Monday, August 24, 2009

Bolt's New 200-m Record and the Limiting Value

Fitting an exponential function to the data on men's 200 m world record progression.
On August 20, 2009, the Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt set again a world record of 19.19 seconds in the 200-m sprint at the World Championships held in Berlin, adding to the gold he won in the 100 m.

I have taken the data on men's 200-m world record from Ref. 1, and have tried the least squares fit of an exponential function to the data. The best-fit curve obtained are shown in the above figure together with the data used. The result shows that the limiting value of the record would be 18.81 seconds.

The computation of the fit has also yielded the probable error of plus or minus 0.52 seconds for this value, though the error larger than plus 0.38 seconds cannot actually happen. This indicates that the accuracy of the prediction of the limiting value by such curve fitting is quite poor.

  1. "Men's 200 metres world record progression," Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (24 August 2009 at 01:02)
Last revised: August 26, 2009.

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