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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Sprints and Relays

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A Comprehensive Look at Olympic Sprints and Relays

Jesse Owens won three sprint events, plus the long jump, in the 1936 Olympics

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They're not quite faster than speeding bullets - although one of the great Olympic sprint champions was 1964 gold medalist "Bullet" Bob Hayes - but Olympic sprinters can seem like supermen (and women) with their combination of speed and strength.

About Olympic Sprints and Relays:

Sprint events include the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes plus the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. Individual sprinters, as well as the leadoff relay runners, are the only Olympic runners who begin in starting blocks. Pure speed is more important than strategy but sound technique - particularly when passing the baton in relays - is still important for sprinters.

Olympic Sprint and Relay History:

Americans have won 57 percent of the Olympic individual sprint gold medals (not including the two won by the since-disqualified Marion Jones in 2000). U.S. men have been even more dominant, earning 70 percent of the individual sprint golds during years in which the U.S. competed in the Games.

Action Image Gallery:

Watch the sprinters fly in the following action photo gallery.

The Athletes:

Take a look at the top 2012 Olympic sprint and relay hopefuls, from the U.S. and around the world, then catch up with some familiar names from the past with these selections.

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