Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Beyond Perfect?

One of the rewards of being a sports trivia geek with a long memory is getting to see how long-term predictions turn out. Clear back in 1980, Esquire Magazine published an article on perfect performances. The article, “What’s Merely Great and What’s Perfect,” made three predictions: 1) The best possible distance for a shot put would be 100 feet. 2) The longest possible long jump would be 29’ 5” (just a few inches past Bob Beamon’s epic jump in the 1968 Olympics) and 3) No human being could run 100 meters faster than 9.6 seconds. 29 years later, no one has come remotely close to 100 feet in the shot put. Michael Powell’s long jump record is just longer than Beamon’s. Usain Bolt, however, has managed a time of 9.59 seconds in the 100 meters. According to the aforementioned article, this is impossible. It’s amazing how times change.

One politically incorrect detail: the fastest any white guy’s ever run is 9.997 (unofficial).

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