The Most Resilient Olympic Records

July 31, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

World records will be broken over the next few days in London, but some of these records are more impressive than others writes Nate Silver:

  • Track and field events have the most resilient records. The men’s long jump Olympic record was set 40 years ago in Mexico City.
  • The women’s 100 meter dash Olympic record was set in 1988 and since then no other woman has come within 0.2 seconds of the mark.
  • In the Beijing Olympics only five world records were set in the 47 track and field games that took place. In swimming 25 records were set in just 34 events.
  • In fact, swimming times have fallen at around 10% a year for the past 40 years. The same can’t be said for track and field events.
  • The woman who won the shot-put Gold in 2008 would not have even made a bronze in 1976.
  • Part of the reason for the success of swimmers is that they have benefited from technology – better costumes, and deeper pools.
  • But most importantly you need access to a pool to become a swimmer and this is only widely available in some countries. In contrast anybody can become a runner. Runners are more likely to have hit the wall of human achievement since more people have tried it.

To read more about how this relates to baseball, which records to watch out for in the Olympics, why even Beijing was an anomaly, the statistical method developed by Silver, what Nike and Reebok would like you to believe, Gould’s hypothesis, and what we should expect in Rio in 2016, click here.

Source: The New York Times

Via: Marginal Revolution