Athletics events are called ‘The most precious jewel in the crown’ in the Olympic family. Athletics events attract maximum attention and participation from the globe. This truly symbolizes the Olympic theme of Citius, Altius, and Fortius.
Among all track events, one event is considered as the blue-eyed boy of the group. It is the 100-meter dash. The winner of it is widely regarded as the fastest man or woman on the planet.
Let us take a look at the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta. In the final of 100 meters for women, wise money was put on two US women. First was Gail Davers. She was the defending champion. The other was Gwen Torrence who was in amazing form. A year before, the latter had won World Championship Gold in both 100 and 4X100 meters. Merlene Ottey was also in superb form. At the age of 36, the Jamaican was searching for her first Olympic Gold.
As per expectations, all 3 qualified for the summit clash without breaking much sweat. In the final race of the event, Gail Devers was in lane 3. Merlene Ottey was in the next lane. Gwen Torrence was drawn in the sixth lane.
With the shot of a gun, Devers led the pack and got an early flashing lead. All the girls began with a speedy explosion. Just when 20 meters were left for the closing, Ottey and Torrence displayed a late burst. Finally, Devers was outrun by both. When the finish line was crossed by all the talents, no one was sure about the outcome.
Suspense remained around the world. Both Ottey and Devers have crossed the finish line at the same time of 10.94. It was the photo finish that gave the final verdict. The final push of the body did the trick for Devers. She became only the second woman in history to defend the 100-meter title. Wyomia Tyus did it in 1964 and 1968 for the same nation.
Chandra Sturrup of Bahamas went down fighting. After putting a spirited fight, she missed bronze by faintest of the margin of .01 seconds. If that was not enough, Marina Trandenkova and her partner from Russia Natalya Voronova touched the tape in 11.06 and 11.10 seconds. They claimed 5th and 6th positions. It seemed that no one wanted to finish last. Mary Onyali (Nigeria) and Zhanna Pintusevich (Ukrain) clocked 11.13 and 11.14 seconds.
Ottey tried her luck in Sydney 2000 again. One of the most decorated athletes again failed to clinch Gold. She could get bronze. It’s a cruel fact that one of the most decorated athletes of all time finished her career with 9 Olympic medals. Out of these, 3 were silvers and 6 were in the color of Bronze. Devers and Torrence faded from the Olympics after it.
Many exciting races of 100-meters for women have been held before and after it. If a list of most intense races will be made, this one will surely feature.