Home / 2008 Olympics: How Fast Is 9.69 Seconds?

2008 Olympics: How Fast Is 9.69 Seconds?

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Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters with a world record time of 9.69 seconds. Twenty meters from the finish line he began to slow down, thump his chest and wave to the crowd. Despite this break in form, no human being has ever run as fast as Usain Bolt.

So how fast is 9.69 seconds?

100 meters equals 109 yards. Usain Bolt ran 109 yards in 9.69 seconds. He was running 11.2 yards or 34 feet per second.

I am not totally confident in my math skills but if you cover 100 meters in 9.69 seconds, that is an average speed of just over 23 miles per hour. Since Bolt was slowing down near the end plus needed a couple seconds to get up to speed, he probably topped out at close to 25 miles per hour.

I remember being timed at about 11.5 seconds for the 100 yard dash in high school. Let me say that my time was way above average. Let’s add a second for meters so I would have run about 12.5 seconds. Bolt would have beaten me by about 45 meters which is almost half the length of a football field.

A cheetah can reach 70 miles an hour for a short period of time and a pronghorn antelope can reach 60, which is not good news for the antelope if the cheetah is chasing him. A lion can reach 50 miles per hour and a wildebeest 40, which again is not good news for one of the animals involved. Quarter horses can run up to 42 miles per hour and a Mongolian wild ass about 40 (seriously). A greyhound can reach 40 miles per hour (the dog not the bus). A black mamba snake can crawl 20 miles per hour so Bolt is safe in his native Jamaica. A turkey can only run 15 miles an hour so Bolt should always eat well. A chicken can run 9 miles per hour which is the only animal listed that I would be able to race.

Usain Bolt is only 21 years old so his best athletic years are ahead of him. He is already the Olympic champion and the fastest person who has ever lived. No doubt he will run even faster in the future.

So how fast is 9.69 seconds?

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About David Bowling

  • It turns out my math was dead on. Somewhere my Junior High School math teacher is smiling. Thanks, David

  • Be sure of your math, Google it:
    “109 yards per 9.69 seconds in miles per hour” = 23.008725 miles per hour

  • nick

    that was a good blog, quite enjoyed it.

  • It’s surprising how much flack swimmers get for the type of suits they wear yet runners get barely a mention of their shoes…