Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Man from 2040

I just came across this profile of sprinter Usain Bolt by Luke Dittrich in Esquire. A piece:
When the other men reach their top speed, their limit, Usain Bolt continues to accelerate. By the fifty-meter mark, he has caught up to the leader. By the sixty-meter mark, a noticeable gap has emerged between him and the rest of the pack. By the seventy-meter mark, he is covering more than twelve meters of ground — about forty feet — every second, a pace faster than the speed limit for automobiles in most neighborhoods. Nobody has ever moved this fast before under his own power. Usain Bolt's top speed is simply significantly higher than anyone else's, ever. [. . .]

Ethan Siegel, a theoretical astrophysicist at Lewis & Clark College, recently charted a graph to demonstrate that, judging by the incremental progression of the 100-meter world record over the past hundred years, Bolt appears to be operating at a level approximately thirty years beyond that of the expected capabilities of modern man. Mathematically, Bolt belonged not in the 2008 Olympics but the 2040 Olympics. Michael Johnson, the hero of the 1996 Olympic summer games, has made the same point in a different way: A runner capable of beating Bolt, he says, “hasn't been born yet.”
(Via The Browser)


Blogger Barbara Carlson said...

A bolt, indeed!

I wondered as I watched him win, how fast his time would have been if he hadn't turned his head at the last minute and almost imperceptibly slowed down.

8:23 AM  

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