Bolt in Perspective
It's difficult to fathom what running a few tenths or hundreds really mean but when I looked at raw data, the numbers behind Bolt's achievement gets clearer. Let's start with the 100m...
Bolt ran 9.69 comfortably. We all saw that. His reaction off the blocks was 0.032 seconds slower than the fastest reaction and yet he was two-tenths of a second faster than the world's second best. Everyone else ran the race of their lives with Personal Best times (PB) and National Record (NR) times and yet they weren't anywhere near Bolt at the finish line.
Here are the fastest 100m runners ever.
It has been shown that tail wind and head wind play a role in the final times. Research has shown that a tail wind of 1m/s improves the overall time by 0.05 seconds and that a head wind of 1m/s slows you by 0.07 seconds. So I've listed the wind speed and calculated a probable time if it were not for the wind.
|Actual Time||Wind(m/s)||Zero Wind Time||Athlete|
Only 4 runners ever in history have run less than 9.7 seconds. However if consider the wind, no one other than Bolt has run less than 9.8 seconds. Bolt with zero wind ran 9.69. More than a tenth of a second faster than any sprinter ever. In 1968 the WR was 9.95. In nearly 40 years the record had been chopped by 0.21 seconds a feat achieved in steps by many athletes chipping away bit by bit. Usain won the Beijing finals by 0.2 seconds with his shoe laces untied by the way. Can he really be that much better than anyone else ever?
Usain's favorite event. The results are even more startling. When Michael Johnson set the 19.32 no one thought it could be matched. It was a freakish record with no man ever running less than 19.6 seconds ever. But then there is always a freak of nature.
|1||BOLT Usain (JAM)||19.3||0.182||WR|
|2||CRAWFORD Shawn (USA)||19.96||0.21|
|3||DIX Walter (USA)||19.98||0.151|
|4||DZINGAI Brian (ZIM)||20.22||0.185|
|5||MALCOLM Christian (GBR)||20.4||0.212|
|6||COLLINS Kim (SKN)||20.59||0.165|
The win by 0.66 seconds is the greatest in history. Gone are those days of a photo finish. was no one except him in the photo of his finish. He ran 19.3 seconds. Johnson didn't think he could do it this race but he was there in the BBC box to watch his record being broken. Was that fast? Yes. But could it have been faster? Definitely. Bolt ran the race against a head wind of 0.9 m/s.
Here are the fastest 200m runners ever.
|Rank||Time||Wind(m/s)||Zero Wind Time||Athlete|
Bolt ran 19.3 with a 0.9 head wind. Johnson ran his 19.32 with a tail wind of 0.4 m/s. In my opinion the real difference almost 2/10 of a second. Everyone knows that the average 100m speed of a 200m is faster than the 100m as you can run the second 100 in the 200 much faster than an off the block start. But look at the average times from the fastest 200m runners. Apart from Bolt and Johnson the others all have a 100m average spped of greater than 9.8 seconds. In essence Bolt's 100m 9.69 from a dead start is faster than the other fastest sprinters' 100m times of a running start. Incredible!
|100m average for 200m|
I don't need all these numbers to conclude that Bolt's race times are out of this world. You just have to watch the race, and see him finish meters ahead of the world's best athletes and know that if all the others are fastest humans in the world then he surely must be Superman! I would call him that, but I hear he prefers Lightning Bolt.
Shine on Bolt. Shine on!