The force, power, and energy of the 100 meter sprint

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Amer Assoc Physics Teachers Amer Inst Physics


At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Usain Bolt broke the world record for the 100 m sprint. Just one year later, at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics in Berlin he broke it again. A few months after Beijing, Eriksen [Am. J. Phys. 77, 224-228 (2009)] studied Bolt's performance and predicted that Bolt could have run about one-tenth of a second faster, which was confirmed in Berlin. In this paper we extend the analysis of Eriksen to model Bolt's velocity time dependence for the Beijing 2008 and Berlin 2009 records. We deduce the maximum force, the maximum power, and the total mechanical energy produced by Bolt in both races. Surprisingly, we conclude that all of these values were smaller in 2009 than in 2008.



force, physics education, training, velocity

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American Journal of Physics. Melville: Amer Assoc Physics Teachers Amer Inst Physics, v. 78, n. 3, p. 307-309, 2010.