What is the World Record for the 200 meter Hurdles?

With all the hype over Tyson Gay’s attempt in breaking Tommie Smith’s 200 meter straightaway World Record of 19.5, lost in the hype is the potential 200 meter Hurdles World Record.

The 200 meter hurdles WR is really the “equivalent” 220 yard hurdles WR, which is approximately 201.2 meters.

On April 2, 1960 in a dual meet, Don Styron ran a time of 21.9 (adjusted to 22.14 FAT) for the straightaway 220 yard low hurdles.  That record is now over 50 years old!  Now that’s old!  (Wait a minute.. I’m almost 50 years old!)

For some perspective, Jesse Owens ran 22.6 (breaking the previous WR of 23.0 seconds) in the meet  where he set or tied 6 World Records in a 45 minute span on May 25, 1935.

Recently, the fastest FAT recorded time is 22.55 by Laurent Ottoz of Italy in 1995.  Ottoz was a 400mH with a PR of 48.52.

In today’s Great Manchester City Games, the two contenders with a chance of breaking the WR are Bershawn Jackson and Felix Sanchez.  Jackson has a 47.30 PR and a 21.03 200 meter flat PR.  The aging Sanchez has PRs of 47.25 and 20.87 respectively.

Will Don Styron’s 22.14 world record be broken?

If you want to see how they make a track on a road surface, see my article on the The Making of Manchester and Temporary Tracks

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