View Full Version : Re: Bolt

09-04-2008, 10:18 PM
I'm not sure that the issue about Bolt was that he is better than other
people his size. I'm no expert on sprint coaching but from the many
interviews with Michael Johnson on the BBC coverage it was my impression
that tall runners have been actively discouraged to perform in short
distance sprints.

His start does not seem extraordinary but his ability to coordinate his long
limbs and apply force appears equally as good as that of the other

Based only on watching him race he certainly appears far more bouncy than
for example Tyson Gay who seems to have a far greater stride frequency.
Maybe sprint technique is the essential factor, as appears to be the case
with Michael Johnson at his peak. All three, Bolt, Gay and Powell, are
certainly very fast. It will definitely be highly interesting to see who
comes out top tonight at the Belgian meet when they go head to head in a one
round final.

Gregor Kuntze

-----Original Message-----
From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
[mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of van den Bogert, Ton
Sent: 04 September 2008 20:49
Subject: Re: [BIOMCH-L] Bolt

That work is basically a statistical analysis (curve fitting and
extrapolation) providing little additional insight into Bolt's
exceptional performance.

Interesting about Bolt is that he is so much taller than most other
sprinters. Others with similar body type have not been as successful,
so he must have something else that is advantageous. Either in his
anatomy or his muscle properties.

One of the commentators on NBC suggested that he may have larger muscle
moment arms, and this was also mentioned by Bengt Saltin to a New York
Times reporter:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/20/sports/olympics/20bodies.html. There
was no mention of any MRI data to support this idea, though.

Theoretically, I would expect that a smaller (not larger) muscle moment
arm would be advantageous (except at the start) because it allows
muscles to operate at lower speed during the sprint. In the later parts
of the race, where Bolt does especially well, high joint angular
velocity is more important than high joint moment. With long legs and
small muscle moment arm, it is like having a higher gear on the bicycle.

Ton van den Bogert


A.J. (Ton) van den Bogert, PhD
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Cleveland Clinic Foundation

> -----Original Message-----
> From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
> [mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Rodger Kram
> Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2008 6:18 PM
> Subject: [BIOMCH-L] Bolt
> Things have been pretty subdued here on Biomch-L.
> This "article" projecting how fast Usain Bolt "could have
> run" should provoke a little discussion.
> http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0809/0809.0209v2.pdf
> if nothing else, read the acknowledgements section.
> Rodger
> --
> Rodger Kram, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor
> Dept. of Integrative Physiology
> Univ. of Colorado
> 354 UCB
> Boulder, CO 80309-0354
> office: 103 Clare Small
> phone: (303) 492-7984
> fax: (303) 492-4009
> e-mail rodger.kram@colorado.edu
> WWW: http://spot.colorado.edu/~kram/
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Information about BIOMCH-L: http://www.Biomch-L.org
> Archives: http://listserv.surfnet.nl/archives/Biomch-L.html
> ---------------------------------------------------------------

P Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

Cleveland Clinic is ranked one of the top hospitals
in America by U.S. News & World Report (2008).
Visit us online at http://www.clevelandclinic.org for
a complete listing of our services, staff and

Confidentiality Note: This message is intended for use
only by the individual or entity to which it is addressed
and may contain information that is privileged,
confidential, and exempt from disclosure under applicable
law. If the reader of this message is not the intended
recipient or the employee or agent responsible for
delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are
hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or
copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If
you have received this communication in error, please
contact the sender immediately and destroy the material in
its entirety, whether electronic or hard copy. Thank you.