Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laser technology used to analyse Usain Bolt’s speed at Van Damme Memorial

Date:
September 21, 2011
Source:
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Summary:
Scientists have used advanced laser technology to measure and analyze Olympic Champion Usain Bolt's speed during his 9.76-second performance in the 100m sprint at the Van Damme Memorial on 16 September. It was the first time the technology has been put to use in competition. The new data will provide insights into improving the training regimens of world-class sprinters.

A team from the Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science has used advanced laser technology to measure and analyse Olympic Champion Usain Bolt's speed during his 9.76-second performance in the 100m sprint at the Van Damme Memorial on 16 September. It was the first time the technology has been put to use in competition. The new data will provide insights into improving the training regimens of world-class sprinters.

The team from K.U.Leuven is currently putting their expertise to work at elite training centres in China (Nanjing), South Africa (Stellenbosch) and the Netherlands (Papendal). "Biomechanically, the sprint is much more complex than one might expect at first glance," Professor Christophe Delecluse said. "The position and speed of the runner changes during the race and there are also a number of phases in the race, each with differing performance-deciding factors."

"With the laser, we can accurately measure an athlete's performance at each phase of the race. From this data, we can determine where the possible weaknesses are. Bolt's race times provide perfect phase-by-phase reference points from which to base our analyses of our own sprinters."

Bolt in 2009 versus Bolt in 2011

The K.U.Leuven team was able to measure Bolt's speed 300 times per second. Bolt finished the 100 metres in a time of 9.76 seconds. His top speed was 43.99 km/h (12.22 m/s), which he achieved after 67,13 metres. So what made the difference between his time at the Memorial and his world-record time of 9.58 seconds, run in Berlin in 2009?

According to the K.U.Leuven team's findings, Bolt lost ground in three zones:

1. He lost the most time during the first 4 strides of the race in Brussels. In the first 5 meters (approximately 4 strides) Bolt achieved a speed of 21.4 km/h, while in Berlin he reached 25 km/h in the same distance. In the following 3 strides, he made up for the lost speed and performed comparably to his world-record race.

2. In Brussels, Bolt's speed peaked at the 65m15 mark while in Berlin he accelerated for another pace before his speed decreased. His average speed in the first 75 metres was approximately 0.5 km/h higher in Berlin than in Brussels. His top speed in Berlin was 44.5 km/h. In Brussels it was 'just' 43.99 km/h.

3. In the last 10 meters, Bolt's speed was 0.5 km/h faster in Berlin than it was in Brussels.

Yohan Blake: new challenger?

Even if Usain Bolt's performance at the Memorial was a touch 'weaker' than in Berlin, his phase-by-phase scores remained high. Christophe Delecluse explains: "His only 'weak point' is his start, a logical consequence of his long body. His start at the Memorial wasn't stellar either. But that's relative: if you compare Bolt to previous top sprinters, he scores between 'good' and 'excellent' in every phase while Ben Johnson, for example, shined in the acceleration phase [but less so in other phases], and Carl Lewis could rely on his phenomenal top speed."

Meanwhile, a new sprint phenom has arrived on the scene. Yohan Blake, Bolt's 20 year-old training partner, clocked a 200m time of 19.26 seconds at the Memorial, just a fraction behind Bolt's outdoor world record. "Blake had another awful start," Delecluse said. "With better reaction speed, he would have come in under Bolt's record."

"After Bolt I thought the top sprinters would fit one mould: runners with long legs who managed nonetheless to achieve high speeds. But Yohan Blake is far from tall. That's why our research remains so interesting: the elite sprinters in the men's events tend to have very different body types. The differences between each sprinter can only be revealed through a detailed analysis of each phase of their race."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. "Laser technology used to analyse Usain Bolt’s speed at Van Damme Memorial." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921142032.htm>.
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. (2011, September 21). Laser technology used to analyse Usain Bolt’s speed at Van Damme Memorial. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921142032.htm
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. "Laser technology used to analyse Usain Bolt’s speed at Van Damme Memorial." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921142032.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins