Sprinters Keep Getting Better: Even Usain Bolt Can’t Keep Up!
We all know that sprinter Usain Bolt is one of the fastest man in the world. He won gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. His performance was so impressive that he became a worldwide sensation. However, it seems like there are some problems with him.
For example, he is not able to keep up with other humans when running fast. If you want to see how fast he runs, then just watch the video below.
As you can see from the video, Usain Bolt’s time of 9.58 seconds is slower than any human being ever ran before or after him.
In fact, Usain Bolt’s time is slower than the previous record holder for the 100 meters, Yohan Blake. According to this article, Usain Bolt’s time is slower than the old record of 10.25 seconds by Maurice Greene (1922). The new world record is set by American Michael Johnson who ran a world-record time of 9.69 seconds in 2009.
So what does all this mean?
What could possibly be wrong with Usain Bolt?
Why Usain Bolt is not as Fast as he should be
The problem with Usain Bolt seems to be his height. Thanks to an article on this topic, we can get more information about the relationship between sprinters and their height. The link between height and speed was made quite some time ago by Sir Isaac Newton. In his third law of motion, he says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In terms of sprinting, that means that the harder you push forward off the ground with your feet, the harder you have to push against the ground to accelerate your mass. That push against the ground requires force that creates resistance. Simply put, the heavier you are, the more force you can apply to the ground and the faster you can accelerate.
In Bolt’s case, he is taller and heavier than all of his competitors. As a result, he has a disadvantage in that he needs to apply more force against the ground than his competitors do to achieve the same acceleration. By being taller and heavier, Usain Bolt is at a disadvantage of shorter and lighter competitors.
Does this mean that Bolt cannot run as fast?
Not necessarily. Bolt has a powerful build. He also has a great coaching staff and elite training facilities. As a result, he can apply more force in a shorter distance than anyone else in the world. Usain Bolt may not be faster than his competitors. However, he is certainly stronger than them.
So is Usain Bolt still the fastest?
Although 9.58 seconds is a very impressive time for any human being, it’s hard to argue that Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive when he isn’t even the fastest sprinter in his own era. Bolt’s body frame and height work against him. It’s difficult for him to accelerate his heavy body fast enough to achieve elite velocity. Bolt is definitely not the slowest sprinter, but he isn’t the fastest either.
Who is the fastest?
Quite surprisingly, the fastest human beings on earth are not tall and heavy sprinters. They are actually midgets and have dwarf like bodies. Their bodies are so proportioned that they can achieve maximum acceleration in minimal distances. They have short but powerful calf muscles.
Sources & references used in this article:
‘Sprinting’chips could push phones to the speed limit by U Bolt – 2010 – HarperCollins UK
You can’t teach speed: sprinters falsify the deliberate practice model of expertise by MG Leoni – Revista Tempos e Espaços em Educação, 2020 – seer.ufs.br
Professor Usain Bolt welcomes you to the schoolyard: Physics for champions by MP Lombardo, RO Deaner – PeerJ, 2014 – peerj.com
Running Technique by K Vourlias, F Seroglou – The Physics Teacher, 2016 – aapt.scitation.org
Ultimate Sports Heroes-Usain Bolt: The Fastest Man on Earth by L Beil – Science News, 2009 – Wiley Online Library