How top runners, swimmers and lifters would compare to members of the animal kingdom
Olympic athletes show an amazing ability to go faster, higher and stronger than the average person, but they would be left in the dust by members of the Animal Kingdom.
Usain Bolt is the fastest person on the planet, running the 100 metres in 9.58 seconds and reaching speeds of more than 37 km/h. But that is nothing compared to cheetahs. They can cover the same distance in 5.8 seconds and can hit speeds of 104 km/h. And the cheetah's speed is even more impressive over 200 metres: Bolt has a best time of 19.19, while the cheetah can run it in 6.9 seconds, according to LiveScience. The pronghorn antelope (89 km/h) and the fastest running bird, the ostrich (64 km/h), could easily run away from Bolt.
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When it comes to distance racing, the marathon world record is held by Patrick Makau Musyoki of Kenya with a time of 2:03:38. An endurance horse could run the same distance in 1:18:29.
As for how animals would do in the pool, they would swim circles around Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. The world record holder in the 50-metre freestyle, Cesar Cielo, swam the race in 20.91 seconds and that includes a diving start, which increases the average speed. Even with the start, his speed would be about 6.8 km/h. Phelps and Lochte's speed would be a tad slower. Meanwhile, a sailfish can reach speeds of 108 km/h.
World champion long jumper Mike Powell could jump 8.95 metres in a single leap, but that's well short of the 12.8 metres a red kangaroo can jump.
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In the high jump competition, a snakehead fish can leap four metres out of the water, which is much more than the 2.45 metres Javier Sotomayor leapt to capture his world record.
The most a human can lift above his head is 263 kilograms, done in the 2004 Olympics by Iranian Hossein Rezazadeh in the clean and jerk. By contrast, an African elephant can carry 820 kg and a gorilla can lift 900 kg.