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Yesterday, Usain Bolt successfully fended off all challengers en route to winning a second 100-meter Olympic gold medal. His victory this time around may not have been quite the laughable runaway the last one turned out to be, but it was still an extremely dominating performance. In fact, Bolt’s run was faster than any ever submitted at an Olympic final.
More often than not, records are nudged forward, not smashed. That’s why it is hard for us to visualize how thoroughly 2012 performances would dominate those from decades prior. Luckily, The New York Times has prepared one of the coolest graphics ever. It shows how many meters behind every prior winner of the 100-meters would be had 2012 Bolt been inserted into their race.
Jesse Owens’ historic 1936 win is remembered as one of the greatest Olympic moments ever; yet, he still would have lost to Bolt by more than five meters. That’s a thorough ass kicking in the 100-meters. It’s also worth nothing that the bronze medalist from the 1900 Olympics would have finished almost twenty-five meters behind Bolt. To put it another way, he would have barely been done with three-quarters of the race when Usain crossed the finish line.
A hundred years from now, our great-grandkids are probably going to laugh at how slow many of the Olympians were today. Luckily, we won’t be around to hear their shit-talking.