|Bolt’s false start at the 2011 world championships. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters|
If you’re upset that this competition is unfair, well, you may be right. Usain Bolt is the world’s fastest man. You, on the other hand, are just ears and a thumb as far as this quiz is concerned. But if there were a (short) list of speed-related things you could beat Usain Bolt at, his reaction time would be near the top.
In the 100-meter final in Rio on Sunday night, six of Bolt’s seven opponents reacted faster than he did:
Andre de Grasse
Ben Youssef Meite
But being faster out of the blocks wasn’t enough for those athletes: Bolt still won by eight hundredths of a second.
Guessing when the starting gun is going to fire won’t help you either. Any reaction time less than one-tenth of a second is considered a false start, and there are no second chances. In 2011, Bolt had a false start at the world championships and was immediately disqualified, a blemish on his otherwise perfect run of world championship golds from 2009 to 2015.