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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Usain Bolt 9.58s!!!!

9.58s 9.58s 9.58s

If you're looking for analysis of Usain Bolt's magnificent 9.58s WR last night, you're in the right place.

Click here for our detailed analysis, including Bolt's splits, speeds and a comparison with his previous world record in Beijing

Extra-ordinary. 9.58 seconds for 100m, and Usain Bolt just got better. Quite astonishing, as the Jamaican won the race by 0.13 seconds from Tyson Gay (who himself smoked a PB by six hundreths of a second)!

I have no doubt that in the coming days, we'll start to see some analysis of this race - there is a group of German scientists who are doing a comprehensive analysis and so we will, in due course, get some reliable information and it will provide some great food for discussion and scientific insights. I can promise you that we'll definitely cover it when it arrives, so join us in the future. For now, however, I guess we just get to enjoy what we've just seen.

Bolt's race was near perfect. He got away so fast, just remarkable, with Tyson Gay alongside him and Asafa Powell one further over to his right. Those two might have expected that by 30m, they'd be ahead of Bolt - at least, that would be their plan, and maybe force Bolt to come past them.

However, it never happened. Bolt led almost from the gun, his start being the big difference compared to last year in Beijing. He was out so quickly, something that had happened in the semi-final as well, and gave us a sign of what was to come, when he basically jogged to a 9.89s.

Bolt has, somehow, managed to take sprinting forward AGAIN. One year after he moved the event (and the sport) into a new era with his exploits in Beijing, one might have forgiven him for a "routine" victory in the World Championships. But to see the event propelled forward even more is just remarkable, and the sport is better for it. To have such a great race (the three athletes in the middle lanes were the three fastest in history - Bolt, Gay, Powell) is indeed a rare privilege and it's a golden era for men's sprinting.

Long may it continue, and maybe even improve again? Is that too much to ask? Doesn't seem like it with Bolt.

Comparing this to Beijing - not very valid at all

One thing I will say is that the commentators and fans have already begun making the mistake of using this performance to suggest that that we now know how fast Bolt might have gone had he not started celebrating 20m from the finish line back in Beijing in 2008.

A number of posters are already chiming in saying "See, he could have run 9.55s in Beijing". Seriously, that's irrelevant now. It's a year on, a different race. There is no way Bolt cost himself 0.11 seconds in Beijing.

That said, a comparison between Berlin and Beijing will be very interesting - I can't wait for te German research to be published. I have a feeling that we'll see that of the 0.11 second improvement on his Beijing time, probably 0.08s of it came in the first 40m, and the other 0.03s comes at the end, where Bolt does not celebrate before finishing (at least, that's my 'hypothesis' - bring on the data!). The big difference was that start, which was absolutely amazing.

Usain Bolt, 2009 version is an even better athlete than we saw in Beijing - he has worked on his start, he has consolidated that middle part of the race, and he is just incredible.

Bring on the 200m!



Usain Bolt Fan! said...

He is unstoppable. Usain Bolt is just amazing. How can anyone ever match him, let alone beat him?

johnfothers said...

Hey Ross
You are right, sprinting has been taken a big step forward. A runner ran 9.71 as wasn't even in the same frame as the winner. I don't think we have ever had the physiological and biomechanical mix of a 6'5" fast twitch athlete doing the flat sprint. Interesting!! Look forward to the German (and your) analysis. To me start was the key though, man did he go out fast!!

Southhombre said...

I would really like to hear the comments of Carl Lewis after this 9.58 performance. This race is for him.

1.41 said...

Usian's 9'69 would have been slower by 1/100s if he had'nt celebrated/relaxed in the last 20/30m of beijing,by celebrating/relaxing he slowed down his already decreasing speed,in short he would have run at least 9.70s,people who see this different have a poor understanding of what it takes to run at speed relaxing is a sprinters friend,to use Berlin as proof compounds their poor understanding

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi All

Thanks for the comments. To Usain Bolt Fan - difficult to see anyone coming close, unless Bolt drops his level. That margin is massive, 0.13s to second place. But, to put it into context, if Bolt returns to his Beijing form, he's very close. So while he's brilliant and dominant, Gay does just enough to keep it interesting, and I think there's still rivalry there. It's not entirely a one-man show, though Bolt was just amazing tonight.

TO John, yes, absolutely. Five years ago, 9.84s was rare, now it gets bronze, almost 0.3 seconds behind, which is just amazing.

