kottke.org posts about Usain Bolt

2012: the hottest year on record in USJan 09 2013

The NOAA says that 2012 was the hottest year on record. BY AN ENTIRE DEGREE.

The average temperature was 55.3 degrees, 1 degree above the previous record and 3.2 degrees more than the 20th-century average. Temperatures were above normal in every month between June 2011 and September 2012, a 16-month stretch that hasn't occurred since the government began keeping such records in 1895.

Weather-wise, 2012 is Usain Bolt crossing the line in the 100-meter final at the Beijing Olympics, already slowing down, arms out, and still so so much faster than everyone else.

3-D printed shoes that could help sprinters shatter recordsJul 12 2012

For his final project at the Royal College of Art in London, Luc Fusaro outlined a process for building custom-fitting sprinting shoes that weigh just 96 grams.

Laser Sintered Shoes

The shoes are fabricated using a selective laser sintering process that uses precise 3-D scans of an athlete's foot to achieve maximum fit. The really tantalizing (but unfortunately uncited) bit about Fusaro's design is that by fitting shoes to a sprinter's feet so precisely, significant performance improvements might result:

Scientific investigations have shown that tuning the mechanical properties of a sprint shoe to the physical abilities of an athlete can improve performance by up to 3.5%.

For 100-meter world record holder Usain Bolt, a performance improvement of 3.5% could lower his world record to 9.24...just by wearing different shoes. That seems insane but Speedo's LZR Racer suit that was responsible for dozens of world records falling in 2008 were shown to lower racing times by 1.9 to 2.2 percent so that sort of improvement is certainly possible. (via @curiousoctopus)

The fastest land robot in the worldMar 06 2012

Flesh and blood cheetahs are the fastest land animals, capable of traveling at more than 70 mph for shorts periods of time. This robotic cheetah can only do 18 mph but could probably go forever and ever until everything on the Earth has been caught and consumed by its steely jaws.

For reference, Usain Bolt's average speed over 100 meters is ~23 mph, so at least he's safe...for a little while. (via ★interesting)

Usain Bolt wants to play soccerSep 02 2010

Professionally. From the tail-end of a recent interview with the sprinter:

Ultimately, he says, he'd love to make a go of playing football professionally. He's being deadly serious. One of the perks of being Usain Bolt is that sporting stars love to meet him, so whenever he's travelling and there's time, he tries to train with a top football team. Last year it was Manchester United, a few days ago it was Bayern Munich. He's still carrying a copy of the French sporting newspaper L'Equipe, which features a spread on his football skills and praise from Bayern manager Louis van Gaal. He shows me a photo of himself with his arm wrapped round the dwarfed 6ft German forward Miroslav Klose. "If I keep myself in shape, I can definitely play football at a high level," he says.

"With his physical skills, I reckon he could play in the Premier League," Simms says.

Professional American football would be even more of a no brainer...Randy Moss with Darrell Green speed++.

Usain Bolt profileApr 08 2010

This month's Esquire has a profile of Usain Bolt, a man ahead of his time.

It's worth keeping in mind that there is a significant difference between the final seconds of Usain Bolt's gold-medal run in Beijing in 2008 and the final seconds of his victory this afternoon in Call of Duty. In the video game, right up until the moment Sadiki took out the final terrorist, Bolt was on edge, nervous, uncertain. It taxed him. He almost lost.

Beating the video game was a challenge for him. Executing the most dominant and effortless performance in the history of the Olympic Games was not.

Ethan Siegel, a theoretical astrophysicist at Lewis & Clark College, recently charted a graph to demonstrate that, judging by the incremental progression of the 100-meter world record over the past hundred years, Bolt appears to be operating at a level approximately thirty years beyond that of the expected capabilities of modern man. Mathematically, Bolt belonged not in the 2008 Olympics but the 2040 Olympics. Michael Johnson, the hero of the 1996 Olympic summer games, has made the same point in a different way: A runner capable of beating Bolt, he says, "hasn't been born yet."

That 100-meter final at the Beijing Olympics still gives me goosebumps when I think about it. But all this business about no one being able to touch Bolt's pace for another 30 years, that's just bunk. The mark is out there. People are going to go for it. My prediction: Bolt will continue to break his own mark but someone else will approach or equal Bolt's current record in fewer than five years, if not three.

Usain Bolt: 9.58Aug 16 2009

At the track and field world championships in Germany this evening, Usain Bolt set another world record in the 100-meters: 9.58 seconds, besting his previous record of 9.69. Can he go under 9.5?

Update: Here's the race in HD. It's a lot closer than the Olympic final...Gay was really hauling as well. The Times reports that the 0.11 seconds Bolt shaved off the record was the largest difference since the advent of electronic timing in 1977.

Update: More on the 100 meter record. If you look at a graph of the 100 meter records (and here), Bolt's time looks even more impressive...he broke the record more than it's ever been broken.

But second off, you can also see that Usain Bolt is running much faster than humans ought to be running right now. This should give you an inkling of just how special these performances we're seeing from him are. We shouldn't be seeing times like this until the 2030s. Which means, honestly, that it ought to take around 30 years for someone else to come along and break his record.

Even Michael Johnson was impressed.

And then, of course, Bolt went out and broke his own record in the 200 meters, a record which seemed untouchable at the Olympics last year and he beat it by 0.11 seconds. Here's the video in HD.

(thx, newley, @holgate, and david)

Usain Bolt still fastJul 08 2009

Yesterday he ran 200m in 19.59s on a wet track with a headwind, winning by an absurd margin. (via biancolo)

Usain Bolt speeds to record in 150 metersMay 18 2009

Yesterday, Usain Bolt broke the unofficial record at the rarely contested distance of 150 meters, running it in 14.35 seconds on a temporary surface set up in Manchester's city center. This sounds made up, but here's the video.

(via biancolo)

Usain Bolt: 9.55 secondsSep 12 2008

Some physicists have worked out what Usain Bolt's time in the 100 meters in Beijing would have been if he hadn't started celebrating before the finish line: 9.55 seconds. The original paper is here. I tried doing this the day after the race but even the HD footage wasn't good enough to see the tick marks on the track and I didn't want to mess around with all the angles. (via justin blanton)

Update: The folks at The Science of Sport lay out a much more sensible case relying on split times that Bolt would have run somewhere between 9.61 and 9.69. (thx, jim)

You vs. Usain BoltAug 20 2008

Race Usain Bolt in this button mashing Flash game. I was a fair Track & Fielder back in the day so I beat Bolt on my first attempt. [Insert elaborate archery pose emoticon here.] (thx, scott)

Michael Johnson's 19.32Aug 18 2008

A look at just how crazy Michael Johnson's 200m world record is.

Eyeballing the chart would suggest that the cutting edge of human achievement in the 200m is anything sub-19.7. A 19.59 at Beijing would be phenomenal. Then you scroll down -- way down -- and you hit Johnson's 19.32.

Johnson has stated that he's fully prepared for Usain Bolt to break his record.

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