The Olympics are just around the corner. With 43 world records set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, what’s in store for London?
The 100 meter sprint has long been thought of as a test of the very limits of the human body. Are we as fast as we’ll ever be? Ed Yong analyzes the biomechanics of the fastest human sprinters:
Put simply, fast people hit the ground more forcefully than slow people, relative to their body weight. But we know very little about what contributes to that force, and we are terrible at predicting it based on a runner’s physique or movements.
We know that champion male sprinters can hit the ground with a force that’s around 2.5 times their body weight (most people manage around two times). When Usain Bolt’s foot lands, it applies around 900 pounds (400kg) of force for a few milliseconds, and continues pushing for around 90 more.
Check out the link above for more, including how we differ from cheetahs, and whether there’s hope for a new record.