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To beat or not to beat that is the question

4 (2009)
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Whether there is a limit of human abilities in world sports records?

Many scientists and experts are assured: records in sports have reached a biological limit of a person. Really, there is another point of view — its supporters do not agree categorically with such gloomy forecast. Who is right?..

More slowly, lower, weaker?

Pessimists consider, that the mankind is approaching to a limit of its physical abilities, and in some tens years sportsmen will not be able to break records and if they will, then just a little. French scientists have studied the data about 3260 world records that had been broken since 1896 — the moment of renewal of Olympic Games, and came to the conclusion: the well-known slogan «Faster, higher, stronger» due to which thousand of athletes achieved outstanding results, would lose urgency in some years and would sound, more likely, as mockery. The analysis of last achievements in track and field athletics, in weight lifting, swimming, cycling, speed skating proves: since 1960th years the number of records gradually, but steadily decreases. Prospects are more encouraging for men, rather than for women. Russian sportswoman, Elena Isinbaeva keeps aloof. The World record-holder in pole-vaulting (in Olympic Beijing-2008 has hold her next record, having lifted a lath on height of 5,05 metres) has potential to exceed her own achievement to 50 centimetres! The other example recently was considered 9,74 seconds in run on 100 metres made by Asaf Powell from Jamaica. It was considered, that this world record broken not long before XXIX summer Games is extremely difficult to surpass and — more than that — it is biologically impossible.

However, inimitable Useyn Bolt in Olympic China has disproved this opinion, having done, it would seem, the impossible. The black athlete from Jamaica has run a hundred-metre race for 9,69 seconds, and has exceeded, by the way, world achievement on 200 metres — 19,30 seconds. Besides, he has won third «gold» in relay race 4x100 metres, and, by that means helped national team to hold a world record — 37,10 seconds. The representative of the All-Russia institute of physical training Tamara Abramova is convinced, that improvement of achievements in sport is possible, though not in many times. In her opinion, human body reserves are enormous, and much depends on preparation of the sportsman and recovery means. Olympic champion Svetlana Zhurova believes, that physical possibilities of sportsmen will be kept up by their state of mind: «In case of emergency person can jump on a plane wing, escaping from a polar bear. And woman, escaping from someone, can run a hundred-metre race, as the world record-holder. In preparation of sportsmen we don't fully use brain resources»" According to the expert-researcher of sportsmen abilities, Pavel Vashuk, even in the moments of the most successful performances the athlete uses not more than 30% of his abilities. Therefore, records in sports of last epoch can be beaten. Human body reserves are great, but they are blocked by psychic setup, as scientists believe.

From Medeo to Sochi

Many experts consider: sportsmen will gain from competing in high mountains — counter resistance sharply falls in rarefied air, thus, it is possible to increase speed essentially and, being lucky, to break a record. High mountains and the cleanest mountain water for ice laying, promote achievement of good results in skating sports. On the most high-mountainous complex in the world for winter kinds of sports of Medeo, the area of an artificial ice field is equal to 10,5 thousand square metres. The majority of the Soviet-Russian skaters broke world records there. For the first time the national team of the USSR has played on VII winter Olympic Games in Italy in 1956. The debut in Cortina d'Ampezzo appeared really triumphal. Our national team confidently took the first team place, having won seven gold, three silver and six bronze medals. The closest contenders — Austria (4+3+4) and Finland (3+3+1) — had considerably lagged behind. The Soviet skater Evgeny Grishin took two gold medals, hold world records in runnings on 500 and 1500 metres.

Familiar names of world record-holders women in sprint are Tamara Rylova, Inga Artamonova and Tatyana Sidorova (three records), Tatyana Averina (two), Lyubov Sadchikova (one). Men at the same distance: Evgeny Kulikov — five world records, Jury Sergeev, Evgeny Grishin, Valery Muratov — four, Pavel Pegov — two, Boris Gulyaev — one. The names of stayers-men on 10000 metres made history: Victor Varlamov, Victor Leskin, Dmitry Ogloblin, Igor Malkov. However, last record was broken in far 1984.

Today's leaders of a Russian national team in skating — Evgeny Lalenkov (the triple champion of Russia-2009, the record-holder of Russia) and Ivan Skobrev (the record-holder of Russia on a distance of 5000 metres). To the XXII winter Games in Sochi the arena for skating sports will be constructed. We hope that the capital of Olympic Games -2014 will become the factory of records, and will take this title away from Medeo. Besides, official world winter Games records are fixed only in skating sports.

Out of the mouths of professionals

Vastly Alekseev, the double Olympic champion, the 24-fold world champion, the owner of 80 world records, is included in the Guinness Book of Records:

— Undoubtedly, there is the limit of human abilities. However records still will be broken. The mankind grows, the gene engineering is developing… Now in weight lifting very rigid anti-dope control is introduced in practice; in Russian national team nine persons have been «turned down» recently … Personally, I did never accept a dope though some suspected me of it… What for anabolics? My testosterone in blood would be enough for national team of the USSR taken together!

I am proud that in whole my record in the triathlon — 645 kg — is eternal now. My best jerk result — 256 kg. Now the strongest person of a planet — the Olympic champion of Athenes, iranian Hoseyn Rezazade who has lifted 263 kg. Sometime, I think, some will reach 300 kg.

