ERIC Number: EJ1079136
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Abstractor: As Provided
Modeling of Women's 100-M Dash World Record: Wind-Aided or Not?
Hazelrigg, Conner; Waibel, Bryson; Baker, Blane
Physics Teacher, v53 n8 p458-459 Nov 2015
On July 16, 1988, Florence Griffith Joyner (FGJ) shattered the women's 100-m dash world record (WR) with a time of 10.49 s, breaking the previous mark by an astonishing 0.27 s. By all accounts FGJ dominated the race that day, securing her place as the premiere female sprinter of that era, and possibly all time. In the aftermath of such an extraordinary performance, track officials immediately assumed that her posted time was wind aided--that is, attained under tailwind conditions beyond the legal limit of 2.0 m/s for world records. However, wind-measuring devices at the track site showed zero wind conditions during her WR performance. Before and during FGJ's race, other wind-measuring devices indicated speeds exceeding 4.0 m/s at the site of the triple jump runway, located on the same field as the running track. Video clips of flags placed near the starting line of FGJ's race also revealed tailwind conditions. Using available data from that era, the study here incorporates modeling techniques to compute velocity and position as functions of time for no wind and tailwind conditions. Modeling under no wind conditions produces a 100-m time of 10.70 s, a performance clearly attainable by FGJ during this stage of her sprinting career. Incorporating tailwinds of 4.0 m/s into the computations reduces this time by approximately 0.20 s, in close agreement with FGJ's record-breaking performance. These results strongly suggest that tailwinds of order 4 m/s were present during FGJ's world record race even though wind-measuring devices at the track site did not register these speeds. In spite of such strong evidence to support a wind-aided race on July 16, 1988, FGJ remains one of the top female sprinters in history and would likely hold the WR even today, given that she attained a non-wind-aided 100-m time of 10.61 s on the day following her WR performance.
Descriptors: Physics, Athletes, Athletics, Video Technology, Computation, Measurement, Females, Weather, Energy, Computer Simulation, Motion, Mechanics (Physics), Science Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A