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Monday, August 17, 2009

Usain Bolt 9.58s Video

Video of Bolt's 9.58s World Record

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

Thanks to all for your comments so far on Bolt's record. One thing I will say for Bolt is that he generates buzz, and it's wonderful for the sport! I can't recall any athlete producing such a response from media, crossing the boundaries.

Below is a video of the race, for those who might have missed it.

The limits to performance

As mentioned last night, it's still just too early to produce any kind of 10m splits, though hopefully the buzz will speed up the release of those numbers (if you have them, let me know!)

And, as is customary when a world record is broken, people are turning to the next world record and asking how low can it go? Bolt himself said that he could run 9.4s. Like Haile Gebrselassie's prediction of a 2:03 marathon, a lot depends on whether you believe that 9.4s means 9.40s or 9.49s.

I certainly think something below 9.50 sec is possible, though it starts to approach what I believe is a limit for performance. Last year, some scientists predicted that the ceiling existed at 9.48s, although those predictions always come back to haunt scientists! Peter Weyand once threw out a figure of 6 seconds, though I think we can safely say that's not going to happen.

One year ago, 9.58s was hypothetical only, and Bolt has pushed the event forward by two generations in one year (it was exactly a year, to the day, between Beijing and Berlin, incidentally. Bolt must enjoy August 16th). So given that improvement, why not 9.4s by 2010? I somehow don't see it improving that much so soon, but perhaps small increments, and given a long career, Bolt might yet go sub-9.50s. Certainly, not much seems impossible for Usain Bolt, though there is so much hype and lack of objectivity around, it's difficult to tease out real from make-believe!

Last word - Tyson Gay

Finally, I have to give a last commendation to Tyson Gay, second in 9.71s. For all Bolt's magnetism and the fantastic profile he gives the sport, Tyson Gay is a great champion, humble and committed and a real role-model. While Bolt commands attention and fascination, Gay earns respect for his person and his performances, and like Weldon Johnson of Letsrun.com, I was left with a lot of respect for Tyson Gay.

The contrast between him and Bolt makes the rivalry even greater. Bolt clowns around, Gay gets nervous. Bolt looks relaxed (a computer-game character is how Darvis Patton described him), Gay has to work so hard. But he's a great role-model, and speaking personally, more my kind of character.

A great article summing up the performance of Bolt, and the character of Gay, can be read here. It's well worth a read.

Today's action

Hard to believe the show goes on - tonight, it hits middle- and long-distance hyperdrive, as we have the final of the men's 10,000m (Bekele the man to beat), and the semi-finals of the women's 800m and men's 1500m. Can South Africa's Caster Semenya continue to make an impact (in a good way, this time!), and can Asbel Kiprop move one step closer to the 800m-1500m double?

Join us later to find out. Oh, and we'll definitely come back to Bolt's race as soon as the splits from the race are available!



DrTim said...

The IAAF have released the splits ...


Clearly shows him 'slowing down from 80-100m. Sure he might have been getting tired but to my untrained eye it did look like he switched off a bit ... no gritting of teeth etc like that 200m WR at Beijing.

1.61 for 60-80 and I think probably 1.57 was possible or about 0.09 faster for ...


DrTim said...

Actually, looking at everyone else's 80-100m versus 60-80 splits they all slowed down and some of them would definitely have been going 100% ... so I guess fatigue does affect 80-100 split more than 60-80 ...

Marco said...

How fast on the 200m? Can Bolt be faster in the same ratio as in the Beijin 200 and 100? That would be close to 19.10s... I bet between 19.18 and 19.24. Can't wait to see him on 400m, maybe next year he said.

Anonymous said...

I think that WADA have to be in maximun alert in this moment.


Anonymous said...

Assuming Bolt ran 9.572 or 9.573,
I think he could have reached an official "9.57" in this final if he hadn't looked to the side (a bad habit IMO)... But not less.
Anyway: who cares for now?

He surely WILL improve some day.
And if he saves some power for the 200m and the relay, that is not a bad thing...

Anonymous said...

Bolt was magnificent, but equally, I thought Tyson Gay ran a fabulous race, considering his recent injury.

His last 50 was truly sensational. I have not seen anything like that since Carl Lewis.


Frans Rutten said...

The initial results of the Biomechanical Analysis Project give food for thought that the so-called shutting down strategy of Usain Bolt costs more time than in general is thought. Comparing the SF race with the FINAL race in Berlin gives some good clues.
Differences SF vs FIN:
RT: 0,135 vs 0,146;
Wind: +0,2m/s vs +0,9m/s.

T20: SF vs FIN: 2,89s vs 2,89s
T40: SF vs FIN: 4,68s vs 4,64s
T60: SF vs FIN: 6,41s vs 6,31s
T80: SF vs FIN: 8,11s vs 7,92s
T100: SF vs FIN: 9,89s vs 9,58s

T20: Beij vs Ber: 2,87s vs 2,89s
T40: Beij vs Ber: 4,65s vs 4,64s
T60: Beij vs Ber: 6,32s vs 6,31s
T80: Beij vs Ber: 7,96s vs 7,92s
T100: Beij vs Ber: 9,69s vs 9,58s

Differences between Beijing and Berlin were:
RT: 0,165s vs 0,146s
Wind: 0,0 vs +0,9m/s

Of cause the shutting down in the Beijing Final wasn't comparable of that of the Berlin SF, but nevertheless.

Unknown said...

Anyone notice his right foot being dragged on the start??

How much time is attributable to the track surface?

Dallas Cowboys Picks said...

Man Bolt is so fast and entertaining. Gay was right there behind him very fast too. I doubt hell ever run a 9.4 but we will see.

jacobus said...

"People are turning to the next world record and asking how low can it go?"

Unfortunately, we probably saw the 100m equivalent of Beamon's Mexico City jump.

Forty years later, 8.8m has only been touched three or four times.

I suspect the same thing will happen with this.