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Women's World Records

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


Women's Track & Field world records, as recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

1. 100 Meters

Sep 1988: Florence Griffith-Joyner of the USA in action at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. Griffith-Joyner won gold medals in the 100 and 200 Metres events.
Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty Images
Florence Griffith-Joyner, USA, 10.49. When Griffith-Joyner set her record in the 100, at the U.S. Olympic trials in 1988, the track's wind meter showed that other runners 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. Nevertheless, Griffith-Joyner's mark is recognized by the IAAF as the 100-meter standard.

2. 200 Meters

Florence Griffith-Joyner, USA, 21.34. Griffith-Joyner set her mark at the 1988 Olympics. She broke the 200-meter world record twice in Seoul, winning her semifinal heat in 21.56 seconds - beating the former record by .15 - then shattering her own mark in the final.

3. 400 Meters

Marita Koch, East Germany, 47.60. Like Florence Griffith-Joyner, 400 meter record-holder Marita Koch of East Germany never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but she was suspected due to her country's since-revealed doping program. Koch retired prior to 1989, when stricter drug testing began. She set her mark in 1985 at the IAAF World Cup in Australia.

4. 800 Meters

Jarmila Kratochvilova of the Czech Republic (then still part of Czechoslovakia) set the 800 world record almost by accident. Her time of 1:53.28, set on July 26, 1983, is currently the longest-standing individual track and field record. She originally traveled to the Munich, Germany event only to tune up for the forthcoming world championships, and only to run in her specialty, the 400. She switched to the 800 after suffering leg cramps that, she felt, would make it difficult for her to run the shorter sprint race.

5. 1,000 Meters

In a two-month span in 1996, Russian Svetlana Masterkova won two Olympic Gold medals – in the 800 and 1500 – then set two world records that continue to stand. She established the 1000-meter record (2:28.98) in Brussels, Belgium on Aug. 23.

6. 1500 Meters

Chinese runners dominated many middle- and long-distance events in the 90s, led by several competitors trained by legendary coach Ma Zunren. Two of those runners, Yunxia Qu and Wang Junxia, both shattered the women’s 1500-meter record in a meet held in Beijing on Sept. 11, 1993, with Qu winning the race in 3:50.46, taking two seconds off the previous mark.

7. One Mile

Svetlana Masterkova of Russia set the world record in her first-ever mile run, with a time of 4:12.56 at a meet in Zurich, Switzerland on Aug. 14, 1996.

Read more about Masterkova's record-breaking run.

8. 2000 Meters

Best known for her accomplishments in the 5000, Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan dominated several shorter events in 1994 and 1995. She set the 2000-meter record in Edinburgh on July, 8, 1994, with a time of 5:25.36.

9. 3000 Meters

On Sept. 13, 1993, during the Chinese National Games, Junxia Wang reduced the 3000-meter record by 16.5 seconds, winning the event in 8:06.11.

10. 5000 Meters

Tirunesh Dibaba finished strong to set the 5000-meter mark of 14:11.15 during an IAAF meet in Oslo, Norway on June 6, 2008. Taking aim at the record, the Ethiopian followed the pacesetter through 3000 meters in 8:38.38, three seconds behind the record pace. Dibaba's older sister Ejegayehu helped pace Tirunesh for about the next 600 meters. The younger Dibaba then ran the final lap in just under 1:04.


Read more about Tirunesh Dibaba.

Related Video
Profile of Florence Griffith-Joyner

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