London, Sep 11 : Scientists believe that Jamaican Usain Bolt could have run 9.55sec at the Beijing Olympics if he had not started celebrating before the finish line.
Bolt set a world record of 9.69 in winning the 100metre, but slowed down in the last 10metre, slapping his chest as he crossed the line.
Australia's national sprint coach Paul Hallam agrees with physicists from the University of Oslo, Norway, who through a series of calculations have come up with the figure of 9.55.
"He could definitely run 9.55. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he could do it," Herald Sun quoted Hallam, as saying.
"I have seen some unofficial stats from somebody who did their own analysis and his second-last split from 80-90 metre was .83sec, while his last split was .90sec. If he didn't ease off, then I would suggest his last 10 metre would have been .84, at worst. So there is six-hundredths gone, which already brings him down to 9.63."
Hallam said an improvement in Bolt's reaction time to the gun and any form of a tailwind, which has helped many world records in the past, would push him to 9.55sec.
"If he got a 1.5 or 2 metre tailwind and improved his reaction time by three-hundredths, then it is definitely possible," he said.
Hans Eriksen, of the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo, and colleagues, determined the faster time through a series of calculations.
They scrutinised TV footage of the race, taking into account factors such as Bolt's position, speed and acceleration, as well as that of silver medallist Richard Thompson, of Trinidad and Tobago.
Eriksen said the study, which has been submitted for publication in the American Journal of Physics, was a novel change to applying physics to the mysteries of the universe.
Hallam said the first 30 metre of Bolt's race was the most amazing part.
"His ability to get to 30m as fast as he can is just extraordinary. You expect someone who is 6ft 5in (195cm) to have phenomenal top speed but normally guys that tall take so much longer to get wound up to hit those numbers," Hallam said.
Story first published: Thursday, September 11, 2008, 16:01 [IST]
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