As I pointed out in 1997, over the last quarter of the 20th Century, a narrowing gender gap in Olympic sprinting races is less often proof of the triumph of feminism than proof that runners are getting away with taking more Performance Enhancing Drugs. Because anabolic steroids are artificial male hormones (with some but usually not quite all the virilizing effect of natural male hormones taken out) women get more bang for the buck than men from taking a dose of steroids that is just below the detectable limit. Men start out with an order of magnitude more male hormones than women, so they get less effect from doses that aren’t big enough to get them suspended.
So the fact that the gender gap between the men and women in the Olympic 100 meter finals was likely the narrowest since 1988, suggests that, due to the covid interval, doping was worse in 2021 than in recent Olympics. Sprinters had time to build long term muscle with big doses of steroids over the last 16 months because there was less in-competition drug testing due to fewer competitions and less out-of-competition drug testing due to social distancing and the general official lackadaisicalness of the pandemic era.
Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah ran 10.61 to break Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record of 10.62, while Lamont Marcell Jacobs of Italy ran 9.80, for a gap of 0.81 seconds.
In contrast, in 2016, Usain Bolt won at 9.81 while Thompson-Hera, ran 10.71, for a gap of 0.9 seconds between the gold medalists.
In 1988, the official fastest men’s time was Carl Lewis’s 9.92. So the 1988 gap was, officially, only 0.7 seconds.
However, that was when Florence Griffith-Joyner set the women’s Olympic record at 10.62 seconds but Ben Johnson’s world record of 9.79 was famously thrown out two days later due to even the drug testing systems of 1988 not being fooled, what with Ben being known as “Benoid” to the other runners because the whites of his eyes had turned yellow from all the steroids he was taking. Flo-Jo was not caught, even though, frustrated in late 1987 that she was still working in the nail salon because she kept getting silver medals behind highly muscular women, called up Ben for training advice, then emerged in the spring of 1988 looking like a comic book superheroine.
iSteve commenter prime noticer points out, harshly but perhaps not unfairly:
The magic yam harvest was especially good this year in Jamaica, causing the women to turn in the least plausible results of all time. Old women and literal mothers in their 30s getting faster (and getting braces), sweeping the medals, running 10.7 with ease into a negative wind, even 10.6 (who was the last woman to run this fast…oh right). and most preposterous – the third Jamaican came in 0.15 seconds ahead of the fourth place runner. what? in an Olympic final?
Steve likes to talk about the Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis era, but this was easily the most drugged up, steroided out final in the history of track and field. it would be an outrage, if women’s sports mattered, which they don’t.
Jamaican men, who have finally been cracked down on, didn’t even get to the final. good riddance to these mega users.