Math Proves It: Usain Bolt Could Be Even Faster

Statistician shows how Bolt could beat his record time
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2012 1:39 PM CDT
Math Proves It: Usain Bolt Could Be Even Faster
Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to win the men's 100 m sprint at the Zagreb Meeting IAAF World Challenge in Zagreb, Croatia, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Sure, Usain Bolt is probably the fastest man to ever live, but one Cambridge math professor doesn't think he's achieved his full potential. In a new study, John Barrow shows that Bolt could shave 0.13 seconds off his world record 9.58-second 100-meter time without doing a lick of extra conditioning, the Telegraph reports. For starters, if Bolt could react to the starting gun faster—something he's surprisingly lousy at for a top sprinter—he could shave 0.05 seconds off.

The other conditions are environmental: If he had the maximum allowable tailwind behind him, he could shave another 0.05 off, and if he ran at the highest allowable altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level, he'd drop another 0.03. Barrow isn't the first statistician to take a crack at Bolt, but the other studies have all failed to include certain relevant factors, and Bolt has already blown past all of their predictions. (Read more Usain Bolt stories.)

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