Usain Bolt believes he could have run the 100m even faster than 9.5 seconds if “super spikes” had been available at that time.
In an interview with The Guardian, Bolt said he could have broken his own records if the next generation of high-tech footwear had been available at the time. He said: “We guessed and we talked about it, but I’m not sure. But certainly much faster. Below 9.5 seconds for sure. Without a doubt.’
Super crampons are shoes with highly responsive technology that offers greater running economy. Runners need less energy to run at a certain speed, which in turn can improve their performance.
For sprinters, this technology became mainstream in 2019, when Nike-sponsored athletes began breaking personal records and bests by wearing shoes like the AirZoom Victory. Similar technology was used in long-distance running for a bit longer, with the three 2016 Olympic Marathon medalists wearing prototypes for the shoes that later became the Nike Vaporfly 4%.
But some, like former marathon world record holder Tegla Loroupe, said the new technology amounts to ‘Cheating’. As a result, World Athletics has tightened the competition rules around new technology: any product must now be available on the market for four months before being used in a competition, while all shoes with a sole between 20mm and 40 mm, depending on the event, are totally prohibited.
Bolt is still the only man in history to run the 100m faster than 9.6 seconds, having set a record 9.58 in Berlin in 2009. But since super spikes started to gain popularity, a number of long-standing records have been broken.
Bolt said: “Me and a friend were talking about this the other day and I was like, ‘should I be upset? Because I know over the years everyone has tried to make different and better points, but… ‘
He added: “How can I argue if World Athletics decides it’s legal? I can not do anything about it. The rules are the rules. I don’t think I’ll be fully happy, but that’s just one of those things.
But Bolt’s records appear safe for now. American Trayvon Bromell ran the fastest 100m this season in 9.77 seconds, while compatriot Noah Lyles’ fastest time in 200m this year is 19.74 – both far from the Bolt.
Elsewhere in the interview, Bolt also praised British runner and Olympic 200m competitor Dina Asher-Smith for her work ethic. ‘Dina has already proven herself to be one of the best [sic] athletes of the world, ”he said.
“But she keeps pushing to be the best and beat the best. You see she goes to work. She has dedication. If a conversation takes place about who is going to win Olympic gold, it is part of it.
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