Athletics at the 1896 Summer Olympics – Men's 100 metres

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Men's 100 metres
at the Games of the I Olympiad
100m sprint 1896 Olympics.jpg
100 metres final
Venue Panathinaiko Stadium
Dates 6 April (first round)
10 April (final)
Competitors 15 from 8 nations
1st, gold medalist(s) Thomas Burke
 United States
2nd, silver medalist(s) Fritz Hofmann
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Alajos Szokolyi
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Francis Lane
 United States
1900 →

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.

15 athletes from 8 nations competed.



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.

  Advance on placement

Heat 1[edit]

Place Athlete Time
1  Francis Lane (USA) 12.2 s
2  Alajos Szokolyi (HUN) 12.8 s
3  Charles Gmelin (GBR) 12.9 s
4  Alphonse Grisel (FRA) Unknown
5  Kurt Doerry (GER) Unknown

Heat 2[edit]

Place Athlete Time
1  Thomas Curtis (USA) 12.2 s
2  Alexandros Chalkokondylis (GRE) 12.8 s
3  Launceston Elliot (GBR) 12.9 s
4  Eugen Schmidt (DEN) Unknown
5  George Marshall (GBR) Unknown

Heat 3[edit]

Place Athlete Time
1  Thomas Burke (USA)[note 1] 11.8 s
2  Fritz Hofmann (GER)[note 1] 12.6 s
3  Friedrich Traun (GER) 13.5 s
4–5 [note 2]  Georgios Gennimatas (GRE) Unknown
 Henrik Sjöberg (SWE) Unknown
  1. ^ a b Both Burke and Hofmann were more well known for middle-distance events rather than sprinting. Burke's time of 11.8s became the inaugural Olympic record.
  2. ^ It is not clear which athlete received which place.


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 and which he won. 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.

Place Athlete Time
1  Thomas Burke (USA) 12.0 s
2  Fritz Hofmann (GER) 12.2 s
3  Francis Lane (USA) 12.6 s
 Alajos Szokolyi (HUN) 12.6 s
5  Alexandros Chalkokondylis (GRE) 12.6 s
 Thomas Curtis (USA) DNS

Lane and Szokolyi are both considered to be bronze medallists by the International Olympic Committee.


  • Lampros, S.P.; Polites, N.G.; De Coubertin, Pierre; Philemon, P.J. & Anninos, C. (1897). The Olympic Games: BC 776 – AD 1896. Athens: Charles Beck.  (Digitally available at
  • Mallon, Bill & Widlund, Ture (1998). The 1896 Olympic Games. Results for All Competitors in All Events, with Commentary. Jefferson: McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0379-9.  (Excerpt available at
  • Smith, Michael Llewellyn (2004). Olympics in Athens 1896. The Invention of the Modern Olympic Games. London: Profile Books. ISBN 1-86197-342-X. 
  • Wallechinsky, David (1984). The Complete Book of the Olympics. Crawfordsville, Indiana: R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company. ISBN 0-14-006632-2.