No female has broken the 100m ’10 second barrier’, or even been close. Males, however, have a list of sub-10 seconders. There are 136 men who have run sub-10 second 100m sprints (2, 7). One naturally wonders how populous a list of males running faster than 10.49s would be. Well, it’s a long list, too extensive to plot from 1988 onwards. But in 2017 alone, the last full season of races, 744 senior males ran 100m faster than 10.49s for a combined total of 2825 runs.
But forget 58 senior males running at Olympic level. She’s not beating 64 junior UK males who have ever run under 10.49s (10). The most well-tuned, explosive woman who ever trained her eye down a 100m track is beaten by 64 bumfluffed British juniors.
She’s also not faster than lots of males who don’t run track professionally.
This 10% performance gap between males and females is not just evident in runners but in other speed events such as swimming, cycling and rowing.
The 10% performance gap starts to widen as we stretch our search beyond speed . . . In jumping events, the gap is around 15% (2) and in throwing events, it is 20-30+% . . . [t]he final event type I will consider, one relying on sheer muscular strength, provides the most clear cut difference in male and female ability.
Males are faster. Males are stronger. The performance gap between male and female athletes is utterly astounding; it’s not a “gap”, it’s the Grand Canyon. Without sex-segregated sporting categories, the most wonderful 10.49s that female athletics has ever seen would be a footnote in history. We owe it to the female sports stars of today and to the girls who aspire to be tomorrow’s sporting heroes to fight for their right to take home gold.