July 22, 2012

AND HOW MANY OF THE CURRENT RECORDS ARE THE PRODUCT OF PEDs?:

Are athletic records reaching their limits? (AFP, July 22, 2012)

[S]ome scientists say sporting records are starting to flatline and one day will become near impossible to beat without drugs, gene splicing or futuristic technology.

The men's long-jump world record was set in 1991, the men's pole vault record remains unbroken since 1994 and short-distance swimming's achievements have actually reversed since the drag-reducing bodysuit was banned in 2010.

"In all sports, what you see is a levelling off," says Steve Haake, director of Sheffield Hallam University's Centre for Sports Engineering Research.

Records continue to be broken in many sports, but the margins are getting smaller and smaller, he explained.

Geoffroy Berthelot with the INSEP sports institute in Paris looked at a history of Olympic records since the modern Games began in 1896.

He calculates that athletes have reached 99 per cent of what is possible within the limits of natural human physiology.

By 2027, half of all 147 sporting events studied will have reached their estimated limits and will not be improved upon by more than 0.05 per cent after that, according to Berthelot's mathematical estimate.

"Sports performances are reaching a physiological plateau," he said.

Reza Noubary of Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania projects that the men's 100-metre sprint, seen as the benchmark measure of human acceleration and speed, can only have a top time of 9.4 seconds.

The "data suggests that human speed increases are decelerating and will eventually stop completely," said Noubary.

But, he cautioned, this prediction is based only on mathematics.



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Posted by at July 22, 2012 8:59 AM
  

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