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Usain Bolt vs. 116 years of Olympic sprinters

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Today's fastest 16-year-old could have scored bronze in the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, according to a visualization from The New York Times.

Usain Bolt New York Times visualization
Usain Bolt New York Times visualization

The New York Times has published an incredible series of visualizations, using 3D models to compare today's top sprinters, swimmers, and long jumpers with athletes from every Olympic Games since 1896. The standout is a video analyzing Usain Bolt's blistering 9.63-second performance in the 100m dash last night, showing just how far ahead he is, not only of the current crop, but also of the top sprinters of yesteryear.

If Thomas Burke, gold medallist at the first modern Olympics in Athens, ran last night, he would have been more than 18m from the finish line as Bolt crossed it — he would even have been beaten by last-placed Asafa Powell, whose groin injury forced him to jog across the line in a disappointing 11.99 seconds. But it's not just top athletes who impress — according to data from the Amateur Athletic Association, the United States' fastest 16-year-old today could have won a bronze medal at the 1980 Games in Moscow.