The New York Times Puts The Fastest Olympians In History Into One Massive Race

The New York Times Puts The Fastest Olympians In History Into One Massive Race

Here’s something for history nerds, Olympics nerds, and track and field nerds. The New York Times has put together a startlingly cool multimedia presentation that puts all of the past winners of the 100 meter sprint into a single virtual race together. (I’ll also take this opportunity to remind you to watch out for more Kotaku video game reviews in this week’s Times.)

Humans are like PCs, I suppose — faster and faster, until the older models look positively pokey by comparison. Come on Tom Burke, Bolt is making you look like a joke!

It’s a great way to wrap up the Olympics, particularly because thanks to this whole “not having cable” thing, my enjoyment of the games has been somewhat limited. Mostly to rewatching Elsa Garcia’s wicked cool Zelda gymnastic routine.

Did you ever run track and field? If so, what event? Will humans keep on getting faster and faster until the end of time, or will we begin to regress at some point? Feel free to discuss that, or anything else you please, here or over in the Talk Amongst Yourselves forum. Have good chatting, and be excellent to one another.

One Race, Every Medalist Ever. [NY Times]


  • Is it the runner getting faster? Or is it the technology that’s involved that’s making the difference?

    • ^This. Until the athletes are stripped naked and forced to run barefeet like in old Grecian times, we will never know. While we have shoes that provide better traction, clothing that removes wind resistance etc, we aren’t going to have a clue on the idea of ‘are athletes going to get better’. Cathy Freemans suit I had a huge problem with, Ian Thorpes suit I had big issues with, even the disabled guy running with the able bodied people I had a problem with (sue me), given his potential advantage due to the speeds some disabled people can reach on those (research it, they can get up to some mad speeds! So Sylver is right, is it the people? Or the tech…

      • I totally read that as IED’s… lol. Off to bed with me, Im bleary eyed at this early hour! Explosives at the olympics! Oh the horror!!!!

    • technology for most of it (including nutrition and diet, training technique, foot wear and clothing), since it’s hard to believe an 8 year old would nearly be as fast as an Olympic runner in 1896 just based on running itself (adult mature male with years training vs young child who hasn’t developed or near enough experience), though there is a good chance the runner themselves are getting faster as well, mostly due to genetics and sponsors actively going out to find young talent and helping them flourish into their teens and into adulthood compared to say early 1900s where it was basically the fastest men they could find around.

      And as weresmurf said, we won’t truly know unless we stripped them down and make them run barefoot on limestone.

    • id say yes and no, the mental side is a big aspect. what was considered fast in early days is now slow because they set the bench mark and people realise what’s possible and work towards it and go beyond.

  • Both. the tech is getting better, recovery times are improved and more consistent times are achieved as a result.

  • “2068
    A major landmark in the world of athletics*
    At the 2068 Olympics, a major landmark is passed when a black male athlete completes the 100m sprint in less than nine seconds. Improved lifestyles and training techniques – including use of VR for mental enhancement – has seen the world record continue to fall during the last few decades. However, these records will soon be hitting a barrier as it becomes physically impossible for humans to run any faster without the use of biotechnological aids.*

    A new breed of “super athlete” emerges, as the authorities begin to legalise certain implants, drugs and muscle-enhancing devices. There is talk of splitting the games into three separate events – the Paralympics for those with disabilities; a “classic” group for natural, unenhanced athletes; and a third “cyber” category for those with biotechnology enhancements.

    The Paralympics will eventually disappear altogether as literally all physical and visual disabilities are overcome.”

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