The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Monday, August 17, 2009

Usain Bolt's world record 100 m sprint.

Usain Bolt has done it again and set a world record in the 100 m sprint: 9.58s. This occurred yesterday at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. Well done, Usain!

It seems to me that Usain Bolt is so far ahead of his rivals, in terms of sheer speed and potential for greater performance, that the 100 m event could be entering an era in which Usain Bolt's records will prove unbeatable for generations to come. Indeed, if he only trims a little more off his most recent record, it may be that the times he sets will never be beaten (by an unenhanced human).

I have long noted how ever smaller advances are made in most timed sports; how records become ever more incremental, in the achievement: mere hundredths of a second separate the best from the rest. Yet, I have also noted that the possibility exists for someone, ideally suited to a sport, to be so ahead of the others, that his (or her) records prove unattainable by others, for many decades to come. I think Usain Bolt is one such athlete.

In a way, Usain Bolt could be destroying his sport. By this I mean that the performances he sets up will stand for so long, that the possibility of an Usain Bolt record being broken, by anyone else, will dwindle in people's minds, until it is no longer a possibility. Runners will still run, sprinters will still sprint - but Usain Bolt's records will remain out of reach. They will be running not to break records - which will be unachievable - but simply to rank each other, against one another.

Usain Bolt has just shaved 0.11 seconds off the world record over 100 sprinting terms, that is an enormous step forward. Should he trim some more off this already incredible time, before his career is over, people not yet born may grow up knowing that Usain Bolt holds the 100 m sprint record.

It may be that Usain Bolt will turn out to be the greatest NATURAL sprinter, of all time. It may be that only enhanced humans will ever surpass the records he is now setting.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:55 PM 


Blogger Demel said...

It almost sounds as if the future generations have an argument to make for drug usage in athletics.

Rather hilarious, given the basis, but perhaps still rather disturbing. Or maybe I'm just being short-sighted here. Who knows? Maybe Usain Bolt 2's mere decades away. The world's a surprising place - I've learnt THAT time and again, at least.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

There will come a time, not so far away, in which the only way a record could be beaten, will be by means of human enhancement. There must be a limit to how much an unenhanced human can attain in physical terms...and I am pretty sure that Usain Bolt is damned close to that. Interestingly, an academic paper published in 2008 calculated that it was likely that the limit for human sprinting over 100 m would prove to be 9.48 Usain Bolt is nearing a theoretical limit for human sprint performance. Should he get one else will ever surpass him.

Thanks for your comment.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous BP said...

You have the same 18 hole golf course, but you can have the lastest equipment, which makes a huge difference.

You can say the same for swimming. So many records were broken at the recent world championships. Records, until the emergence of the shark suit, stood for decades. It is destroying the sport. I could go on and on but I think I will stop here.

This makes Bolt's record all the more impressive; given that he did not have better equipment to run that same 100m race.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

BP: no-one is going to beat the swim suit records without wearing a swimsuit...they will stand untouched, if no special equipment is used.

Yes: it is remarkable that Usain Bolt is making such strides forward without special equipment advantages.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Alex P said...

I believe that in sports such as sprinting and swimming, where such full-body swimsuits can reduce drag and reduce times, as well as the fitness trends, supplements that are so common in the sports, these records will continually be broken.
In sports like Golf, where you must map out the shot in your head, and being fit is not necessarily the best way to succeed, though it does not hurt, it takes true skill that new competitors will not be able to beat, of the legends for years to come (Tiger Woods, obviously). Even with the advancement of technology, like GPS (unless drivers become so fantastic that they can map out shots based on trajectory and control your swing with a series of beeps..if you go off course it beeps louder..but that is getting quite ahead of the technology). Anyway, in sports of sheer physical prowess, the records will continue to be beaten, as man slowly evolves his muscles.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks Alex for your comment.

There are, apparently, theoretical limits for human sprinting which have been calculated. Usain Bolt is nearing those limits. It is quite possible therefore that he will set records which will never be beaten by an unenhanced human...because it is simply not possible to do so. He is just 0.1 seconds slower than the calculated theoretical limit, at present.

Humans evolve pretty we can't hope for evolution to help us much in sporting events, unless it involves genetic engineering...

11:30 AM  

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