Usain Bolt: The Man from the Future

Ethan Siegel, a theoretical astrophysicist at Lewis & Clark College, recently charted a graph to demonstrate that, judging by the incremental progression of the 100-meter world record over the past hundred years, Bolt appears to be operating at a level approximately thirty years beyond that of the expected capabilities of modern man. Mathematically, Bolt belonged not in the 2008 Olympics but the 2040 Olympics. Michael Johnson, the hero of the 1996 Olympic summer games, has made the same point in a different way: A runner capable of beating Bolt, he says, “hasn’t been born yet.”

That’s from a new profile of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in this month’s Esquire.  The science behind Usain Bolt’s breathtaking speed is almost as fascinating as the man himself.  It is unfathomable how fast this man is. 

Will it be 30 years before another human comes close to matching his feats? Who’s to say with advances in nutrition, fitness and human genetics that in ten years time someone will break Usain Bolts’s records. 

But regardless of that, right now Bolt is the rare athlete that is so dominate, so much better at what he does that any competition he participates in demands to be watched.  He’s Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, UCONN women’s basketball.  And he may be more dominate than any of them.

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