The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bolt Street Race

We had three pro track meets over the weekend, dozens of collegiate conference championships, and several top-end road races. And none of them are as big of news as Usain Bolt’s crushing victory in a totally unofficial 150-meter street race.

For the record, the results:
100m wind: 0.1; 150m wind: 1.1
1, Usain Bolt JAM 14.35 (50m: 5.65 / 100m: 9.91 / 'flying' last 100m: 8.70) World Best
2, Marlon Devonish GBR 15.07 (5.77 / 10.27 / 9.30)
3, Ivory Williams USA 15.08 (5.79 / 10.26 / 9.29)
4, Rikki Fifton GBR 15.13 (5.78 / 10.28 / 9.35)

Yes, they had two wind gauges. They did this right.

Now, what the heck is 14.35 “worth” for 100 or 200 meters?

There’s a nifty online calculator that interpolates the IAAF scoring tables for any nonstandard distance, such as 150 meters. It says 14.35 for 150 meters is worth:

9.41 - 100m
19.05 - 200m

which we all recognize as bullshit the moment we see it. Bolt was running very well, but it wasn’t the single greatest achievement in sprinting history. But why doesn’t this work? The IAAF scoring tables only include the 200 meters around a turn, and this was 150 on the straight. So the math is fairly screwed up.

Still, if you look only at the first 100 meters, Bolt’s time is the best of the year by .09 seconds. When you factor in wind and altitude (which adds a great deal of meaning), he’s still .02 ahead of Walter Dix. I’d have to guess that if it was just 100 meters, he would have been somewhere in the 9.8x range, maybe 9.7x. Which is awfully darn fast for something that’s basically just a circus event.

No comments: