Biomechanics expert reveals secret behind Usain Bolt’s sprinting success

Biomechanics expert reveals the science behind Usain Bolt’s sprinting success as eleven-time World Champion and eight-time Olympic gold medallist in Times Sport.

Posted: 2 October 2017

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Biomechanic expert Dr Ceri Diss was featured in Times Sport.

Dr Ceri Diss, Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics explained how Usain Bolt’s position in the starting box has contributed to his sprinting success. Since Bolt is taller than his competitors, he has developed his own running method over the first two strides of a race.

She said: “It is important for a sprinter to be in an upright position to begin their sprinting.  Someone with a shorter stature would be in their upright position by their second stride.  Bolt can’t do that.  Instead, he actually slows himself down by dragging his foot which enables him to more slowly come into an upright position by about step three. On TV, it looks like Bolt is accelerating away from his competitors, but what’s actually happening is that his competitors decelerate at 70 metres, whereas around 85 meters of the race he decelerates.”

To see the video featured in Times Sports, click here.

The Department of Life Sciences offers outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Sport and Exercise Sciences and Sport and Exercise Science.

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