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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Usain Bolt: 19.19s - you must be kidding

Usain Bolt makes it 5 World Records in 5 major finals

I must confess, I didn't think the world record would fall. I was pretty sure he'd win, by far, but I felt a 19.4 would be enough, and that another record was just out of reach.

Bolt didn't - he ran 19.19s, winning by 0.62 seconds, and with it, won his 5th gold medal in a 5th world record, and how has a double-double gold-WR combination between Beijing and Berlin. And the chance still exists for it to become a treble-treble, with the relay to come, which is absolutely astounding. You can read the Sports Illustrated report on it here - he talks of how he ran his heart out, which is evident on the clip, which you can see below. If you're reading this in an email and the video won't play, click HERE to be taken to the site, where it should!):

From the Science of Sport point of view, there's not much to post on it right now (and besides, I'm tired!), but when the IAAF research becomes available, then it will be a fascinating topic. We have Bolt's data from the 100m final, already analysed, and now we will have the chance to compare his 200m race using the same method. For that, we can thank Usain Bolt for delivering another astonishing performance!

Until that analysis, enjoy the video clip, and join us tomorrow for Wariner vs Merritt, and much more!



Anonymous said...

Hoped for 19.20 ...

'T was exactly 19.190 (photo finish).
R.T.: 0.133

A very nice run, nice to watch; into slight headwind (0.3 m/s) again (!)


Anonymous said...

NJB again.

Just to recall,
the figures from Beijing (August 20, but 2008 ; ))

19.30 (meaning 19.291 to 19.300) [-0.9]
R.T. of 0.182 (5/100 slower than in Berlin!!)

Net time Beijing: 19.114 +-
Net time Berlin: 19.057

-> difference about 0.06 s, partly due to (a little) more favourable windy conditions (?!) .....

Anonymous said...

and again...
Michael Johnson, as far as I remember, had a "net" running time of
19.15x [wind +0.4], subtracting his reaction time of 0.162 from 19.31y (officially 19.32; August 1, 1996, as you all know)

--> Bolt's 19.057 (19.19 minus R.T.)was quite accurately a tenth of a second swifter ...
Simply great!!

Good night and sweet dreams. NJB

Frans Rutten said...

Even Bolt must be now very close at his limit, although see next sentence. In order to get a maximal performance of any 100m or 200m performance you could wind up statistically spoken given the variability of influencing factors with dozens or more races. But this statistical rule of cause can be for a number of reasons not be applied in our daily world. But Bolt singled out two occasions thus far, Beijing and Berlin. He also had a very small timeframe within he operates at his max, which makes me rather suspicious, mainly because I'am that in the first place. BTW, Bolt had an initial RT of 0,357s!

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BGC said...

I wonder what Bolt could do at 400m if he really set his mind to it? The way he cruised to a 20.08 in the semi, surely low 43's or even 42's would be possible for him? I can't imagine his training is at all focussed on the long sprint, but still he's run low-mid 45's in the last couple of years. Here in Oz, our specialist 400m guys struggle to match those times!
It was talked a lot about Michael Johnson, but Bolt could be the first man to go sub-10, sub-20 and sub-44...OR sub-9.5, sub-19 & sub-43!!

Anonymous said...

That's awesome!
It only shows that no one can limit man's potential, especially if you're at the foot of this great guy, Bolt. His name alone is a word to reckon with, reminds me of lightning...

A 19 flat is still possible.

Alan Sleath said...

Bolt did say that he will take 100,200,400 and 4x100 relay in the next olympics, its a done deal provided that they structure the heats extra too suite him.After all he is the man and he says people come too watch Usain Bolt and no one else.Totally arrogant but why not.

DrTim said...

Yeah, three things look certain ...

1) Bolt will run sub-19 for 200m,
2) Bolt will run sub-43 for 400m, and,
3) New WR in the 110M hurdles.

The sub-19 for 200 seems like a bit of a formality now for him if he stays injury free. Yes, he had a good reaction time but he also had a 0.3 m/s headwind and had done the 100m. If he gets a 0.5 m/s tailwind down the straight and sits out the 100 then IMO it's a surety.

The sub-43 for 400m would 'just' mean a 20 second 200 like his heats and then 2 x 11.5 second hundreds. Surely that's not too hard ... for him? Even if he ran 2 x 12 second then that's still 44 flat. I'm curious what his last competitive 400 was and what his 100/200 times were then because he's improved something like 5% in each of those distance over the last 1.5 years ...

