Motion Analysis of the 2009 Men’s 100 m World Record

Johannes J.A.M. Sauren, Benjamin Lieby, Elmar schmidt


The fabulous 100 m world record of Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (9.58 s on Aug. 16th, 2009, in Berlin) has intrigued not only sports fans. It can also be fruitfully used in physics teaching as a real life event, although there are some caveats.

After downloading public-domain, high-resolution renditions of the record race for a motion analysis, we first used video-cutting software to clock individual frames when the winning athlete passed the ten 10 visible on-track markers. A polynomial fit of these data was possible with r2 = 0.9998, however, it failed to produce physically plausible velocities and accelerations.

Data published by the IAAF, when evaluated in the same way, did not produce these artifacts, and showed the record-breaking dash to be composed of a 3-second phase with decreasing acceleration, followed by a high-speed phase peaking at 44,2 km/h near 7,5 s. A slight deceleration at the very end can be used as an estimate for still further improvements of the 100 m world record, as had been down before.1 The relevance of the results w.r. to biokinematics as well as training methods are discussed.

1H.K. Eriksen et al., Am. J. Phys 77, 324 (2009)


Sport, Kinematik, Videostudie, Polynomfit

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