Can Bolt get every sprint world record?


Last week in Berlin, Usain obliterated his already ridiculous world records. His margin of victory was so great over otherwise fantastic sprinters that it got me to thinking that he might be so good at the 100m and 200m that he could maybe get the world record in EVERY SINGLE SPRINT EVENT without even doing specific training for them. Here’s a quick review of the possibility.

  • Indoor 50m- The current world record for the indoor 50m is 5.56 in 1996 by that year’s 100m Olympic Champ Donovan Bailey. Bolt ran 5.60 seconds for the first 50m….ON THE CURVE. Likelihood: No Problem.
  • Indoor 60m- The current world record for the indoor 60m is 6.39 in 1998 by the GOAT Maurice Greene. Bolt ran 6.31 seconds for 60m en route to his Beijing 9.58. Likelihood: CHECK.
  • Indoor 200m- The current world record for the indoor 200m is 19.92 in 1996 by Frankie Fredericks. I’d guess if you put Bolt in one of the outermost lanes on a fast banked track that he’d crush that pretty easily and run around 19.8 or below. That may seem conservative but he’s stated previously that he doesn’t like tight turns…and that’s kinda understandable seeing as the guy has a 90 inch inseam. Likelihood: Cool Breeze.
  • Outdoor 300m- The world record for the 300m is 30.85 by Michael Johnson. To run this Bolt would have to tack on a 10.66 second 3rd 100m on top of his Berlin 200m time. There’s a chance he could do it but I think that the dropoff over the last 50m in his Berlin splits indicates that it wouldn’t be a sure fire lock in his current condition. In fact, I actually think Usain’s speed endurance in the 200m and his 100m / 200m ratio shows that he would actually struggle (by comparison at least) in events longer than that right now unless he put in some more specific training time. Likelihood: A little bit of a stretch.
  • Outdoor 400m- If we use a conservative variation of my standard prediction for current 400m capabilities, I’d guess he’s capable of around 43.9 for 400m right now. That’s quite a ways off the world record but if his coach will make him commit to the event like he’s previously stated, then I’d guess he could take that get that too. Likelihood: Nope.
  • Indoor 400m- Oddly, the world indoor 400m record might be the most out of his range right now…because it would include his two weaknesses right now…tight turns AND long speed endurance. Likelihood: Not right now.

I think it’s safe to say he could probably get MOST of the records right now but he might struggle with the 400m records in his current condition. Next year there’s no major championship, so it would be a perfect time to go after this ‘trivial pursuit’ of getting every single record. That would cement his place as the most accomplished sprinter of all time and officially require Jules Winnfield to relinquish his wallet.

Mike Young

Mike Young

Founder of ELITETRACK at Athletic Lab
Mike has a BS in Exercise Physiology from Ohio University, an MSS in Coaching Science from Ohio University & a PhD in Biomechanics from LSU. Additionally, he has been recognized as a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength & Conditioning Association, a Level 3 coach by USA Track & Field, a Level 2 coach by USA Weightlifting.
Mike Young


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Mike Young
Mike Young