“A lot of legends, a lot of people, have come before me. But this is my time.” -Usain Bolt
The Olympics is an incredible time for athletes in all sports, and a time to celebrate the fastest, strongest, most agile, and all the other superlative achievements the human body is capable of. Yet for those of you hoping for a new record-breaking performance in the men’s 100 meters, I’ve got bad news: it’s extraordinarily unlikely.
Usain Bolt with his official world record time in 2009. Image credit: American Foreign Press.
Usain Bolt is an athlete whose prowess and performances shouldn’t be occurring for another generation, and here he still is at the age of 29, competing at the highest levels and going for an unprecedented third straight triple: in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4×100 meter relay. Could he achieve his own version of what Carl Lewis did a generation ago, when he broke the 100m world record at the age of 30?
The Men’s 100 meter world record progression (red points) and the fit of the simple three-parameter exponential model for expected times. Note how ahead-of-schedule Bolt’s 9.58s time still is today. Image credit and analysis: E. ...