.
After missing out on gold by a whisker at the 1984 Summer Olympics, Joyner-Kersee set a world record in heptathlon with 7,291 points for a fourth consecutive time while winning the elusive gold medal at the Summer Olympics in 1988. She leaped to another Olympic record of 7.40m in long jump in the same year.
She represented the United States a total of four times at the Olympics between 1984 and 1996 in the long jump and heptathlon competitions. She won six Olympic medals overall, including three golds.
#1 Florence Griffith-Joyner (100m & 200m Hurdles)
100m Record - 10.62 seconds (1988 Seoul Olympics)
200m Record - 21.34 seconds (1988 Seoul Olympics)
Florence Griffith-Joyner was perhaps the most successful United States female athlete to have competed at the Summer Olympics in 1988.
Joyner's brilliance in Seoul thrust her into the global spotlight as 'the fastest woman of all time'. Her legendary performances in the 100m and 200m dashes left even her competitors in awe.
She went on to set an Olympic record at the 1988 Summer Olympics after her 100m run in an unbelievable 10.62 seconds. The record still stands unbroken.
Apart from 100m, Griffith-Joyner also registered an Olympic record in a 200m sprinting event in the same year. Her record timing of 21.34 seconds remained unbroken for 30 years.
Griffith-Joyner sprinted into Olympics history with a run so impressive that it has inspired generations of Olympians.