Earlier today ESPN football analyst, Adam Schefter, reported that Tennessee Titan’s running back, Chris Johnson, was planning to race Jamaican world-record holder, Usain Bolt, in a charity event to see who the world’s fastest man really is. However, Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, says there is “no truth” to the report, “There is no truth to the story and I have contacted ESPN in an effort to get them to take the story down because we don’t want this to spread like wildfire.”
Yesterday, Johnson became only the 6th player in NFL history to eclipse the 2,000 yard single-season mark. Just last summer, Bolt broke the 100-meter world-record at the Beijing Olympics in a time of 9.58 seconds. Johnson ran an NFL combine-best 4.24 40 yard-dash. Even thought the race is apparently not going to happen the question looms, which man would win?
It was reported that Johnson wanted the race to be under 60 yards, but Bolt wanted it to be longer. Obviously Bolt would win in a 100 yard-dash because of his strides and training, but could Johnson beat him in a short sprint? Below is a brilliant explanation we found by “Shem L” on Yahoo! Answers:
“All of the people who are saying that Usain Bolt would run under 4 seconds in the 40 yard dash are incorrect. You can’t simply convert from meters to yards and divide by time. It doesn’t work that way. Sprinters start at a speed of 0 and generally accelerate for the first 50 meters and then start to slowly decelerate during the last 30-40 meters. A more accurate way to estimate Bolt’s 40 yard dash time would be to use the 60 meter dash world record as a bench mark. The 60m WR is 6.39 seconds by Maurice Green. Bolt really started pulling away from the field around the 40-50 meter mark, so I would guess Bolt’s 60m split would be about 6.35 seconds. This means that Bolt ran the last 40 meters in 3.34 seconds or 0.0835 seconds per meter. If we assume his speed over the last 40 meters was the same as his speed between 40 yards (36.576m) and 60 meters, than his 40 yard dash time would be……drumroll please…..4.394 seconds.
You really shouldn’t be if you know anything about track and field. There is a 0.1 or 0.2 second reaction time between the sound of the gun and when the sprinters start running. This same reaction time works the opposite way for 40 yard dash times because coaches start the stop watch on the movement of the runners. Therefore the stopwatch starts 0.1 – 0.2 seconds after the runner goes. So this means that when you hear a player at the NFL combine ran the 40 yard dash in 4.30 seconds, if he were running on a track with a starting gun, he would really have run between 4.50 and 4.70. Therefore if you account for the reaction times, if Usain Bolt were to run the same 4.394 second 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, they would likely clock him at somewhere between 4.00 and 4.20 seconds.”
The bottom-line? We’ll never know who would win in a race until they actually line up against each other. Unfortunately we don’t see that happening anytime soon.