9.4s 100m possible, says study

Gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci, who epitomised peerfection her sport, feels that the iconic scoring system, should be reinstated.   | Photo Credit: Gareth Fuller

Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt's dream of completing the 100m in 9.4 sec is feasible, according to a Dutch mathematical study whose findings were unveiled on Wednesday.

As the Jamaican prepares to defend his Olympic title in London, and also better his world mark of 9.58sec, the authors of a Tilburg University study concluded he could realise his objective of shaving another two tenths of a second off his current record.

“Usain Bolt has said he is targeting 9.4sec for the 100 metres and according to our results this is achievable as the absolute limit for a world record at the moment is 9.36 sec,” said one of the study authors, Sander Smeets.

The study used various mathematical and statistical models collated from the best times posted over 100m by the 1,034 best male athletes going back to 1991, Smeets explained.

The new study draws on an earlier one which Smeets carried out in 2008 which then suggested that the “ultimate world record” would be 9.51sec.

However, “in 2008, Usain Bolt's records were not included in our data, which we published before the (Beijing) Olympics,” Smeets explained, adding the original version drew on data from only 762 athletes.

He added he hoped the new study would “inspire” the likes of Bolt to drive the time down.

Bolt, 25, said in April he believed that if he can retain his Beijing crowns — he also won the 200m and the 4x100m relay title —he would be regarded as a “living legend.”

Judo diplomacy

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said would try to pin down some deals with Russian President Vladimir Putin when the pair watches judo together.

“We will be at the judo, so it may be a bit off-putting. But I know my major priority is to get those trade deals, to get that investment — and not to concentrate on what's happening on the mat,” he joked.

Putin, 59, is himself a judo black belt, and has often been filmed in Russia training with top-class athletes.

Comaneci’s lament

Wearing seven-inch black stilettos, skinny jeans and a black figure-hugging T-shirt declaring “I’m Gold”, Nadia Comaneci was still turning heads in London 36 years after producing the defining image of Olympic gymnastics.

“(It says) I’m gold... but it should have had ‘I’m perfect” on the back,” she said dissolving into laughter as she looked down on the bold gold lettering in the front of her T-shirt.

She was spot on. “People don't remember how many medals I won, all they remember is the history and the 1.00,” she added. That 1.00 signified the first perfect 10 achieved at an Olympics — in Montreal in 1976.

However, a judging scandal at the 2004 Olympics robbed future generations from experiencing the giddy heights of perfection.

Officials ditched the system that was part and parcel of gymnastics and adopted an accumulative points format which no longer has a scoring ceiling.

According to Comaneci, gymnastics was still paying a heavy price for abandoning such an iconic scoring system and should consider bringing it back.

“I think gymnastics was associated with the 10. I thought that belonged to the sport, and somehow we gave it way,” she said.

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 1:47:34 AM |

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