Have All The Records Been Set?

July 21, 2012 in Daily Bulletin


It’s possible that we’re approaching the limits of human achievement writes Peter Keating. Highlights include:

  • Around 1993 performers in the majority of track and field events seemed to hit their plateau, being unable to improve on those performances.
  • At this rate we’ll have reached the human limit in most sports by 2027.
  • This is odd because over time performance should increase – since the number of people does.
  • This is in part due to a dearth of innovation. It’s not just the human body that gets tested during The Olympics. Clothing, diet, chemicals and training all affect performance.
  • It is theoretically possible, for example, for Usain Bolt to beat his 100-meter record. According to an expert if he got off the block quicker, ran at a 1,000 meter altitude, and had a strong tailwind he could make the 100 meter run in 9.44 seconds (rather than the current 9.58).
  • Innovation has been halted by society. We don’t accept things like full-body swimsuits that helped peak times improve in the early 2000s while they were legal. Or drugs.

To read more including how Michael Phelps demonstrates the problem, what the experts have to say, the innovation in high jumping, the role that the Soviet Union played, and how current records will ultimately be broken, click here.

Source: ESPN

Via: Marginal Revolution