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Bolt fast due to long legs say Essex Uni academics
USAIN Bolt is the world’s fastest thanks to his long legs, according to research by Essex University academics.
A study by sports scientist Dr Matthew Taylor found the sprinter takes fewer steps than his rivals, covering more ground with each stride.
Bolt, who currently holds the world record in both 100 metre and 200 metre, takes an average of 41 steps over 100 metres to his competitors’ 45.
Dr Taylor said: “This allows him to cover a greater distance with each step, which in turn means he spends more time on the ground – only around one-hundredth of a second more with each step.
“We think this allows him to generate force over a longer time frame and as he lands his leg is less stiff, which possibly allows him to store and then release some energy as he leaves the ground again.”
The research, published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, also thinks Bolt could run even faster if he was quicker out of the blocks and had a fair wind.
Dr Taylor said: “He says he can do around 9.4 seconds. Partly that’s to freak out his opponents, but in the Beijing 100m final he relaxed at the end because he was celebrating for the last 20 or 30 metres.
“Looking at Berlin in 2009 it actually took him 0.14 seconds to react to the starting gun - there were five other sprinters faster than Bolt at that point, but it was the only time in the entire race when he was behind.
“If the conditions were optimal – the maximum legal wind behind him, the fastest possible legal reaction time out of the blocks and if he’d been at altitude, he could have run under 9.5, a mid 9.4.”