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Scholar: 9.48 Seconds in 100 Meters Possible

Posted December. 03, 2008 05:19,   


Stanford University professor Mark Denny has told the Journal of Experimental Biology that a man will eventually run the 100 meters in 9.48 seconds based on his study, the Associated Press said yesterday.

Given that the world record for the 100 meters is 9.69 seconds held by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt at the Beijing Summer Olympics, Denny said the time can be shortened by 0.21 seconds.

Denny analyzed historical records dating back to the 1800s to trace the progress of speed in humans, horses and dogs. After looking into horse and dog races in the United States and the United Kingdom, he found that while the speed of horses and dogs peaked in the early 1970s, humans have continued to break speed limits.

Since American sprinter Jim Hines shattered the 10-second barrier with 9.95 seconds in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, the record has gradually gotten down to 9.69 seconds. In other words, while animals have shown their limits, humans are still evolving, according to Denny.

Humans have yet to reach their full potential, but there is a clear limit, he said, adding speed has a limit, but what that limit is remains unknown.

Exercise physiologist Seong Bong-ju of the Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation said, “The study method of comparing humans with animals has a limitation. With both sport science and technology and human ability reaching their limits, it’s difficult to precisely analyze human speed limits.”

Other sports scientists, however, say the limitation itself is pointless at a time when the 196-centimeter tall Bolt shattered the notion that a tall athlete lacks quickness.

Denny also predicted that the world record in the women`s 100 meters, which is 10.49 seconds set by Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United Sates in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, will be cut to only 10.39 seconds.

“The predicted maximum speeds for women are 9.3 percent to 13.4 percent slower than those for men. The gender gap between men and women will never be closed between 100 meters and the marathon,” Denny said.

In the marathon, where Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia holds the men`s record of 2:03:59, the time can be lowered by up to four minutes, Denny said.