The men's 100 metres race was the first event run at the modern Olympics, on 6 April 1896. It was the shortest race on the Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics programme. 21 athletes were entered in the first round, divided into three heats of seven runners, but six of them later withdrew. The top two athletes in each heat advanced to the final, which took place on 10 April.
The first round of heats took place on 6 April. The first heat of the 100 metres was the first competition held in the Games. Francis Lane won the first heat, thus becoming the first winner of a modern Olympic race. All heats were won by athletes from the United States.
The final of the 100 metre race, run on 10 April, involved the six runners who had finished in the top two of their preliminary heats. Thomas Curtis withdrew to save himself for the 110 metre hurdles, which was the next race on the program. Burke beat his companion from the third heat, Hofmann, by two meters. Lane and Szokolyi dead-heated for third place, with Chalkokondylis six inches behind them.
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