July 14, 2011

Is The Best Skater Already Alive?

... meaning the best skater that will ever be ... not someone thirty or ninety years from now.

If you think about it, that's kind of depressing and cool all at the same time.

I ask this, based on an article I read, via the Daily Dish on the website Grantland, asking whether we are approaching the fastest times humanly possible for the 100-meter dash. Right now Usain Bolt, pictured above, is the fastest at 9.58.

The article written by Chuck Klosterman boils down the argument to this:

Is there an irrefutable dead end to the 100-meter dash? Is there a speed at which a human body would just break down and disintegrate, no different than a machine pushed beyond the capacity of its individual components? Some have been arguing "yes" for years. Reza Noubary, a professor of mathematics, computer science, and statistics at Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, has estimated "with 95 percent confidence" that the ultimate time for the 100-meter dash is 9.44. [The current record, held by Usain Bolt, is 9.58 - a .37 improvement from 40 years ago.]

That number seems as good a guess as anything else. But if Noubary is correct, it would force us to accept a depressing, unreliable notion — it would essentially mean we're about 25 years away from the pinnacle of human performance. It would mean that most of us will see the fastest man that could ever exist within our own lifetimes.

So are we getting there with figure skating as well? Will we ever see quintuple jumps? A quad axel? There were some years when I wondered if we would ever see a women do a triple axel. But they got there.

Well, while we may never see a quintuple jump, skating has the creativity that track and field do not. To me, creativity will always improve, change, and adapt.

What do you think - quad axel? If so, predict what year.


Anonymous said...

In ten years, I bet we'll see a quintuple jump.

Anonymous said...

It isn't always the jumps. Queen Yu-Na is the best!

Jane said...

But jumps get all the attention and she didn't land a triple axel in Vancouver. Mao Asada did.

Ice Charades said...

Oh snap, Jane. You just threw down the gauntlet. Luckily, I don't think there are any Yu-Na or Mao h8ers that read my blog or there'd be trouble.

Still, when I think about the original post, to think that in our lifetime, we may see the pinnacle of (singles) skating. Wow.