And finally, the 110m hurdles will now get really interesting because every decent 100m sprinter will switch to that now for chance of a gold. The two Jamaican guys in the final last night both said they had switched to it after training with Usain and seeing what he could do. Dayron's WR is 12.87 so I'd love to know what his best 100m flat time is ... bet it's nowhere near the top 100m guys?

DrTim said...

Oh, and yes, by omission, I DON'T think sub 9.5 for 100m is a certainty. I think the holy grail of sub-19 will be more enticing than 9.499 ...

Of course sponsorship dollars will dictate a focus on the 100m but he (and we all) now know what his 100m could have been in Beijing without the showboating.

BGC said...

According to the IAAF biog, Bolt ran a 45.54 in Feb this year. His PB is 45.28 from 2007, but he also ran a 45.35 in 2003 when he was still only 16!!! Given his improvement in the last 2 years at 100m & 200m I'm guessing he's got a lot of potential to improve on his 400 PB..

Dave Weeden said...

Before these championships, the Berlin track was rumoured to be 'not fast'. It's not as hard as the Atlanta track that Gebreselassie complained about. I'm sure there's faster track somewhere.

Bolt was also clearly tired in the 200m. He said as much himself, and he was clearly suffering in the last 30m.

That's two factors which suggest that Bolt can run even faster. I still don't know about sub-19, but he's certainly capable of taking another tenth of a second off the 200m. Maybe the Commonwealth Games organisers will run the 200m first, though I really think he'll break his next world record for prize money.

Frans Rutten said...

The 200m splits are known.

It appears that Usain Bolt by substracting a conservative 0,15s for the turn with regard to running in a straightline, was in the first 100m (9,92s) intrinsically faster than the historical WR's of Lewis, Burrell, Bailey, Johnson and Greene. IMO he "abused" therefore a fundamental principle by outsprinting world athletes over a longer distance. Apart from Gay. He's now in the league of either Marita Koch (22,47s en route to her 400m WR, but more decisive a 10,77s 2nd 100m) and Wang Junxia who within her 10K WR had a accumulated 5K WR almost as good as the current Dibaba record, but just as important a far better record that the 5 en 3K WR at date of her 10K.

It speaks for itself that this doesn't apply to her own level or Bolt's level for that matter.

But of cause that's not the point I want to make.

People are undisputely part of nature, objects, and therefore are physical and/or physiological laws always at stake.

Anonymous said...

Don't get carried away!

We now have very, very decent records:

100m [+0.9]: 9.58 (exactly 9.572 or 9.573, as seen on the photo finish photo)
200m [-0.3]: 19.19 = 9.92 + 9.27 (splits according to IAAF)

What to ecpect with
a) an equally good reaction time (!)
b) a tailwind near the legal limit, perhaps +2.0 m/s (meaning 1.91 to 2.00, because those are rounded to the next higher tenth) -> most interesting in the 200m, I think
c) competitve opponents (where to find???)
d) some altitude?

Bolt will have to be in the same shape as right now, have to run really hard until the finish line...
These aren't records to be broken on a stroll!!
Even a small improvement would be simply sensational.

I come to think we now are seeing a "refined Bolt of 2008", with a little more [wind] luck, a better start; running seriously in the 100m, being a little less fatigued in the 200m.

Just to remind us - earlier this year we saw
150m: 14.35
and asked ourselves what to derive...
No we know.

Some outlook
300m (WBP 30.85a by M. Johnson in 2000) should be an easy prey for Usain...
400m: what to expect? We all are anxious!!

@ DrTim: Very interesting speculation about the 110m! Never thought about that.
But I'm not THAT sure on the sub-19 200 (I haven't seen Bolt easing apparently)


Anonymous said...

NJB again.

Allen Johnson (12.92 twice in the high hurdles)
has a 100m PB of 10.41 and 200m of 20.26

100...10.04 (!!)

100...10.52 [-1.5]

C. Jackson:

Found no marks for Robles nor Kingdom nor Xiang Liu

Mike said...

Nice theory about the 110m hurdles, DrTim!
May Usain Bolt be the reason behind the current string of great athletes in the long jump? It's even more related to pure speed than 110m hurdles. It's probably too early so he could have influence them but now if someone is deciding whether to specialize on sprints or long jump, I would recommend the latter. But they can be sure Usain will never run the hurdles, not so much about the long jump :-)

Ron George said...


I feel he can do more. If only they separately tested his performance out of competition by having him donn one of those Nike Swift aero suits. Where are those anyway?

Frans Rutten said...

STATE of WORLD ATHLETICS after World Championships Berlin 2009

Rather a first impression than a diagnosis, deep scan, but nevertheless....

