Jamaica's Usain Bolt once again lowered the world 100M record by a full 0.10 seconds from his 2008 Beijing Olympics mark to an astonishing 9.58 in the Berlin IAAF world championships yesterday. Bolt's startling times ignited world controversies about the legitimacy of his mark. However, controversy is all naysayers have at this point. Bolt has never tested positive for PEDs, had never been caught in a buy, and has never admitted to illegal drug use. Nonetheless, obliterating world marks in the 100M with astonishing regularity is such an incredible feat, doubters are working overtime. (from the Telegraph)
A breakdown of the Bolt run goes like this:
It is the "you never know" bit which he knows tantalises us. Yesterday, the biomechanical analysts from the IAAF produced a statistical breakdown of the final which suggested that what we saw in Sunday was Bolt's Bob Beamon moment, a barrier-shattering, never-to-be repeated annihilation of the sport's blue riband record. But you never know...
Eleven hundredths of a second slashed off the mark in one hit was sprinting's equivalent of the moment in Mexico City in 1968 when long jumper Beamon decided to bypass the 28ft barrier altogether as he took the world record to 29ft 2½in with one leap.
But the IAAF's split times confirmed that Bolt's astounding improvement on the 9.69sec record he had set exactly a year earlier in Beijing was due almost entirely to the fact that this time he did not showboat over the last few of his 41½ strides as he had done in China.
He was actually slower over the first 20m than in Beijing (2.89sec to 2.87sec) but what made the vast difference was his lack of concentration as he covered the final 40m in Beijing in 3.37sec. On Sunday, in contrast, he covered the equivalent stretch in 3.27sec, a whole tenth of a second quicker. Between 60m and 80m, he topped 46kph (28.58mph).
There was one quick look right and a glance left towards the clock, so perhaps he could even have gone a fraction quicker but, realistically, there looks to be no section of the race where he can in future trim off more than the odd hundredth of a second at a time. He has just made those $100,000 (£60,700) world-record bonuses hellishly difficult to annex now.
Until proved otherwise, the Bolt record must be considered legitimate. The athlete apparently has the neuro-muscular development to produce stride frequency times stride length to generate sprint speeds never achieved in recorded history at sanctioned track meets.
All the logical arguments in the world about doping hold no merit if the athlete maintains clean testing. Other factors come into play -- a better track surface, improved shoes, perfect conditions, high quality competition -- to push these world records into new territory.
There was a Roger Maris to beat Babe Ruth's single season home run record. There was a Mike Powell to surpass Bob Beamon's long jump record. It appears the thrust of DNA and technology to lower or lengthen previous marks in performance. Thus, it is not impossible to go where no man has gone before in history. Just damn tough to do it twice.