Sprint and sprint relay races have a different starting procedure than longer events. When the starter announces "on your marks," sprinters must place both hands and at least one knee in contact with the ground while both feet are in contact with the starting blocks. The "set" command, which is only used in sprint and sprint relay races, then follows. Sprinters rise to their final starting positions while their hands retain contact with the ground and their feet remain in the starting blocks as they await the starting gun.
What to Look For:
Men's World Records:
Bolt and Powell teamed with fellow Jamaicans Nesta Carter and Michael Frater to win the 2008 Olympic 4 x 100 gold medal in the record-breaking time of 37.10 seconds, topping the previous mark of 37.40 by the 1992 U.S. Olympic team led by Carl Lewis. Lewis and fellow Americans Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell and Floyd Heard set the 4 x 200 record (1:18.68) in 1994. The U.S. team of Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds and Johnson established the 4 x 400 record (2:54.29) in 1993.
Women's World Records:
When Griffith-Joyner set her record in the 100, the track's wind meter showed that runners in other events received wind assistance. But the meter showed that Griffith-Joyner, nicknamed "Flo-Jo," received none, causing some to suggest that the meter was malfunctioning during the 100. Additionally, Flo-Jo's bulked-up physique led to accusations that she used performance-enhancing drugs. Griffith-Joyner always denied those allegations and never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Griffith-Joyner's retirement, just prior to the implementation of stricter drug tests in 1989, added to the speculation.
Like Griffith-Joyner, 400 meter record-holder Marita Koch of East Germany never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but was suspected due to her country's since-revealed doping program. Koch also retired prior to 1989. She set her mark of 47.6 seconds in 1985 at the IAAF World Cup in Australia.
East Germany also holds the world record in the 4 x 100 relay (41.37). The U.S. owns the 4 x 200 record (1:27.46) while the Soviet Union has the 4 x 400 mark (3:15.17).