Let it sink in – the 100m races you could watch twice while washing your hands

By Phil Casey, PA
PA Media: Sport

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, the NHS has been reiterating the need for people to follow handwashing guidelines to help prevent contamination.

It is recommended we wash for 20 seconds to get the job done, around twice the time it takes a world-class athlete to run 100 metres.

Here the PA news agency looks back on races from the five fastest men in history that could be watched twice during your next visit to the bathroom sink.**

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Usain Bolt 9.58 seconds – Berlin, August 16, 2009

All 10 athletes in the World Championship final in Berlin had run under 10 seconds and the three fastest men in history at the time – Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell – were side by side in the middle lanes. However, any hopes of a close race were blown out of the water when Bolt made an unusually good start and the Jamaican stormed to victory in a new world record time of 9.58 seconds, lowering his own mark of 9.69secs set a year earlier in the Beijing Olympics.

Tyson Gay 9.69 seconds – Shanghai, September 20, 2009

Tyson Gay set an American record of 9.69 seconds in 2009 (David Jones/PA)
Tyson Gay set an American record of 9.69 seconds in 2009 (David Jones/PA)

Five weeks after clocking 9.71secs in finishing second behind Bolt in Beijing, Gay lowered his national record to 9.69s at the Shanghai Grand Prix. The American was slow out of the blocks but recovered to surge ahead of Asafa Powell, who finished second in 9.85s. American Darvis Patton was third with a time of 9.89s.

Yohan Blake 9.69 seconds – Lausanne, August 23, 2012

Bolt was upstaged by training partner Yohan Blake at the Diamond League meeting, the young pretender becoming the joint second-fastest man in history as he won the 100 metres in 9.69s – into a fractional headwind – shortly before Bolt clocked 19.58s over 200m. “I could tell Yohan would run fast, I’ve seen him in training,” Bolt said. “I predicted 9.72, but he went a little bit faster.”

Asafa Powell 9.72 seconds – Lausanne, September 2, 2008

Former world record holder Powell matched what was then the world’s second-fastest time with a dazzling 9.72s at the IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting in Lausanne. Powell powered clear of Walter Dix and Nesta Carter, who finished in 9.92s and 9.98s respectively. “Maybe I’m just not a guy for those championships,” said Powell, who had been a disappointing fifth in the Olympic final a few weeks earlier.

Justin Gatlin 9.74 seconds – Doha, May 15, 2015

Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin set his personal best in 2015 (David Davies/PA)
Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin set his personal best in 2015 (David Davies/PA)

Gatlin continued to defy his advancing years as he ran a personal best and set a world-leading time of 9.74s at the IAAF Diamond League meet in Doha. The 33-year-old, who returned to the sport in 2010 after a four-year drugs ban, edged out compatriot Michael Rodgers, with Keston Bledman third.

**Bolt has also run 9.63, 9.69 and 9.72

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