The 200 meter dash / race

A 200 meter race is a sprint running event. On an outdoor 400 meter track, the race begins on the curve and ends on the home straight, so a combination of techniques are needed to successfully run the race. To most trained runners, this is a pure power race. A slightly shorter race, called the Stadion and run on a straight track, was the first recorded event at the Ancient Olympics. Because a smaller proportion of the time is spent in the acceleration phase, some athletes run 200 meter at a greater average speed than they do over 100 m, and the men's world record for 200 meter has a higher average speed than that for 100 meter.

In the United States, athletes previously ran the 220-yard dash (201.168 meters) instead of the 200 meters, though the distance is now obsolete. The standard adjustment used for the conversion from times recorded over 220 yards to 200 meter times is to subtract 0.1 seconds, but other conversion methods exist.

It is often a faster race than the 100 meter dash, and attracts runners from that event who wish to double up and claim both titles. This feat has been achieved nine times at the Olympic Games, most recently by Jamaica's Usain Bolt in 2008. An Olympic double of 200 meter and 400 meter was first achieved by Valerie Brisco-Hooks in 1984, and later by Michael Johnson from the United States and Marie-José Pérec of France both in 1996.

The men's world record holder is Usain Bolt, who ran 19.30 s at the 2008 Summer Olympics. The women's world record holder is Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States, who ran 21.34 s at the 1988 Summer Olympics. The reigning Olympic champions are Usain Bolt and Veronica Campbell-Brown, both of whom are from Jamaica.

Because humans use the same muscles for both support and forward speed, the runners in the inside lanes are disadvantaged by centripetal force during the bend phase. Consequently the middle and outer lanes are preferred.