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Usain Bolt and the Fastest Men in the World Since 1896 – on the Same Track

The New York Times

About the piece

Usain Bolt remains the fastest man in the world. But how does he compare to his predecessors? The New York Times created a set of visuals that showed how the athlete compares to some of the fastest men in the world since 1896. They display this by showing all the runners on the same track, something that none of us would normally see in our lifetime.

It shows Bolt compared to the great athletes of the past. The piece gives a great perspective on how far the sport and training for it have come over time. It recreates a scenario we wouldn’t normally witness: Archie Hahan in 1906 vs Carl Lewis in 1988 and Usain Bolt in 2012 and 2016.

The visuals work because you don’t need to be an avid athletics fan to understand what they are trying to convey. They offer insightful information in a very engaging way. It taps into an existing scheme – Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world – and then asks the question, ‘how does he compare to other great athletes from the past?’

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The New York Times
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