To Southhombre:

I also look forward to it. One thing I must point out - it won't only be Lewis, if you look on chat rooms and forums, there are already a lot of people suggesting the same thing. Unfortunately, because of the event, it will always be a question and point of debate!

to 1.41

I tend to agree. I said last year that I felt it cost him between 0.01 and 0.05s. So referring to 0.5s in this post was the conservative estimate. I remember that at the time, a lot of people were saying he would run 9.55s if he hadn't slowed down, which is completely nonsense, as you point out.

I do think he probably lost a little more than 0.01s, I would say 0.03s if I had to give an exact figure. Still, you're right in principle. Today, at least there are no such questions!

Thanks all!

Anders said...


Do you know the splits this time compared to the ones in Beijing?

Frans Rutten said...

I saw up to now almost all the sprinting. For the first time I confronted myself and the T&FN forum with the French phrase used in cycling "Cycling à deux vitesses", which by my own interpretation is meant to distinct those who primarely are getting better treatmeant or are (seem to be) better prepared (meant indeasant)which leads to indeed two speeds. I can't back it with figures, but the differences in modern sprinting are huge.

Frans Rutten said...

Giving the facts, that Usain Bolt had an aiding wind (+0,04s), a better reaction time (+0,02s)and didn't celebrate like in Beijing, he IMO hardly better performed timewise (relatively spoken)than in Berlin. But since he's still in his own league that's not even so important. Psychologically he though did of cause a great job, but also did Tyson Gay, who in the first place never had the full capacity of Usain Bolt.
I consider the new World Record run quite unemotionally or sterile if you wish, as a rerun. Of cause you can't fully comply statistics to such event as a simple 100m event, but I can imagine a dozen races by the same runner that is, before the record has finally set. I didn't back his performances last year, and even didn't watch the 200m (favoured my own training) because I knew what was coming. In the year that has passed I didn't change me opinion.

I still cannot imagine how you can compete at such an level beyond without practizing that level. That's not a typical property of a human organism but that of a machine. That's the thing which makes me very suspicious in a manner why I cannot unconditionally believe in such exploits. And what's bathering me today is that such unequivocal exploits seem to emerge ever more in a set of different sports. Are we already back in the eighties, although on a much smaller scale? Just some thoughts cause performance analysis won't give all the answers. On the T&FN forum I exerted this by comparing the 10K women's final with the exploit of Wang Junxia. No one reacts.

Anonymous said...

Bolt has already shown he's capable of steadying 0.82 per 10m if he wants to (just check his 200m splits). That means he could have improved *atleast* 0.08 on his Bejing race without celebrations. And that is assuming he can't go below 0.82 at all (afterall, this wasn't 200m and he's been steadily improving his topspeed too).

Anonymous said...

I managed to figure out the exact times from the official photo finish (where one of Bolt's feet is blurred nicely ; ))
As you all know, times are always rounded to the next higher 1/100

I'm getting




(leaving alone Darvis Patton...)

One can surely say that seven men managed to run "under 10 seconds"!

Subtracting their respective reaction times we get

Bolt 9.426*
Gay 9.561*
Powell 9.704*
Bailey 9.797*
Thompson 9.811*
Burns (in sixth place!) 9.833*
Chambers 9.872*
Patton 10.184* (don't know what happened to him)

Please note: these are NET times
(only the running part!)

I'm convinced celebrating and less tailwind and worse reaction (in Beijing) cannot have costed him 0.13 seconds. He IS better now.

Anyway, I just can't wait until August 20!!
(I'm hoping for 19.20....)

Daniel said...

These are 20m splits...

20m - 2.89

40m - 4.64

60m - 6.31 (!)

80m - 7.92

100m - 9.58

bisovi said...

As for what’s next? Honestly, Bolt himself probably doesn’t even know yet. Could he break the 9.50 barrier? It’s unlikely, considering the fact that he’s in peak sprinting shape at 22 and the wheels won’t last much longer. It could happen, though; he’s got a few years to keep hammering at it.

Liam said...

Bolt is the fastest man in the world and the fastest man ever. But with such great talent comes the responsebilty, I mean he as brought athletics out of being a small sport to being one of the most popular in the world but if he did test positive it would tear the sport apart faster than Ben Johnson, Justin Gatlin and Marion jones put together. So I hope for the sake of the sport its self that he is clean.