(K. Brent Tomer),
NOW that Usain Bolt (pictured) has won both the 100- and 200-metre men’s races in three consecutive Olympics, his perch atop the all-time ranking of male sprinters looks unassailable. But reports of Mr Bolt’s powers go beyond his own prowess on the track. In 2012 Steve Haake, a professor at Sheffield Hallam University, claimed that Mr Bolt was responsible not only for his own performances but also for a 1% improvement in his competitors’ running times, as they either became more motivated to catch up to him or began copying his technique.
Although Mr Bolt’s 2016 gold medals may glitter just as much as his hardware from 2012 and 2008, his times were far more modest: he took 9.81 seconds to reach the finish line in the 100 and 19.78 seconds in the 200. Both marks were around the 50th-best marks ever, and a far cry from his world records of 9.58 and 19.19. On one hand, such a slowdown was to be expected: Mr Bolt turned 30 the day before the closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, and sprinters tend to peak…Continue reading