Monday, January 4, 2010

Usain Bolt vs. Chris Johnson

Author: Stretch


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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.

9 Responses to “Usain Bolt vs. Chris Johnson”

  1. eggs says:

    very very interesting…i say bolt wins in a 100 yd dash, johnson in a 40

  2. I’ ve watched track since the 60′s was at prairie View to see Hines run 9.1 and Anderson for Southern dothe same. Saw Bullet run 9.0 and numerous other sprinters throughout the SWAC. Theiron Lewsi, Phillip Black, Grundy Harris etc. Never have i witness anyone with the pure track talent of Usain Bolt. Unbelievable and he just keeps getting better> I’d bet good money he break 4.00 in the 40 yd dash as run by the NFL.

  3. Brandon says:

    I ran Div 1 track for for 4 years, got all american once and one conference 5 or so times(different events). Anyone that understands straight line speed, would not even consider chris johnson against Usain. The thought is laughable if you know anything about track speed. Also anyone saying that Usain is a slow starter is sadly mistaken. He is ahead of the pack at the 40 he just pulls away after 50 because he, like carl lewis, has a bit higher top speed but mainly because he maintains it better. His leg lift is great and frequency is that of a 5’11″ sprinter with the stride of a 6’5″ person. You do the math. He is ahead at everything from 0-300 against anyone he goes up against. Chris johnson is fast and great in the NFL, so we can say this – Chris Johnson is the better running back of the two and Usain has no competition in Chris Johnson in any type of run. There is a guy that goes to my alma mater that Chris can Challenge – his name is Teddy Williams and he runs 6.58 in the 60m dash Fully Automatic Timing. That would be a better race, Teddy would probably win though. He was in the semi finals of the olympic trials.

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