Track Stats


The fastest men and their drug bans

M Hanratty
25 Sep 2021

Gatlin leading, Rodgers, Ogunode, Carter. Photo: Getty.

No event garners the same attention as the 100m; it has the speed, the power and the intensity. Everything can change metre by metre and the outcome is never certain until athletes cross the line—or rather when the results are in from the drug testers sometimes days, months or years later.

The event has its heroes, villains, and villains who used to be heroes. While it draws in the crowds, suspicions continue around its finest performers. It’s easy to see why: 80% of the current all-time top 10 have had a doping ban of some variety.

100m men, all time top 10

Served or serving a ban

Perhaps this is too simplistic though. Is Yohan Blake’s ban for a drug not on WADA’s banned list as bad as the two-time failures (and subsequent lifetime ban) of Steve Mullings? How about Shawn Crawford, who had retired when he received a ban for whereabouts failures? There’s nuance here.

Bans in all-time top 30

Total length in months

With the help of Peter Larsson, we’ve been able to chart the fastest annulled doping marks against the world record. There are three marks that would have surpassed or equalled the world record. Ben Johnson’s illegal mark is the only one that would have obliterated the record (improving it by 0.13 seconds). Justin Gatlin would have equalled Powell’s 9.77, but ironically the American would run a faster legal time (9.74) at the age of 33 than with illegal assistance aged 24.

100m world record progress

Alongside fastest annulled doping marks


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