Olympic Question of the Day - Macleans.ca

Olympic Question of the Day


I remember when Ben Johnson ran 9.79 with his fist in the air for the last few metres, and after it was discovered that he had been marinating in stanozolol for years a number of armchair skeptics said they knew it all along, since it was simply impossible for a man to run that fast without steroidal enhancements.

I’m pretty sure Usain Bolt is clean — he just doesn’t look juiced — but Kit Collins asked a good question today: “How fast can you go before the world record can’t be broke? How fast can the human being go before there’s no more going fast?”

As many have noted, his record in the 200 is almost more incredible, given that no one other than Johnson had run under 19.62. But more interesting still might be the state of women’s sprinting. FloJo has the record of 10.49, but she was clearly on steroids. The next fastest time is Marion Jones’ 10.65, set at altitude (and probably on steroids as well). Next after that is Christine Arron’s 10.73, and rounding out the top ten, the fastest times are all grouped in the mid- to high- 10.7s

If we take Arron as the fastest clean time, she’s nearly a quarter second slower than FloJo over 100 meters, and no clean women are coming anywhere close. Regardless of how fast Bolt might go (and I think he could do a 9.55), it is looking like, at least as far as the women are concerned, there’s no more going fast.

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Olympic Question of the Day

  1. “I’m pretty sure Usain Bolt is clean — he just doesn’t look juiced”

    Huh? What does this even mean? You think drugged athletes will all have red eyes and horns or something?

    I’m not saying that I *do* think Bolt is juiced, but I think it’s naive to think that doping hasn’t progressed to an extremely advanced art that makes it very difficult to catch. The athletes that get caught are clumsy more than anything.

  2. “You think drugged athletes will all have red eyes and horns or something?”

    Easy there Luke, read what I said. I’m not saying he’s not, and I’m not saying doping is not very sophisticated now. I’m just stating the obvious, which is that in order for doping to work it has to affect your body type, regardless of whether you actually get caught or not. And unlike other known dopers, Usain Bolt has not shown the fairly obvious and rapid physiological changes to go with his unbelievable times.

  3. I think the kind of doping that would be more prevalent would be doping to aid in recovery time. So, all those little tears that muscles receive in running will be fixed faster. In this case, there would be no appearance change (and indeed, look at riders on the Tour de France – they have no Bonds/Ben Johnson appearance).
    But, let us assume that Bolt (and Phelps for that matter) is clean.

  4. woot – Gold for Canada in individual show jumping.

    Way to go Eric Lamaze!

  5. Eugenics. What better petri dish to put Darwin’s natural selection theories to practice than the Olympic Village….the seeds are now being planted for next generation of world record breakers.

    May bring a whole new meaning to the title Olympic Secretariat.

    “One more for the motherland…”

  6. I would be very curious to see the field from this year’s 100m (or 200m) run on a cinder or gravel track and with “Chariot’s of Fire” era gear. Reason? It has been argued on and off for the past few years that a substantial amount of the gains in sprint times are related to faster tracks and lighter spikes.

    I still think today’s sprinters would handily beat the times of the 1920s, but probably not by as big a margin as one might think.