Ever since Jim Hines ran the first electronic (FAT) sub 10 second 100 meters in 1968, 1983 was the start of the sub 10 explosion (POP QUIZ – who was the lone sub-10 performance in 1977 ?)
10 seconds for the 100 meters is the holy grail of sprints, just like the 4 minute mile. 4 laps in one minute. 10 seconds for 100 meters. Average speed of 10 meters per sec. It divides evenly making it a nice number.
If you forget about Usain Bolt (though it’s really hard not to), and look at the rest of the world, is technology, better coaching, and better nutrition really helping us run faster?
Or is it lighter and stronger spikes, speed suits, and harder tracks?
Are there more “under the radar” sub 10 performances that are lost in the Lightening Bolt?
In Berlin, 5 men went under 10 seconds and 2 tied at 10.00. 18 years ago at the 1991 Tokyo World Championships, 6 men broke 10 seconds.
I saw these stats in the T&FN Forum (discussed here) which paints the big picture.
My initial guess are spikes in an Olympic Year, just like other events when everyone steps up to the plate.
But what is accounting for the faster times or fastest top end speed?
Since 1988, the fastest split recorded was 0.83 seconds per 10 meter split by Ben Johnson (supplementation aside). That was surpassed by the recent World Record of Usain Bolt’s 9.69 and 9.58 with splits of 0.82 or even 0.81 or 0.805!
If the top end speed of other 100 meter sprinters aren’t improving (with the exception of UB and Tyson Gay), is the rest of the world at a standstill, or worse, still playing catch-up?
We don’t hear of super numbers in the weight room anymore.
Is it a more efficient and faster drive phase?
How about a longer acceleration to maximum velocity?
Maybe better speed endurance thus a decrease in deceleration?
What do you think?