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The Physics of the World's Fastest Man 137

cylonlover writes "The Honourable Usain Bolt (Order of Jamaica; Commander of the Order of Distinction) is often held out as the world's fastest man. The reigning Olympic champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints as well as a member of the Olympic champion 4x100 meter relay team, Bolt is the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and is a five-time world champion. Long and lanky at 6 ft 5 in (2 m) tall, he towers above the (mostly) much shorter sprinters. How has he managed to come out on top for the past five years? A team of physicists from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) has analyzed Bolt's past performances in the 100-meter sprint to understand what makes a record-breaker."
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The Physics of the World's Fastest Man

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  • need biochemists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KernelMuncher ( 989766 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @02:49PM (#44393421)
    To analyze why Bolt is the fastest man, instead of a team of physicists they should hire a team of biochemists. Who wants to bet Bolt is entirely clean of steroids ?

    [ Note that Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, two top Jamaican sprinters, both recently tested positive for banned stimulants. ]
  • Re:need biochemists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @03:00PM (#44393533)

    Why is this a big deal?

    If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying. I just wish we would be totally open about it. Since we can probably assume all the runners are at least trying to do something like that, we can just ignore it.

    This is like trying to find a winner for the tour de france that was not doping in some form, good luck. That sport is more properly referred to as cheating on two wheels.

  • by bazorg ( 911295 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @03:32PM (#44393829) Homepage

    You know what I'd love Usain Bolt to do? Or if not him, another top sprinter like him? While in their prime years, take a couple of seasons off and not participate in competition. Then announce he's going to take performance enhancing drugs just to see just how much faster it would be possible to run if it were not for sports rules.

  • Re:need biochemists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @04:37PM (#44394569) Homepage

    Worse than that. It will practically be a requirement to overdose and kill yourself to be competitive.

    Indeed. In racing, any advantage that is not forbidden is mandatory.

    So, if you eliminate rules prohibiting doping then all competitive athletes will have to max out on drugs, steroids, and red blood cell enhancements. "Max" will be whatever allows the most performance while still allowing the athlete the stay alive long enough to finish the race. Some will go over. The rest won't live much past their time in the spot light.

  • by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @05:07PM (#44394905)

    No, most of the energy is stored in the rubber so as the foot leaves the ground it gives a push. Using rubber makes you faster.

  • Re:need biochemists (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jkflying ( 2190798 ) on Friday July 26, 2013 @05:11PM (#44394953)

    What we really need is two competitions: one with as much doping as you think your body can take, and another which is as strict as possible. That way we still have the 'pure human' competition, but we can also see crazy muscleheads with no testicles getting into full rage mode on the uphills.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.