Top 10 Fastest People in History

Humans can be quite fast. Not as fast as some animals, but fast nonetheless. While a lot of the human speed comes down to genetics, the world’s fastest humans also require a lot of training to maximize their speed. Unsurprisingly, the world’s fastest humans are all professional sprinters who have trained hard for years to reach the average speeds they eventually reached. Here are the currently 10 fastest people in recorded history, measured by their recorded top speeds over 100 meters or equivalent hourly top average speed times.

The 10 Fastest People in History

(as of December 2019)

9.58 s / 100 m = 37.6 km/h (23.4 mph)
9.69 s /100 m = 37.2 km/h (23.1 mph) opposing wind strength
9.69 s /100 m = 37.2 km/h (23.1 mph) following wind strength
9.72 s /100m = 37.04 km/h (23.01 mph)
9.74 s /100m = 36.96 km/h (22.97 mph)
9.76 s /100m = 36.89 km/h (22.92 mph)
9.78 s /100m = 36.81 km/h (22.87 mph)
9.79 s /100m = 36.77 km/h (22.85 mph)
9.80 s /100m = 36.73 km/h (22.83 mph)
9.82 s /100m = 36.66 km/h (22.78 mph)

1. Usain Bolt

fastest human in history - usain bolt

Date of Birth: August 21, 1986
Place of Birth: Sherwood Content, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica
Nationality: Jamaican

Usain Bolt is the fastest human in history by average top speed. The Jamaican was born in 1986 in Sherwood Content, a small town in Northern Jamaica. Bolt first dreamed of becoming either a professional football (soccer) or cricket player, but his school PE teacher noticed Bolt’s remarkable running speed and urged him to focus on track and field instead. Bolt listened to his coach and subsequently became the world’s fastest human. At the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany, Usain Bolt set a new world record by running 100 meters in 9.58 seconds. A world record that remains unbroken to date.

2. Yohan Blake

second fastest human in history

Date of Birth: December 26, 1989
Place of Birth: Saint James Parish, Jamaica (city unknown)
Nationality: Jamaican

Much like the fastest human on Earth, the second fastest is Jamaican as well. Yohan Blake was born in 1989 in a small town in the Western Jamaican Parish of Saint James. Like Bolt, Blake originally wanted to become a professional cricket player, but changed his focus after his school’s principal urged him to try sprinting after realizing how fast Blake was. When Usain Bolt was once asked to name the one human who could seriously challenge him, his answer was Yohan Blake. Blake certainly came close when he ran 100 meters in 9.69 seconds at an athletics event in Lausanne, Switzerland.

3. Tyson Gay

fastest people in history - third

Date of Birth: August 9, 1982
Place of Birth: Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Nationality: American

Tyson Gay is the third fastest human and fastest non-Jamaican in history. The American professional sprinter was born in 1982 in Lexington, Kentucky. His physical speed was almost a genetic certainty as his sprinter genes may have been given to him by his grandmother, who sprinted for the Eastern Kentucky University, and/or his mother, who also ran in her high school years. It should therefore be no surprise that Gay stepped into his mother’s and grandmother’s footsteps and became a professional sprinter himself. He quickly started to break national record after record. In 2009, at an athletics event in Shanghai, China, Gay ran 100 meters in 9.69 seconds and is therefore practically as fast as Yohan Blake. He is being ranked behind Blake only because Gay’s sprint was wind-assisted.

4. Asafa Powell

fastest people in history - fourth

Date of Birth: November 23, 1982
Place of Birth: Spanish Town, Saint Catherine Parish, Jamaica
Nationality: Jamaican

Asafa Powell is yet another Jamaican who belongs to the fastest people in history. Born in 1982 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Powell grew up as the youngest of six sons of two Christian ministers. All of his brothers showed a great physical prowess and speed from their earliest ages on and his oldest brother, Donovan Powell, went on to become a sprinter as well. Yet, in the end, the youngest sibling proved to be the fastest: Asafa Powell ran 100 meters in 9.72 at an athletics event in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2008. He is now ranked as the fourth fastest human in history.

5. Justin Gatlin

Date of Birth: February 10, 1982
Place of Birth: New York City, New York, USA
Nationality: American

Justin Gatlin completes the Top 5 of fastest people in history. Gatlin was born in New York City in 1982, but mainly grew up in Pensacola, Florida. The American first played American football in high school but eventually made the switch to the track. Unfortunately, his career as a professional sprinter almost ended quickly and abruptly in 2006 when he received a 4-year ban for testing positive for doping substances containing testosterone. Gatlin afterwards tried to return to American football, but failed to make it onto the NFL rosters of both the Houston Texans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Instead, Gatlin returned to the track in 2010 and proved that you can still be a successful sprinter in your 30s. Gatlin ran his personal best (100 meters in 9.74 seconds) in 2015, at the age of 33, at an athletics even in Doha, Qatar. In 2019, at the age of 37, he also became the oldest sprinter in history to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships.

6. Christian Coleman

Image result for christian coleman

Date of Birth: March 6, 1996
Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Nationality: American

7. Nesta Carter

Image result for nesta carter

Date of Birth: October 11, 1985
Place of Birth: Banana Ground, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica
Nationality: Jamaican

8. Maurice Greene

Image result for maurice green

Date of Birth: July 23, 1974
Place of Birth: Kansas City, Kansas, USA
Nationality: American

9. Steve Mullings

Image result for steve mullings

Date of Birth: November 28, 1982
Place of Birth: Saint Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica (city unknown)
Nationality: Jamaican

10. Richard Thompson

Image result for richard thompson trinidad

Date of Birth: June 7, 1985
Place of Birth: Cascade, Diego Martin Region, Trinidad & Tobago
Nationality: Trinidadian

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