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Humans are Getting Faster

Most people would think that running around in an oval is fairly monotonous, but I find it incredibly captivating. I ran track in high school and it’s oddly intense. You’re showcasing your fitness and athleticism in one simple action. You’re not using a ball, puck, racket or bat; you’re using just your legs. It’s so pure and uncomplicated.  My love for running and watching track drew me to “One Race, Every Medalist Ever.”

Once I opened the link, I was hooked right away by the brief description on the title page: “Usain Bolt’s 9.63 set an Olympic record in the 100. So how far ahead of every Olympic medalist is he?” However, what really made me think, feel and react was the medium the creators used to convey the information. They easily could’ve written an article, but instead created a visually appealing animation depicting the fastest sprinters from 1896 to 2012. They turned an interesting fact into an intricate animation that kept me constantly engaged. That’s why this story will last. It tells viewers all the details, sucking them in with a visual representation of facts, while simultaneously entertaining and informing.

One particular aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was how they compared today’s youth against past Olympians. This addition challenged my current concept of the past. I knew humans were getting faster every year, but I never knew we were so slow a hundred years ago. The fastest 8-year-old today could’ve had the 100-meter sprint world record in 1896. That’s terrifying and hilarious. I keep imagining this tiny kid speeding past fully grown men and laugh just thinking about it.

If I were to do this differently, I would include videos of today’s fastest kids. I actually went searching for some and found one of Kayla Clifton, a seven-year-old who runs a 14.07 second 100-Meter (check it out here and one of Lauren Rain Williams, an 11-year-old who runs a 11.94 ( How fast is that though? Well just to put it in perspective, Kayla is only a couple tenths of a second slower than me, and Lauren would leave me crying behind in the dust.

At this rate, in a hundred years newborns will be running faster than today’s Olympians.

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