Effects of Wind and Altitude on the Times of 100-Meter Sprint Races

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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A method for adjusting the effects of wind and altitude on the times of 100-meter sprint races was developed in three stages: (a) generation of an initial model, (b) evaluation of the initial model using a test based on statistical information from world-class sprinting races, and (c) modification of the model to make its predictions fit with the statistical data. The test used to check the accuracy of the model's predictions involved a compilation of the 100 best races ever run (after adjustment of the times for wind and altitude effects), and a comparison of the average wind reading of these races with the average wind reading of all races. The modified form of the model predicted a 0.07-second advantage for a 2-m/s tail wind, a 0.085-s disadvantage for a 2-m/s head wind, and a 0.05-s advantage for the altitude of Mexico City (2,250 m). These values were clearly smaller than those predicted by previous models. If the modified model is correct, this implies that times made with aiding wind and/or at high altitude have greater merit than was previously thought.

Jesús Dapena and Michael E. Feltner are with the Dept. of Physical Education at Indiana University.

Direct all correspondence to Jesús Dapena, Biomechanics Laboratory, HPER, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.

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