Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Emma from Auckland. Emma Wonders, “Who is the fastest female runner in the world?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Emma!

On your mark . . . get set . . . GO! Have you ever heard that phrase before? If so, you may have watched or taken part in a good old-fashioned foot race. For a long time, school yards all over the world have been the site of races between students.

Today, running remains a popular form of exercise enjoyed by people of all ages. While some people prefer to walk or jog and others prefer long-distance endurance races, some people still prefer the thrill of the quick sprint.

A key event in high school track and field competitions, as well as at college-level and Olympic competitions, is the 100-meter sprint. In America, you might have heard this race referred to as the 100-yard dash, since Americans don’t always use the metric system. One hundred yards equates to only 91.4 meters, so the 100-yard dash is actually a shorter race.

The 100-meter sprint is usually the shortest race, yet it remains one of the most popular and prestigious events in the world of sports. In fact, the winners of the men’s and women’s 100-meter sprint races at the Olympics are often considered the fastest people in the world. The current men’s record is held by Usain Bolt. But who is the fastest woman?

That title belongs to the one and only Florence Griffith-Joyner. Known as “Flo-Jo” by her many fans, Griffith-Joyner has held the women’s world record in the 100-meter sprint since 1988. Her time was 10.49 seconds. However, some people dispute this record. They point to possible wind conditions and allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. Despite this, Griffith-Joyner’s record still stands.

The most recent woman to take the 100-meter gold at the Olympics, though, was Elaine Thompson of Jamaica. She ran the race in 10.71 seconds in 2016. Before that, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was the reigning champion of the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Fraser-Pryce’s best time is still faster than Thompson’s, at 10.70 seconds.

Of course, several other runners deserve mention. One is Carmelita Jeter, who ran the 100-meter sprint in 10.78 seconds to take the silver medal in 2012. Jeter’s fastest time to date is the second-lowest on record, at 10.64 seconds. Marion Jones is another name to watch for—with a best time of 10.65, she can give most athletes a RUN for their money.

Do you dream of running the 100-meter sprint at the Olympics one day? If so, you can start preparing today. Be sure to eat plenty of healthy food and get the right amount of exercise. If you’re serious about running, join a track team at school or in your community. These offer a great chance to practice and become a better runner.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1

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