In an earlier post I talked about Usain Bolt’s acceleration:

“when they couldn’t accelerate anymore and went to that blazing steady speed, Bolt kept gaining speed and increasing the space between them”

A comparison with other sprinters shows that his main ability may actually be keeping the top speed. Historically, 100m sprinters accelerate up to 50m-60m, and then slowly lose speed until the end:

10m splits in historical 100m

10m splits: historical sprinters

But Bolton was able to accelerate up to 60m, and then KEPT THE TOP SPEED UNTIL THE END, only slowing down in the last 10m split for some chest-thumping celebration:

Bolt x historical sprinters

10m splits: Bolt x historical sprinters

(Source: J Mureika page)

Another interesting point: for those same historical sprinters, the reaction time ranged between 0.13s and 0.14. Bolton’s reaction was 0.163s.

So, if Usain Bolton practices reaction on the block (a crucial ability for sprinters) and get to the average for top sprinters, he can shave his time by 0.03s. And if he runs straight to the end, without pre-celebrations, if he ‘keeps the hammer down” as Ato Boldon says, he could shave another 0.4s-0.5s in the last split assuming a normal speed reduction. In total, he could run 100m in astonishing 9.6s.

At just 21, he will have plenty of time to practice and prepare himself to break more records. Like he did last night in the 200m.