Donald Lippincott is the first man to hold the official world record in the 100M and this year marks the centenary of his feat.

   It was on July 6, 1912 that the American ran the 100M in 10.6 seconds in the qualifying rounds of the Stockholm Olympic Games. But he was beaten to third place in the final by compatriots Ralph Craig and Alvah Meyer.

   The record kept changing hands over the years, and according to the International Association of Athletics Federations, 44 men have held or shared the record with 67 ratified marks.

  Americans have dominated the spriting scene, with 26 world record holders emerging from that country alone.
Battle for the top spot
A clutch of top sprinters will vie for the tag of the fastest man in London. Here’s a look at the contenders:

Usain Bolt

Age 26, Jamaica. Best 9.58 seconds
n   The 26-year-old Jamaican holds the world record at 9.58 seconds and is the defending champion in the 100 and 200M. His electrifying runs in Beijing and Berlin elevated him to superstar ranks but fitness and a slow start are his worries on the eve of the Olympics. No less a concern is the form of Yohan Blake, who is turning it on with some power-packed runs.

Yohan Blake
Age 22, Jamaica. Best: 9.75 seconds
n   Blake shot into prominence at the Daegu World Championships last year, clinching the 100M gold after Bolt famously false-started. At 22, he is in prime form and with a best of 9.75 seconds, he  is the world leader this time. The youngest to break the 10-second barrier, a three-month dope suspension marred his 2009 season but Blake is a real beast in the fast lane.

Tyson Gay
Age 29, US. Best: 9.69 seconds
n   World champion in 2007, Gay’s progress has been often derailed by injuries. The arrival of Bolt pushed him to the background but he did show his prowess with runs of 9.71 and 9.69 in 2009. He missed the World Championship last year due to a hip injury and a surgery, is back in the hunt. He was second in the US trials and won the Paris Diamond League on Saturday, in 9.99-seconds.

Justin Gatlin
Age 30, US. Best: 9.80 seconds
n   Olympic champion in 2004, Gatlin returned to the track after a two-year ban for doping. He has improved steadily and his time of 9.80 to win the US trials is the fourth fastest this season.

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