The best world record: Florence Griffith-Joyner – 21.34, Seoul 1988
GRIFFITH-JOYNER won Olympic and world 200m silver in 1984 and 1987 but a new model emerged in Olympic year and she came close to the world record in winning the US Olympic trials in 21.77.
In the Seoul Olympics, she smashed the world mark with 21.56 in her semi-final, which she won by half a second.
One hour 40 minutes later she lined up in the final.
After a bend of 11.18, she started to pull away in the straight, which was not surprising as she ran the middle 100m in 9.81. Most of the gap over the rest came in the last 50 metres, where it appeared she was accelerating.
She was, in fact, slowing significantly – just at a lesser rate than her opponents. In her very last 200m, Griffith-Joyner won in 21.34, over three metres clear of Grace Jackson even though the Jamaican ran 21.72 compared to the 21.71 world record mark which had stood until earlier that day.
No one has run faster than 21.62 in the 30 years since.
Result: F Griffith-Joyner (USA) 21.34; G Jackson (JAM) 21.72; H Drechsler (GDR) 21.95; M Ottey (JAM) 21.99; S Möller (GDR) 22.09; G Torrence (USA) 22.17; M Azarachvili (URS) 22.33; Galina Malchugina (URS) 22.42
100m: 11.18 (4.89), 150m: 16.10 (4.92), 200m:
Florence GriffithJoyner: still holds the women’s 200m record