See How Usain Bolt Compares to Past Olympic Sprinters
After his stunning win in the 100-meter dash at the London Olympics, there’s no denying that Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the fastest man alive. But this fascinating video infographic from the New York Times shows just how fast he is when compared to sprinters dating all the way back to the 1896 Summer Games in Athens.
According to the video, athletes from the 1896 games were more than 60 feet behind current sprinters. Not surprisingly, runners have gotten faster over the years thanks to better nutrition, fitness, footwear and track surfaces, culminating in Bolt’s record-setting time of 9.58 seconds.
In fact, today’s fastest eight-year-old American ran the 100-meter in 13.46 seconds, which would’ve put him less than a second behind the bronze medal finisher in 1896. Moreover, the record for 15- to 16-years-olds is 10.27, which would have earned a bronze in the 1980 games in Moscow.
But, the video says, it’s a mistake to think of past Olympians as being slow. After all, the difference between today’s sprinters and those from 1896 is only three seconds. Still, you’d never know that when watching someone as impossibly fast as Bolt.