Monday, August 25, 2008

The Human Race To Infinity

Exactly 17 years ago, Carl Lewis broke the 100m run record at 9.86s on 25 Aug 1991. It was a much-celebrated achievement and the IOC voted him as the “Sportsman of the Century”.

Before that, there was doubt if it was even possible for the record to go below 10s. Back in 1912, the record was 10.6s and in 1968, Jim Hines from the USA broke the 10s line clocking 9.9s. Since then, the time has been gradually slashed by hundredth of seconds. A few days ago, Bolt pushed it lower to 9.69s at the 2008 Olympics.

Just how much faster can a man run? Is there a limit to what the human body can do?

There is no lack of scientists who believe that there is no end to this record-breaking game. It sounds incredible to me and I am beginning to picture a human antelope sprinting before a cheering crowd.

OK, let's look at it with more respect.

If it is left to evolution, the progress is going to be painfully slow and the sports fraternities will not have the patience to wait. They want to see results by the next race. The answer to visible betterment will have to come from improved sports science.

Firstly, better training techniques allow the elite athletes to maximize their potential. Using motion capture system, the most minute movement can be refined to match the precision suggested by machines.

Secondly, newly invented materials help to push the boundaries. Running shoes are designed with lighter materials and running tracks are covered with stuff that are more agreeable with each stomp of the feet.

Thirdly, sports talent identification will no longer be based on willingness to train hard. In order to gain that marginal advantage, ‘sports prodigy’ may be redefined to give greater weight for the right body type.

Then, Improved sports diet is another answer to make the human body give that extra burst. Nutrients measured punctiliously to feed the need of every cell in the body may help it to achieve a slight edge.

Lastly, it is the human mind. We often underestimate the human ability to perform sports miracles. With enhanced sports psychology, the minds can be shaped to help release an enormous power to push the body. One of the factors which separates record-breakers from the rest of the crowd is self-belief.

While is seems that the human body can continue to push the limit, it has become increasingly difficult to break each record. The margins are expected to get smaller and smaller. One day, we may have to separate the Gold and Silver medal by one thousandth of a second.

The human body is indeed astonishing!! I am delighted to be reminded that while I am not built to break the 100m record, I am blessed with able mind and body.

Let's celebrate the human achievement while checking out the past 100m records ... Be amazed. Be very amazed.

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” – Ronald Reagan


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The Human Sailfish

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We Have A Date in 2012

The Real Fighters In Sports

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