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Fun Facts: How Fast Can We Go?

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 14 Jun 2012 |
 
Fun Facts: How Fast Can We Go?

Since records began, people have been trying to become faster, through better training and improved nutrition. Women’s records are slower than men’s because of physiological differences. Women are generally smaller than men, with lower levels of muscle mass and higher levels of body fat, and smaller hearts. However, in some sports, the differences between the two are closing.

Swimming

Eamon Sullivan, an Australian swimmer, holds the men’s world record for swimming 50 m Freestyle (21.28 seconds) and 100 m Freestyle (47.05 seconds). He broke the 50 m record at the Australian Championships in March 2008, and the 100 m at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008. In the 50 m Freestyle, Sullivan was swimming at 2.35 metres per second.

Lisbeth Trickett, an Australian swimmer, holds the women’s world record for swimming 50 m Freestyle (23.97 seconds) and 100 m Freestyle (52.88 seconds). She broke both records at the Australian Championships in March 2008. In the 50 m Freestyle, Trickett was swimming at 2.09 metres per second.

Cycling

Sam Whittingham, the Canadian cyclist, holds the men’s world record for the 200 m flying start on a recumbent bicycle (5.523 seconds), reaching 132.5 km per hour (82.33 miles per hour). He broke the record in September 2008.

Lisa Vetterlein holds the women’s world record for the 200 m flying start on a recumbent bicycle (6.72 seconds), reaching 107.16 km per hour (66.59 miles per hour). She broke the record in July 2005.

Walking

Sergey Morozov, a Russian walker, holds the men’s world record for walking 20 km (1 hour, 16 minutes and 43 seconds) in June 2008.

Olimpiada Ivanova, a Russian walker, holds the women’s world record for walking 20 km (1 hour, 25 minutes and 41 seconds) in August 2005.

Running

Usain Bolt, a Jamaican runner, holds the men’s world record for running 100 m (9.69 seconds) and 200 m (19.30 seconds). He broke the records at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008.

Florence Griffith Joyner, an American runner, holds the women’s world record for running 100 m (10.49 seconds) and 200 m (21.34 seconds). She broke the 100 m record at Indianapolis, USA, in July 1988, and the 200 m record in Seoul, South Korea, in September 1988.

Skydiving

In August 1960, Joseph Kittinger, Jr, jumped from a balloon in the stratosphere (102,800 feet or 31,330 metres) and his skydive reached up to 614 miles per hour (988 km per hour), about 90% the speed of sound (Mach 0.9).

Skiing

Simone Origone, an Italian skier, holds the men’s world record for speed skiing at 251.4 km per hour (156.2 miles per hour). He broke the record in Les Arcs, France, in April 2006. This was 105.675 km per hour (65.588 miles per hour) in 1930.

Sanna Tidstrand, a Swedish skier, holds the women’s world record for speed skiing at 242.59 km per hour (150.74 miles per hour). She broke the record in Les Arcs, France, in April 2006. This was 127.138 km per hour (78.82 miles per hour) in 1963.

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