World Athletics Championships 1980 – 2013
Its sometimes seems as though Jamaica has dominated the sprints for decades but the memory can play tricks. 17 of its 23 gold medals have come in the three Championships since 2009 and, in the five Championships between 1997 and 2005, it won just one gold.
Jamaica has the top two medallists in history comprising Merlene Ottey with 14 medals and Usain Bolt with 10 medals, 8 of them gold. Bolt will surely increase his tally in 2015.
But the United States has the best overall record by some margin. Its many medallists include Carl Lewis and Allyson Felix, with 10 medals and 8 golds apiece, but Felix should be able to overtake Lewis in Beijing. Michael Johnson also has 8 gold medals and would have a ninth had relay teammate, Antonio Pettigrew, not been disqualified for doping.
The Bahamas only has a population of around 300,000 which makes its performance in sprinting events extraordinary, particularly its strength in depth. Six of its medals and two of its gold medals have been secured by winning relays. Its most successful athlete is Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (above), who has won a total of 4 medals, 2 of them gold.
For the purposes of this table, a sprinting event is defined as any event on the track in which the runners cover 400m or less, including all of the hurdles event and the relays.
Medals from the 1980 World Championship women’s hurdles in Sittard are included.
|Trinidad and Tobago||2||4||5||11|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||1||0||4||5|