Monday, October 8, 2007

How Fast Can You Run the 100 Meter Dash?

I just found out that Sham Asafa Powell of Jamaica set the world record in the 100 meters at 9.74 seconds on September 9, 2007.

Pretty impressive.

In high school, I think I clocked my best 100 in a mind-blowing 12 seconds. It was a 'junior varsity' heat and I took first place. And no, it wasn't one of those 'special' races. But, that's beside the point.

In my personal opinion, I think the 100-meter record will be broken, once again, at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Then, I believe it will be broken two or three more times until it remains at 9.5 for a very, very long time.

With technology, new training methods, possible muscle-enhancing leg surgeries and secretive drugs pumped into your legs, is it possible that a human will ever run a 100-meter dash under nine seconds? Hey, while we're at it, how about eight seconds?

"No way," you say.

Well, that's the same thing they said about running a mile under four minutes in the 1950's and look what happened with that. In 1954, Roger Bannister silenced the naysayers and ran the first officially-recorded sub-four-minute mile at 3 minutes 59.4 seconds in Oxford, England. In 53 years, an impressive 16 seconds has been cut from that time with the current record of 3:43.13 set by Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.

"But what about the 100 meters?" you ask.

According to Wikipedia (take it with a grain of salt), at the inaugural Olympics in Athens, Greece in 1896, Tom Burke ran a 100 meters in 12 seconds (just like me!) - it was the earliest 'record' known to man. However, this was before the 1912 recognition of records. That's when Don Lippincott recorded an 'official' world-record time of 10.2 seconds.

Since then, the record has been broken or tied 65 times in 95 years.

But, sooner or later, don't you think there has to be a moment when the 100-meter dash record can never be broken? Forever?

What will that official unbreakable time be? And when and where will it happen?

Who knows, but I'm sure we'll get there a lot faster when all of our athletes are allowed to use performance-enhancing steroids at the All-World Steroid Olympics.

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