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How Fast Is Usain Bolt?

Yesterday Usain Bolt won the Men’s 100-meter final in 9.63 seconds. He is faster than an elephant (but slightly slower than a housecat). He is the fastest man on two legs, and by some accounts is "the most naturally gifted athlete the world has ever seen."

But how does he stack up against other Olympic speedsters? Over at Engineering Sport, a blog of British engineers, Leon Foster tracked the average speeds of various individual Olympic sports. Bolt (23.4 mph) sits right in the middle of the pack; faster than freestyle swimmers (5.3 mph), rowers (11.36 mph) and triathletes (18.2 mph), but slower than speed skaters (33.7 mph) and flying start track cyclists (45.9 mph).

But Neither Bolt nor the bulging quads of the track cyclists ever have a chance of holding the true Olympic speed record. That honor goes to the shuttlecock, which, when smashed by Chinese badminton star, and 2012 gold medalist, Fu Haifeng, has been recorded by courtside microwave sensors at 206 mph.