32¢ Men’s Sprints
1996 Summer Olympics
Issue Date: May 2, 1996
City: Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
In the exciting track and field event of sprinting, runners race with an all-out burst of speed. Sprinting events were among the most important competition of the ancient Olympic games of the Greeks. In fact, no race over 4800 meters was held at the ancient games, and most were much shorter sprint distances. Today, races of 400 meters or less are considered sprints.
At the first modern games in 1896, men competed in races of 100 and 400 meters in length. At the 1900 games, the 200-meters race was added. The first Olympic race held for women was the 100 meters at the 1928 games. In 1948, the 200 meters was added, and then 16 years later, in 1964, the 400 meters became part of women’s Olympic competition.
A 400-meter oval track is used to stage sprinting events. The track is marked in lanes, and sprinters must stay in their lane for the entire race. In races which involve curves on the track, the runners start at staggered intervals to equalize the distance to be run.
In modern times, improved tracks, shoes, and training methods have enabled athletes to push the envelope of sprinting. None of the current Olympic gold-medal-winning world records for men’s or women’s sprinting events are older than the 1988 games.