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12-06-2010, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by steve141 View Post
Interesting that you bring up the 100m race. Jesse Owens set a new world record in 1936 that took 20 years to break. Since then over a hundred runners have beat Jesse Owens' time. Even the last place finishers in races today will often beat Owens record. Does that mean Jesse Owens should not be on a list of the best runners ever? Does that somehow mean that a guy that finishes 20th in the next Olympics is a better runner than Owens?
Take a look at Owens' shoes, the non existend starting blocks and the cinder track then try again.

Could Carl Lewis beat Jesse Owens in a 100-meter race? You’d think so if you looked at nothing but their times, but look again.

Jesse Owens ran 100 meters in 10.2 seconds. Carl Lewis won the Olympics in 9.99. What you have to look at again is the surface they each ran on. Owens ran on a cinder track. The final layer on all tracks of that era was made of the brittle, pebbly, porous residue of the iron smelting process. Carl Lewis won the Olympic 100-meter on a surface made of rubber and polyurethane.

Jesse Owens dug tow holes in the cinder track behind the starting line and planted the toes of his spiked track shoes in those holes as a brace for his feet in the starting position. Carl Lewis used carefully designed starting blocks planted on the surface of the track. We’ll never know how fast Jesse Owens could have run on a rubber track with starting blocks.

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