Alexander Prigoda, the deserved master of sports, the champion and the record-holder of the USSR in swimming (butterfly stroke), the winner of the international games «Druzhba-1984» (alternative to the Olympic Games in the USA):

— In 1984 I hold a record of the USSR in running on 200 metres, the result was 1 minute, 58,8 seconds. At the last European championship I would get to the ending with such time. So, for quarter of the century, swimmers have gone a little forward. In next 20 years man will not reach 47 seconds even in freestyle hundred-metre race. Somewhere there is the limit of abilities, and it is caused by physical condtitions of swimmers. But I'm assured: if the swimmer has no talent and good preparation neither pharmacology, nor new suits will help him.

Igor Solyankin, the deserved trainer of Russia on track and field athletics:

— Track and field athletics is not gymnastics or football where it is possible to train in technics. Purely physical qualities are at the first place for us. Only talanted sportsmen achieve results, especially in the sprint. If you are not disposed to records, no stimulators will rescue. Now many records seem really fantastic. These are hundred-metre races for men and women, run on 10000 metres for men and on 5000 metres for women, long jumps for women … Unlike 1980th years, today the list of the forbidden drugs has broadened — it includes those which were freely used before. Therefore, records are hard to break. Though, progress will come: sportsmen are becoming stronger, higher, healthier.

From the Guinness Book of Records
(the winter Olympic Games and the World championships)

Record number of Olympic medals (eight) Karin Kania (GDR) won in 1980–1988: three gold, four silver and one bronze. Men records: seven Olympic awards won CLas Thunberg (Finland): five gold, one silver and one bronze (1924–1928) and Ivar Ballangrud (Norway): four gold, two silver and one bronze (1928–1936). Lydia Skoblikova (USSR) has won six gold Olympic medals: two in 1960 and four in 1964 CLas Thunberg (Finland) win the title of the Olympic champion for five times in 1924 and 1928 and Eric Arthur Heiden (USA) in 1980. Absolute world champion in sprint among the men for 6 times became Igor Zhelezovsky (USSR/ Belarus) — in 1985–1986, 1989, 1991–1993.

Curling

Canada: men world champions for twenty four times, women world champions for nine times.

Bobsleighing

The biggest crop of medals — seven (one gold, five silver and one bronze) has collected Bogdan Muzial (GDR) in 1980–1992. Teams of Switzerland won world championship on the four for twenty times, also they have five Olympic victories (1924, 1936, 1956, 1972, 1988). On the pair Swisses won for seventeen times, including four Olympic Games of 1948, 1980, 1992 and 1994

Hockey

The national team of the USSR became the Olympic champion for eight times (1956, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1988, 1992 (the CIS). For three «gold» have won Vitaly Davidov, Anatoly Firsov, Victor Kuzkin, Alexander Ragulin, Vladislav Tretyak, Andrey Homutov.

World records in skating sports

World records in skating sports

Distance, m

Sportsman

Country

Result, s

Year

Place

Men

500

Jeremy Wotherspoon

 Canada

34,03

2007

 Salt-Lake-City

1000

 Pekka Koskela

 Finland

01.07.00

2007

 Salt-Lake-City

1500

Dannie Morrison

 Canada

1.42,01

2008

 Calgary

3000

 Emil Ervick

 Norway

3.37,28

2005

 Calgary

5000

Sven Kramer

Netherlands

06.03.02

2007

Calgary

10000

 Sven Kramer

 Netherlands

12.41,69

2007

 Salt-Lake-City

Women

500

Jennie Volf

 Germany

37,02

2007

Calgary

1000

 Cindy Klassen

 Canada

1.13,11

2006

 Calgary

1500

 Cindy Klassen

 Canada

1.51,79

2005

 Salt-Lake-City

3000

 Cindy Klassen

 Canada

3.53,34

2006

 Calgary

5000

Martina Sablikova

Czech Republic

6.45,61

2007

Salt-Lake-City

World records in track and field athletics

World records in track and field athletics

Category

Sportsman

Country

Result

Year

Sprint 100 m/men

Useyn Bolt

Jamaica

9,69 sec.

2008

Sprint 100 m/women

Florence Griffith-Joyner

USA

10,49 sec.

1988

Long jump/men

Havier Sotomayor

Cuba

245 cm

1993

Hammer throwing/women

Tatyana Lysenko

Russia

77,80 m

2006

Pole/women

Elena Isinbaeva

Russia

5,05 m

2008

Russian and European records in swimming (50-metre pool)

50 m on a back, men

Arkady Vyatchanin

Russia

0.25,40 sec.

2006

100 m on a back, men

Arkady Vyatchanin

Russia

0.53,50 sec.

2006

200 m on a back, men (Europe record)

Arkady Vyatchanin

Russia

1.55.44 sec.

2006

200 m breaststroke, women

Julia Efimova

Russia

2.24,09 sec.

2008

Relay race 4x100 combined, men (Europe record)

Arkady Vyatchanin

Russia

3.34,25 sec. (0.54,13 sec.)

2008

World records in weight lifting

Weight category up to 75 kg, women

Natalia Zabolotnaya

Russia

131 kg snatch

2007

Weight category up to 66 kg, men

Oleg Perepechenov

Russia

210 kg jerk

2001

Superheavy weight category (> 105 kg), men

Hoseyn Rezazade

Iran

263 kg

2004

Weight category up to 69 kg, women

Oksana Slivenko

 Russia

120 kg snatch and 156 kgjern (276 kg)

2007

Weight category more than 75 kg, women

Thang Gondhong

China

182 kg jerk

2007


Author: Constantin Kukharenko