The 100 m is usually held at the beginning of the Olympic athletics programme as this allows athletes to compete in other events held later at the games – many 100 m athletes also compete in the 200 metres and the 4×100 metres relay events.
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The world records for the event have been equalled or broken during the Olympics on seven occasions in the men's category and on twelve occasions in the women's.
Among the competing nations, the United States has had the most success in this event, having won sixteen golds in the men's race and nine in the women's race.
The 100 metres is considered one of the blue ribbon events of the Olympics and is among the highest profile competitions at the games.
It is the most prestigious 100 m race at elite level and is the shortest sprinting competition at the Olympics – a position it has held at every edition except for a brief period between 19, when a men's 60 metres was contested.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica has won three consecutive titles (2008–16).