Usain Bolt breaks 100m world record with 9.58s to win 2009 World championships

>> August 17, 2009

What an electrifying night in Berlin!

Usain Bolt has broken the 100m world record with a time of 9.58s and won his first gold medal at the World Championship in athletics.

He eclipsed his own world record of 9.69s he set last year during the Beijing Olympic Games.

In contrast to the very popular "internet talk" (i.e., to win by his second half speed), the 6"5 Jamaican led the field right from the beginning; he reacted to the gun quickly at 0.146s - a standard reaction time by a world-class sprinter.

How would you imagine a 9.58s in the 100m? it's a phenomenon feat - one of the greatest sports performances and greatest improvements of a world record.

His clocked time was a "huge jump" in sprint timing from an "outstanding" (9.69) to a further level of "outstanding" - simply difficult to describe - maybe the history below can help!

Ben Johnson ran 9.79 in 1988 Olympics - this performance was annulled a few days later (anabolic steroid).

Carl Lewis's 9.92 had been recognized as world record when Johnson's 9.83 time (from 1987) was also deleted from the IAAF record book.

Lewis had renewed Leroy Burrell's world record of 9.90 with a 9.86 clocking to win the 1991 world championships - broken by Burrell again in 1994 with 9.85. 

Two years later, Donavon Bailey lowered the world record to 9.84 during the 1996 Olympics. 

During the world championships in 1999, Maurice Greene improved Bailey's world record by 0.05, with 9.79s - the largest improvement of 100m world record since 1968!

Then, Asafa Power set four world records from 2005 to 2007 with 9.77, 9.77, 9.77, and 9.74!

In May 2008, Usain Bolt "appeared" out of nowhere to break Powell's record by 0.02 at New York (9.72).

Two months later, Bolt renewed his record to 9.69 during the Olympics, despite his "showboating" and "chest slapping" at the last 20m of his race.

His time would have been faster - perhaps around 9.66? His split times seemed to suggest so.

Regardless of the story above, an improvement from 9.69 to 9.58 was unimaginable!

Bolt is impressive, he's relatively taller (1.96m) and muscular; he took 41 strides to complete his race, likely produced "optimal" stride length and stride frequency (combination; largely determine success in the 100m) as well.

The wind-speed was normal but favorable (+0.9 = ~0.045 advantage); the track is super fast (Polytan type); plus genetics?

In the final race, Tyson Gay was second at 9.71, renewing his American record by 0.06 - also phenomenon! 

Asafa Powell the four times world record holder was third in 9.84 - also impressive; a time that would win most of the past world championships.

What a race yesterday!

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