The Circus is SBS's daily look at world sport from left field.
The Circus - July 22
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt may not be able to run as fast as a Cheetah, but he can certainly dance better.
Stop dawdling, Bolt
Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt thinks he can run the 100 metres in 9.54 seconds. Why 9.54 and not 9.53 is a mystery. We say: dream higher, Usain! Dream to another one-tenth of a second at least.
Or, hell, dream of chopping the record in half. Some researchers say it is possible man could one day run 100 metres in five seconds flat, making the world's fastest land animal, the cheetah, nervous. (Although you could also argue that bullets already travel way too fast for most endangered cats.)
Reza Noubary, a mathematician at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, had previously calculated the "ultimate" human 100m world record as being 9.44 seconds, but now others are rethinking. Bolt has already lowered it to 9.69 and is slashing the time faster than evolution should allow (and no, that’s not a drugs query – he's just a running freak of nature).
Another US researcher, Professor Peter Weyand, of Southern Methodist University, has studied 45 of the top sprinters over the past 15 years and said they all conform to the same body type, except for Bolt.
"Bolt is an outlier. He's enormous," Weyand said. "Typically when you get someone that big, they can't start."
Throw in future genetic engineering to "modify and greatly enhance muscle fibre strength," Weyand says, and you may have a double Bolt, who would probably stand about 2.06 metres tall (6 foot, nine inches in the old scale) – which is 10 or so centimetres taller than Bolt.
Which makes the Circus wonder if we shouldn't start training 211cm Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands towards the London Olympics immediately. Oh, that's right. He'd need fast-twitch fibres.
Or maybe we should start training cheetahs for NRL and AFL careers. For what it's worth, even if a man does ever manage a five-second 100m, the cheetah will still be one second ahead, and that's over rough terrain. But then again, Bolt's undeniably a better dancer.
The marketing luck of the Irish
Real Madrid, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo in white for the first time, has squeezed past the Shamrock Rovers, 1-0, in a friendly, which will put a dampener on the Rovers' quiz night at Rosie O'Grady's hotel in the Perth suburb of Northbridge and hosted by Dom Piper this Friday.
Oh, hang on, that's a different Shamrock Rovers, based in WA and playing quite a few levels below the Irish namesake team beaten by Ronaldo and his new friends at Dublin's Tallaght Stadium yesterday. Then again, Shamrock Rovers FC was excited enough to be playing against Real that dodgy framed merchandise is already being threatened on the website. Is Tony Greig spruiking this stuff?
Anything Denise Richards can do…
Warming up for the NBA season, Shaquille O'Neal has landed his own reality show, Shaq Vs.
The monster hoopster (now with the Cleveland Cavaliers if you're having trouble charting his 17-year career) will challenge a bunch of other star athletes at their sport, including boxer Oscar de la Hoya and tennis star Serena Williams. It's fair to say we hope an episode sees him take on 15-year-old newly-crowned world 10m diving champion, Tom Daley. Shaq off the top board might empty the pool of water. It's a cool idea for a show and makes us wonder why Shane Warne didn't think of it? Oh, that's right … because he never trained.
Anybody remember Monty Pythons' Eric-A-Half-A-Bee song?
The Numbers Game
53 – the percentage of Sports Illustrated online readers who voted Michael Vick, just released from jail for dog-fighting, should be allowed to play NFL immediately. Twenty-eight per cent voted he shouldn't be allowed to play right away while 19 per cent want him banned for life.
30 – the number of minutes it takes just to get into one of the controversial high-tech swimsuits at the world swimming championships this week.
16 – the number of years of potential jail-time facing minor league pitcher Julio Castillo, currently in court for allegedly deliberately throwing a baseball at a fan during an all-in brawl between the Peoria Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons last July.
A new Circus ring … away strip of the week
It's a scourge or a boon of modern sport, depending on your point of view – the abandonment of the traditional kit for an "away strip". Some teams do it better than others. Isn't that right, LeHigh Valley IronPigs?
Headlines we'd like to see
Hawk president Jeff Kennett declines to comment
Quote of the day
"I'm out of it. I'm out of the race.”
- Cadel Evans accepts the inevitable after Stage 16 of Le Tour went about as well as the stages beforehand.
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