Could Florence Griffith Joyner’s 100m record from 1988 be even more impressive? Her time of 10.49 has not been passed or even approached. Even ignoring that time for the controversy that there may have been wind, despite the anemometer registering zero, her second-best time of 10.61 and third-best time of 10.62, both also recorded in 1988, have not been passed. The closest was Carmelita Jeter, at 10.64 in 2009. This year’s top in the Rio Olympics was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, at 10.70.
Flo-Jo’s times have stood for 28 years and are still going. This is already approaching the range for the expected time at which Usain Bolt’s record will be passed. Like Bolt, Flo-Jo never tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs, and was likely among the most-scrutinized athletes of all-time in that regard.
Bolt has certainly maintained his dominance for longer, but there are also other factors at play. Flo-Jo was never able to secure the type of endorsements and international fame Bolt has enjoyed, and, quite the opposite, was routinely booed and hated on by overseas fans. She also had medical problems that resulted in seizures in the 1990s, and it was ultimately a seizure that killed her in 1998 at the age of 38. Ironically, one of the treatments for the types of seizures she had is steroids.