Wednesday, February 3, 2010

bob hayes versus usain bolt

in 1963, bob hayes set a world record of 9.1 sec in the 100-yard dash at an aau meet in st louis.

at the 2008 beijing olympics, usain bolt established a world record in the 100-metre sprint, with a time of 9.69 sec.

if we were to pit the late bob hayes against the current world champion sprinter usain bolt, who would emerge the winner?

today, sprint distances are measured in metres, not yards, and 100 metres = 109.361 yards. as bob hayes in his record-breaking effort ran 1 yard every .91 seconds, his time for 100 metres would have been at least 9.95 seconds, or more than 1/4-second (.26 seconds) slower than the record set by usain bolt in 2008.

when i was still a student in secondary school in the early 60s, the 100-metre race was not in our school's track and field programme. instead, we had the 100-yard dash, held on the school field. measurements for running, throwing and jumping events were in imperial units. the height of the high jump was in feet and inches, not in metres and centimetres.

up to today, some older folks are still more perceptive if you tell them your height in feet and inches or your weight in pounds. even in the kitchen, some housewives are more comfortable using katties and tahils or pounds and ounces than with kilograms and grams.

when i rode my first motor-cycle, the speedometer showed the speed in miles per hour (mph), not kilometres per hour (kph). reminder of our former use of the imperial unit can be found in the names of places like 7th mile upper bukit timah road and 10 mile junction.

timesofmylife has blogged about this topic before.


peter said...


If u cannot break on time for the 100 yds, very soon you end up landing in the long jump pit.

I do remember we had 4X100. Was it 4X100 yds or 4X100m round the school field? I thought it was 4X100m.

yg said...

peter, your time, could have been changed to the 4 x 100m.

Lam Chun See said...

I still cannot grasp height and weight in m and kg. It's still much easier to picture a tall person who is a 6-footer. On the other hand, it is very difficult now to relate to speeds in mph. The buman mind is very strange indeed.

peter said...

Yg in that case, my timings not so bad when I first tried athletics in Sec 1. 100m took me 13.9 secs but could not make it to the finals. No wonder almost ended up crashing into the tuck-shop because so short breaking distance.

yg said...

peter, i think you were not trained to do the sprint. with your physique, you should be able to do a sub-13 at age 13.

Terrace Crawford said...

Looking forward to the Olympics.

--Terrace Crawford