themcglynn.com

15 Jul

The Limits Of Human Speed

 The Present

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by Chris Bodenner

Chuck Klosterman investigates the notion:

Is there an irrefutable dead end to the 100-meter dash? Is there a speed at which a human body would just break down and disintegrate, no different than a machine pushed beyond the capacity of its individual components? Some have been arguing “yes” for years. Reza Noubary, a professor of mathematics, computer science, and statistics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, has estimated “with 95 percent confidence” that the ultimate time for the 100-meter dash is 9.44. [The current record, held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 – a .37 improvement from 40 years ago.]

That number seems as good a guess as anything else. But if Noubary is correct, it would force us to accept a depressing, unreliable notion — it would essentially mean we’re about 25 years away from the pinnacle of human performance. It would mean that most of us will see the fastest man that could ever exist within our own lifetimes.

This is a great quote from Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon, asked if someone will ever break 8.99 seconds:

“In order to answer this question, you have to think like a sprinter. And sprinters believe that — someday — somebody will run the 100 meters and the clock will read 0.00.”

The Future

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