Sunday, August 16, 2009

Superman Bolt: 9.58 100m!

Far behind in second was Tyson Gay, whose 9.71 would be the fastest ever were it not for Bolt. Teammate Asafa Powell (who has run 9.72, third fastest of all time) came in behind Gay. So in this race Bolt smashed his own record from Beijing and destroyed the #2 and #3 fastest sprinters of all time. Bolt is the greatest of all time!


anon said...

Something's going on. It doesn't appear to be 'roids though.

Steve Hsu said...

Bolt is 6ft5! It used to be that 6ft2 was tall for a sprinter (Powell, Carl Lewis).

Bolt may be the first 6ft5 guy gifted with the same freakish percentage of fast-twitch muscle as other world class sprinters. (And advantageous biomechanics.)

As in other sports we're seeing bigger, better versions of the old champions.

I wonder if he has the myostatin mutation (one copy, like a whippet)?

Sam said...

Why are they all Black?

As to why people are continually breaking records in sporting events of all sorts, I think that it is mainly attributable to nutritional supplements (assuming they are not taking banded substances), such as creatine, etc.


Ben017 said...


Jon Entine has written about this quite a bit. This is from a lengthy article discussing various athletic hotspots:

"Natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, and even catastrophic events have all contributed to what might loosely be called "racial differences." For example, University of Illinois archaeologist Stanley Ambrose has offered the hypothesis that the earth was plunged into a horrific volcanic winter after a titanic volcanic blow-off of Mount Toba in Sumatra some 71,000 years ago. The eruption, the largest in 400 million years, spewed 4,000 times as much ash as Mount St. Helens, darkening the skies over one third of the world and dropping temperatures by more than 20 degrees. The catastrophe touched off a six-year global winter, which was magnified by the coldest thousand years of the last ice age, which ended some fourteen thousand years ago. It is believed to have resulted in the death of most of the Northern Hemisphere’s plants, bringing widespread famine and death to hominid populations. If geneticists are correct, some early humans may have been wiped out entirely, leaving no more than 15,000 to 40,000 survivors around the world.

What might have been the effect on evolution? "Humans were suddenly thrown into the freezer," said Ambrose. Only a few thousand people in Africa and a few pockets of populations that had migrated to Europe and Asia could have survived. That caused an abrupt "bottleneck," or decrease, in the ancestral populations. After the climate warmed, the survivors resumed multiplying in what can only be described as a population explosion, bringing about the rapid genetic divergence, or "differentiation" of the population pockets...

The pool of potential great sprinters (and athletes with fast burst, anaerobic skills) is deepest among athletes of West African descent. Claude Bouchard, geneticist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, found that such populations have a higher percentage of "energy efficient" fast twitch muscle fibers to complement their naturally more mesomorphic physiques. "West Africans have 70 percent of the fast type muscle fibers when they are born," adds Saltin. "And that’s needed for a 100-meter race around 9.9 seconds.

Some critics have noted that there have been a few great white sprinters, such as Valery Borzov, the Russian who won Olympic gold in 1972. Borzov’s moment of glory, although an Olympic win, was pedestrian in historical terms. It doesn’t even rank in the top 500 sprints of all time. Athletes of primarily West African origin, including African Americans, hold the top 200 and 494 of the top 500 times. No white, Asian or East African has ever cracked ten seconds in the 100. In fact, there are more elite sprinters from any one of the largest West African countries–Senegal, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana–then from all of Asia and the white populations of the world combined.

In fact, the old Eastern bloc countries provided a unique laboratory to evaluate the radical environmentalist’s canard that humans are infinitely plastic. The world’s most elaborate sports factory combined with state-supervised illegal drug supplements still could not turn even one East German or Soviet sprinter into the world’s fastest human. The vaunted Eastern European sporting machines lavished much of their efforts, which included sophisticated use of performance enhancing drugs, on its female athletes, where the drug cocktails had the most impact...

It might be nice if there were no innate differences of any kind among population groups, at least besides the obvious cosmetic ones. But genes do not confer equality, for without differences, evolution would be impossible. Humans are different, the consequence of thousands of years of evolution in varying terrains. Society, and science in particular, pay a huge price for not discussing this openly, if carefully."

Free Sampler said...

Nice! I just heard about this from the
Best Sports Search Directory website! Sweet article!

anon said...

The fast-twitch thing is a myth. The difference in muscle fiber composition is small enough that it may be explained entirely by training. Rezazadeh and other elite weight lifters, for example, have a greater fraction of white fibers than Bolt. I'm still waiting for the first black weightlifting medalist. IT'S ALL MECHANICS.

Valery Borzov proved sprinters can be made, to an extent. He ran
20.00s in the final of the Munich 200m.

"could not turn even one East German or Soviet sprinter into the world’s fastest human"

Not true. You've forgotten Manfred Kokot.

Ben017 said...

"The fast-twitch thing is a myth."

"Valery Borzov proved sprinters can be made, to an extent. He ran
20.00s in the final of the Munich 200m."

Entine mentions him. Again, no white or Asian has gone under 10 seconds in the 100 metres. Also, given era Borzov ran don't you think he would have been on some performance enhancing drugs (as Entine points out)?

In terms of strength events Entine discusses that in the article.

anon said...

I'm sure persons of West African descent have an advantage, but what is it? Whites built like West Africans are rare. There are no Mongols built like West Africans.

How are they built?

long legs
long forelegs
narrow hips
large gluts

Harry, Wells, and Borzov had similar dimensions.

Even if whippets do have a myostatin mutation, it obviously isn't the only reason they're so fast.

freelikebeer said...

He's a freakin' gigantic. A beast compared to his competition.

anon said...

Of course it is PC to argue there is no advantage for blacks, but watch this and ask yourself how fast would Hary be today with a modern track, shoes, blocks, and weight training?

That the fastest time by a white man was set 49 years ago cannot be explained by biology.

Oyomei said...

Why do Samoans and Tongans perform so well for "in-the-trenches" positions in the NFL?

Ben017 said...

"Why do Samoans and Tongans perform so well for "in-the-trenches" positions in the NFL?"

Entine again:

The cluster of islands that straddle the international date line in the South Pacific, including Somoa and American Somoa, have funneled hundreds of players into American football and Australian rugby. Polynesia is a hotbed of human biodiversity. More than likely, its inhabitants trace their ancestry to southern Asia by way of Africa. Polynesians, especially the Samoans, are amongst the worlds most mesomorphic body types. A number of studies have shown that muscle bulk and the degree of muscularity especially in the thigh and buttock are important predictors of success in rugby players whereas the opposite applies in such sports as distance running. This genetic admixture helps in part explain why athletes from this region are large, agile, and fast.

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