The science of running faster
Time Magazine has an interesting article on how the great Usain Bolt can run so fast. Bolt holds the Olympic and world records for the 100 metres at 9.69 seconds, the 200 metres at 19.30 seconds and the 4x100 metres relay at 37.10 seconds, all set at the Beijing Olympics. From Time:
It appears that Bolt takes advantage of a little of both. At 6 ft. 5 in., he's nearly half a foot taller than many other gold-medal sprinters; compared to his Olympic competition, Bolt's step was 1 ft. longer, allowing him to cover 100m in 41 steps. The other athletes needed, on average, 47. That helps, considering Bolt isn't the best starter — he's relatively slower off the block, but he separates himself at the end of the race, when "he's still able to turn his legs over fast enough with high power," says Ed Coyle at the University of Texas's Human Performance Laboratory. "He overcomes his average start and just doesn't slow down, as others do, in the last 30 to 40 meters. He's able to relax and coordinate his longer legs."