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Women's World Records

World records for each women's track and field event recognized by the IAAF.


21. 4 x 800-Meter Relay

USSR (Nadezhda Olizarenko, Lyubov Gurina, Lyudmila Borisova, Irina Podyalovskaya), 7:50.17.

22. High Jump

Stefka Kostadinova tied fellow Bulgarian Ludmila Andonova's record of 2.07 meters on May 25, 1986, then broke the mark six days later with a leap of 2.08. She set the current record at the World Championships in Rome on Aug. 30, 1987, despite an inauspicious start, having missed her first qualifying jump at 1.91 meters (6 feet, 3¼ inch) on the initial day of competition. The following day she employed a speedier approach to out-jump her competition, all of whom dropped out by the time Kostadinova asked that the bar be raised to 2.09 (6 feet, 10¼ inches). She missed her first two attempts but cleared the bar on her final try.

23. Pole Vault

Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Russian Yelena Isinbaeva had an unusual 2009 season. She set an indoor world mark - which was later broken - in February of that year, leaping 5.00 meters (16 feet, 4¾ inches). She then had a sub-par outdoor season and shockingly no-heighted at the World Championships before rebounding by leaping a record 5.06 meters (16 feet, 7¼ inches) in Zurich on Aug. 28. Isinbayeva entered the competition by clearing 4.71/15-5½. She clinched the meet victory by clearing 4.81/15-9¼, then had the bar moved to 5.06, which she cleared on her first try.

24. Long Jump

The women's long jump record was broken four times from 1976-78 then another six times from 1982 to 1988. Galina Chistyakova of the former Soviet Union tied the mark, then held by Heike Drechsler and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, of 7.45 meters at a meet in Leningrad on June 11, 1988, then Chistyakova promptly beat it at the same meet with a jump of 7.52 meters (24 feet, 8¼ inches).

25. Triple Jump

Inessa Kravets, Ukraine, 15.50 meters (50 feet, 10¼ inches).

26. Shot Put

Natalya Lisovskaya, Russia, 22.63 meters (74 feet, 3 inches).

27. Discus Throw

Gabriele Reinsch, Germany, 76.80 meters (252 feet). It took awhile before Gabriele Reinsch found her niche in sports. She began as a high jumper before moving on to throwing events - first the shot put, then the discus. On July 9, 1998 during an East Germany-Italy meet in Neubrandenburg, East Germany, Reinsch’s first throw sailed 76.80 meters, breaking Zdenka Silhava’s old mark of 74.56/244-7. East Germany’s Martina Hellmann threw 78.14/256-4 later in 1988, but the attempt occurred during an unofficial meet and was not eligible for world record consideration.

28. Hammer Throw

Betty Heidler, Germany, 79.42 meters (260 feet, 6 inches). Heidler had established her previous personal best of 77.12/253-0 at the 2009 World Championships, only to finish second behind Anita Wlodarczyk's world record throw of 77.96/255-9. After Wlodarczyk improved her mark to 78.30/256-10 in 2010, Heidler turned the tables with her third-round toss during a meet in Halle, Germany on May 21, 2011.

Read more about Betty Heidler.

29. Javelin Throw

Barbora Spotakova, Czech Republic, 72.28 meters (237 feet, 1 inch). Barbora Spotakova was a former heptathlete who began specializing in the javelin at the urging of her countryman, three-time Olympic javelin gold medal winner Jan Zelezny. A strong starter throughout her career, Spotakova established the women's world mark with a throw measuring 72.28 meters on her first attempt at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Germany on Sept. 13, 2008.

30. Heptathlon

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, USA, 7,291 points.  Joyner-Kersee first broke the world heptathlon record in 1986, scoring 7,148 points to beat East German Sabine John’s mark by 202 points. Joyner-Kersee improved her record the next month, then again in 1988, bringing the mark up to 7, 215 entering the 1988 Olympics.

In Seoul, Joyner-Kersee opened better than all the top contenders with a time of 12.69 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, then cleared 1.86 meters (6 feet, 1¼ inches) in the high jump. She closed the first day by throwing the shot 15.80/51-10 and running the 200 in 22.56 seconds. Joyner-Kersee began day two with her best event, the long jump, leaping 7.27/23-10¼, an Olympic heptathlon record. She then scored her lowest point total for any event, 776, by throwing the javelin 45.66/149-9, leaving her behind the world record pace. But she more than made up for that in the final event, the 800-meter run, finishing five seconds faster than necessary, with a time of 2:08.51. She won the long jump gold medal five days later with an Olympic record leap measuring 7.40/24-3¼.

31. Decathlon

Austra Skujyte, Lithuania, 8,358 points.

32. 4 x 1500-Meter Relay

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

 Kenya (Mercy Cherono, Faith Kipyegon, Irene Jelagat, Hellen Obiri), 16: 33.58. Kenya won the first IAAF World Relays 4 x 1500-meter relay title on May 24, 2014, while shattering the old world mark of 17:05.72 set Kenya earlier that year. The Kenyans opened a huge lead midway through the race, then anchor runner Obiri closed with a 4:06.9 split to secure the victory, and the record.

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