An analysis of world records in three types of locomotion

  • Piero Mognoni
  • Claudio Lafortuna
  • Giovanna Russo
  • Alberto Minetti
Article

Summary

The record history of running, swimming and ice-skating, over various distances, was analyzed. A mean period of about 66 years for the 18 male events and of about 50 years for the 14 female events was studied. Over a given distance the velocity (v) was related to the dates of the records minus 1900 (T) according to polynomial functions like:
$${\text{v}} = {\text{ a}}_{\text{0}} + {\text{a}}_{\text{1}} {\text{T}} + {\text{a}}_{\text{2}} {\text{T}}^{\text{2}} + ..... + {\text{a}}_{\text{n}} {\text{T}}^{\text{n}}$$

In 21 out of the 32 events equations of first or second degree fitted the experimental data. The mean correlation coefficient was 0.979±0.019 (± S.D.). The ratio between predicted (v1p) and actual value (v1) of the last records was 0.999±0.010. For T corresponding to v1 (T1), the rate of record growth was slowing down in 5 events. Hence up to June 1981 a tendency towards an asymptotic v was not yet a general phenomenon. At T1 the range of the relative rate of increase of v (dvp/dT·(v1p) was 0.9·10−3 per year (800 m — female running) and 12.4·10−3 per year (800 m — female swimming). dv/dT·(v1p) in swimming and skating was similar in both sexes but 4 times faster than in male running. Less marked differences were found for female running. A lowering of the cost of transport was probably the main reason of the fast growth of swimming and skating records.

The numerical constants calculated from linear regression of v versus the time of the races over different distances did not seem to have a clear physiological meaning, as reported in the previous literature.

Key words

Swimming records Skating records Running records Cost of locomotion Male and female performances 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piero Mognoni
    • 1
  • Claudio Lafortuna
    • 1
  • Giovanna Russo
    • 1
  • Alberto Minetti
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro Studi di Fisiologia del Lavoro Muscolare del C.N.R.MilanoItaly

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