One of the most genuine prolific properties of World Level Athletics is competition under most standardised conditions.

Compare this with the turmoil amongst scientists regarding the so-called superhuman effort of Alberto Contador.

Evaluation of 8 (only) final places along two lines:
1. World Record Standard;
2. All Time World List Entries
Top-10, Top-100 and Top-500.

In some events it’s difficult to get a perfect “match” of present vs. past (f.e. 100m), but it’s not necessarily for this overall survey.

MEN: within 5 years meaning before 2005 no such level:

100m: 1-2
4x100m, 200m: 1
Total: 3 events, 4 performances

WOMEN within 5 years:
HT 1-2
Total: 1 event, 2 performances

MEN within 10 years:
100m: 1-2
4x100m, 200m: 1
Total: 3 events, 4 performances

WOMEN within 10 years:
SC: clean sweep
PV: 1-2-3-4
HT: 1-2
400mH: 1
Total: 4 events, 15 performances

MEN within 15 years:
SC, 200m 1-2-3-4
100m: 1-2-3
10K: 1-2
4x100m: 1
Total: 5 events, 14 performances

WOMEN within 15 years:
SC, PV, JT: clean sweep
HT 1-2
Total: 5 events, 27 performances

So much for longevity!


Top-10 entries MEN

100m: 1-2
200m, 4x100m: 1
Total: 3 events, 4 performances

Top-10 entries WOMEN

SC: 1-2-3
HT: 1-2
400m H, 4x400m: 1
Total: 4 events, 7 performances

Top-100 entries MEN

200m, SC: 1-2-3-4
100m, 4x100m, 10K 1-2-3
Dec: 2
400m,TJ,LJ,SP,MAR,JT,4x400m: 1
Total: 12 events, 26 performances

Top-100 entries WOMEN

SC: clean sweep
10K: 1-2-3-4-5
JT, 400mH, 4x400m: 1-2-3
HT, 100m, 400m: 1-2
PEN, HJ, PV, 800m, 4x100m: 1
Total: 13 events, 33 performances

Top-500 entries MEN

Dec: clean sweep
10K, 100m, 4x100m: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
200m: 1-2-3-4-5
SC, MAR: 1-2-3-4
110mH, LJ, 4x400m: 1-2-3
400m, 400mH, PV, TJ, SP, DT: 1-2
JT: 1
Total: 17 events, 64 performances

Top-500 entries WOMEN

SC, 10K: clean sweep
HT, JT: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7
PV, PEN, 400mH: 1-2-3-4-5-6
HJ, MAR: 1-2-3-4-5
100m, 400m, 4x400m: 1-2-3-4
100mH, 4x100m: 1-2-3
TJ, LJ: 1-2
200m, 800m: 1
Total: 18 events, 82 performances

Highest discrepancy women:
800m 1st vs 2nd: 26 vs 573.
Highest discrepancy men:
1500m 1st vs 8th: 2732 vs 5300.

Of cause there are discrepancies in this survey, mostly due to the fact of involving factors such as tactics, but they do not affect profoundly the overall picture of this survey.

Year list men’s 800m:
Year list men’s 1500m:
Year list women’s 1500m:
Year list men’s 5000m:

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Unknown said...

I've been reading your articles through the olympics and the Berlin championships and i was wondering if you know any of the splits that were made in the 4x100 run , especially run by Bolt.is it true that only he ran a sub 9 curve-anchor ever?
also , i am looking all through the internet to see the 5000 WR run by Bekele-it is the classic negative split run and unfortunetly i've never actually seen it.Do you know where to spot it?
thank you very much , and keep writing !

Anonymous said...

Bolt will run 18.75 200m in a grand prix meet-9.49 100m,41.9 400m oh yeah how about 9.10 long jump and maybe even world peace while he's at it.
P.S. Meaning of life before lunch!

Anonymous said...

@ 1.41


not to forget his anchoring a 36.5 4x100 relay
and a 2:52.9 4x400

Anonymous said...

A further effect of Bolt moving on to the 400m would be Wariner versus Merritt in the 400m hurdles (finally leading to an improvement of this WR [46.78, since 17 years now]...)


Ron Wolf said...

did you see this?

Human Running Speeds of 35 to 40 Mph May Be Biologically Possible


something i don't understand, the article says "... nearly 28 miles per hour speeds achieved by Bolt". but (19 seconds) per (200 meters) = 23.5 miles per hour. that's quite a difference.

running backwards? hoping on one foot? and then Noakes (and others) say that the only(?) consistent determinant of running speed is foot contact time. so nothing new there.