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1560s, "to spring, dart," from Old Norse spretta "to jump up." Meaning "to run a short distance at full speed" first recorded 1871. Related: Sprinted; sprinting.
1865, from sprint (v.).
in bicycle racing, a competition over a 1,000-metre (1,094-yard) course (500-metre for women) with time taken only over the last 200 metres (219 yards).