Bogus NBC sports comparison of 100/200 metres

Bogus NBC sports comparison of 100/200 metres

Post by David B. Gree » Thu, 08 Aug 1996 04:00:00


>>> >>   Bob Costas and NBC sports claims that Michael Johnson is the
>>> >>   fastest man in the world.  
>>> >>           Michael Johnson (200m): 19.32 sec ==> 23+ mph
>>> >>           Donovan Bailey  (100m):  9.84 sec ==> 22+ mph.
>>> >>   Therefore, according to NBC sports, Michael Johnson is faster.  
>>> >>   But this is BOGUS mathematics.  And if I be less generous, a
>>> >>   perpetrated fraud to cultivate commercial value.
>>> There's nothing wrong with NBC's statement.  (I can't believe I'm
>>> defending NBC's Olympic coverage!) It could be more accurately stated:
>>> Michael Johnson averaged 23+ mph, and
>>> Donovan Bailey averaged 22+ mph.
>>        Yes, but the average is a meaningless stat, if you
>>        want to treat the 200m as two 100m races and combine
>>        the times, the significant event would be "2" stop-start
>>        points for 200 metres run 100 metres at a time...and "1"
>>        stop-start point for the actual 200 metre race.  Thus,  
>>        where the 200 metre runner loses time near the end of his
>>        race (stamina)...he gains that time back and _MORE_ when the
>>        100 metre runner is penalized by the additional stop-start
>>        point.  Who knows how much time he gets back...but clearly
>>        200m is a race of speed and endurance...while 100m is purely
>>        speed.  And THAT makes Donovan Bailey the fastest man on Earth.
>100 M requires more than speed:  acceleration  and quick reactions are
>also factors that separate world class competitors.
>Also,  which runners best handled the psychological factors of two
>false starts and the extended delay by that runner who was
>disqualified? How did that affect the outcome?

>>> Given the data at hand, we cannot know what either runner's peak speed
>>> is.
>>        No, but we can definitely know that a stop-start penalty
>>        would greatly assist our understanding of the 200m and 100m
>>        races, respectively...and that 200m is simply not 100m
>>        run twice....which is exactly what NBC was trying to assert.
>>        Heck, if we clocked the final 70 metres between 30m and 100
>>        metres, I'm sure Donovan would clock somewhere over 25+ mph.

>Can I paraphase your original point to say that NBC should not be
>comparing runners who run at different distances? and that their
>effort to do so is lacking in sound mathematics?
>Maybe so. But why not make the comparison?  We're doing it. It's
>interesting food for thought and I think any couch potato watching the
>games knows that 19.32 sec in 200 M does not equate to 9.66 sec in 100
>Meanwhile, our attempts (yours, mine, others...) at more rigorous
>comparison of these races are also lacking.  Other factors to be
>1.) The 200 M race is run on a curve.
>2.) The starting blocks are staggered in the 200 M.
>3.) Runners do not accelerate in the same time & distance.
>4.) Carl Lewis was not a good accelerator, yet still won the 100 M.  I
>guess that's why he won both the 100 M and the 200 M in the same year:
>because his asset was his maximum speed.  Other great 100 M runners
>rely more on their ability to accelerate.
>5.) Reaction time - also more important in a shorter race.
>I bet there's other factors also that have yet to be mentioned is this
>news group.
>Now I don't like NBC's coverage either.   The only time you see
>anything but gymnastics, swimming, or marquis track & field events is
>when the U.S. is winning a gold medal (some exageration here).   But
>they are just showing the sports that will bring in the largest
>audience they can get for their advertisors.   It's how the free
>market works.  So I don't care for Olympic TV coverage in the same way
>that I don't care for People magazine.  Most people like it; just not
>Perhaps what needs to be changed is how the American public view these
>games.  We're just not interested unless an American is going to win.
>How can we change that?

Sattelite TV is the best option at this time.

Bogus NBC sports comparison of 100/200 metres

Post by David B. Gree » Sat, 10 Aug 1996 04:00:00


>>       Clearly, 2 seconds was an arbitrary number I used to illustrate
>>       the point.  It probably takes about 4 seconds to run the first 30
>>       metres, and probably 6-7 seconds to reach top speed.  

>Probably?  Another uninformed estimate?  Yup.

So for a typical runner, how far into the race is top speed reached? What are
the typical times for the first 30 meters?

>>               Nonetheless the analysis was correct...I just used
>>               wrong numbers.

>And a faulty premise, namely that a 100meter time and a 200meter time can be
>compared in any meaningful way.  The same faulty premise, in fact, that NBC

Geez, bloatus, can't you follow a USENET thread?  That was not kumar's premise -
it was a premise he took exception to.  He was giving reasons why the comparison
was not meaningful. Check his next paragraph for clarification.

>>       No kidding.   But that's what Costas attempted when he
>>       started comparing apples to oranges.  It's BOGUS to
>>       claim that Johnson is faster because he ran 23+ mph
>>       to Bailey's 22+ mph.  

Do you know what "comparing apples to oranges" means?  Do you know what
BOGUS means?

>We're agreed on that.

like duh ... why did you attack him for a "faulty premise" if you were
in agreement?

Dave Greene