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Carl Valle

A popular question every February is how fast can Usain Bolt run the 40 yard dash if he was to partake in the NFL Combine? What seems like a simple and straightforward question at first is actually still a little bit of a mystery as some unknowns exist with the differences in extrapolating 100 m track performances to those at Indianapolis. To the average person, the 100 meters and the 40 yard dash are basically running in a straight line with the shorter distance being the gold standard for sport testing. Unfortunately, even the most straightforward of tests, the 40 yard dash has a few curveballs with how one actually times the event, creating a lot of confusion and assumptions on how fast athletes are now currently, and especially the tales of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders from the past. In this article we will define and explain the differences in the 100 m track event and share the very specific nuances of the NFL combine, a performance event that still has validity issues on how fast athletes are really running.

World’s Fastest Man

Every four years we see some of the best athletes in the world line up and run the 100 meters at the Olympic Games. Everyone wants to see who the world’s fastest man, and so far we know based on both placing at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, that man is Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Usain won both the 100 m and 200 m events at both Olympics and contributed to both gold medal wins on the 4 x 100m relays. During that Olympiad, a period of four years, Usain Bolt won the 100 m at the World Championships in Berlin, setting a world record in the process. His time of 9.58 seconds stands as the fastest time any man has gone, regardless of wind, a factor that can sometimes help or hinder a performance since the 100 m is nearly always outdoors. We will use his performance from Berlin as a model to compare how fast the most successful sprinter of all time and compare it to the combine 40 yard dash to see not only how fast Bolt could have ran if he was begin scouted, but why athletes running at other scouting events may be running better because the difference in how the NFL combine actually times their athletes.

Sprint Rounds – Making the Finals

The 100 m dash event is not just one race, but three rounds of races over two days to funnel the fastest men in the world into one final race in the evening during the early part of week of major track meets such as World Championships and Olympic Games. One should know the 100 m event is not just one race, but a series of rounds of sprinting, sometimes the addition to relay duties and possibly other events like the 200 m or a horizontal jumping event will be added to the athlete’s plate. All of this is important to understand, since the information from major championships has some hidden or contextual factors that should be carefully reviewed before assumption of the findings. Data or statistics can be misleading if the details behind the numbers are not shared. We will come back to the significance of running rounds and other events later in this article.

Reaction Time

The best sprinters in the 100m move through the rounds and the top eight reach the finals, and if the conditions are right, a breakthrough performance will be possible. Before looking at a world record we need to see that while the Olympic sport is very clear and extremely objective. The rules of the sporting event will create some interpretation between what their performance time (race results) and their actually running speeds during the race when compared to combine testing. The most obvious difference to track coaches but is often missed by some notable strength coaches when comparing the first part of the 100m to the 40 yard dash. That difference between combine testing and the 100 meters is the reaction time. The reaction time is the period between when the starting gun goes off and when the athlete first initiates movement. This period of time is added to the entire running of the 100 meters and the first man to cross wins. Sometimes when races are close, like the final of the women’s 100m at the USA Olympic trails, a “photo finish” is used to see who not only won, but how fast they finished to the thousandths of a second. The Olympic Games and other major tack meets, even high school competitions now use what is called fully automatic timing (FAT), be it a camera or some sort of sensor to accurately get times of the event. To remind you, the timing equipment will time the event from when to gun goes off to when the athletes cross the finish line. This means all times in track and field include reaction times. It doesn’t matter who has the fastest reaction time as that usually contributes a little more than a tenth of a second to basically a ten second event, but in the 40 yard dash a tenth of a second is far more valuable- as less distance and therefore less margin of error exists due to the brevity of the test. Here lies the biggest difference, the 40 yard dash is a test, not a race, since each athlete runs when they are “ready”, something completely different than the 100m in track and field. The 40 yard dash includes just the running, with no reaction time including in the performance test. So to compare fairly, one should subtract reaction times from the sprinters in track and review their running speeds to 40 yard dash running times, provided that the methods and equipment used to time are the same.

Timing Technology and Methodology

Now that we have a basic understanding of the difference between the 100m and 40 yard dash besides the obvious length and units (yards versus meters), let’s look at timing in more detail. Timing is a combination of technology and methodology, and different equipment and approaches will produce different times, even if the athlete is running the exact same speed and distance. Many athletes are often disappointed when they run a 40 yard dash for the first time and see a time much slower than the soon to be NFL athletes, and that is for many reasons. One is the most obvious, an athlete preparing for the NFL draft is not only one of the best athletes in the world, they are supported by an agent investing into preparation for the 40 yard dash with coaches, nutrition, recovery techniques, and just practicing the test. They may not be faster on the field, but practicing tests such as the SAT will improve the scores, not make you smarter, or in this case faster. Technique in the 40 is about learning to put your body in a position to accelerate efficiently from a crouched position called a three point start, something not often is repeated in the game, especially with many of the skill positions are standing. Another reason athletes in the NFL combine are performing faster in general is the way they time. Mentioned earlier, fully automatic timing in track and field starts capturing the duration of the race from the starting gun going off until the athletes chest passes through the line. The NFL combine uses a person, Mark Gorsack, to be specific, to estimate the first movement of the athlete and then using the timing gates to get the splits, each 10 yard segment, and the cessation of the test at the 40 yard mark. In essence the 100m track event adds the athlete’s reaction time making event accurate in duration but not showing how fast the running was. The 40 yard dash uses a human that is reacting to when the athlete starts, thus not starting when they move, but when the starter reacts to their movement. To clarify, the NFL combine uses a human start, imperfect and not repeatable, to initiate the recording of the time, thus subtracting a reaction time of the starter from the running performance. When athletes get hand timed (using a stop watch) for both start and finish from a high school or middle school coach, they are benefiting from two moments that are about a tenth of a second off, resulting in about .24 being subtracted to their actual performance. You can see why a high school athlete looking to get recruited from a college experiences a rude awakening when the local performance facility uses electronic timing for both start and finish, with times appearing much slower. It’s likely the athlete had the same running performance, but they were simply timed differently. So many times football players think they are at the level Chris Johnson is, but wind up closer to Tom Brady speed.

Types of Electronic Timing

When electronic timing is mentioned, the general public assumes that a universal standard of measurement exists since all equipment is the same. This is not the case. Timing in track and field is about reacting from a gun, but during practice or testing, sports that measure speed usually rely on photo cells or “laser timing”. A beam of light being crossed at the finish makes sense, but at the start it’s hard to truly say when movement is initiated with equipment. First movement is technically very subtle, as the true definition is down to the fraction of an inch or even less than a millimeter. Measuring that isn’t easy, so many systems use a small pad near the line for the hand to rest. Soon as the hand moves, common with most starting positions, the timing is triggered and the athlete is on the clock. Another option is having the beam or light sensor close to the line, and when the athlete passes the timing gate it signals to the display or computer that clock is running as well. Having different options of triggering the initiation of timing means that different equipment yields different times. With the use of high speed film and starting blocks with sensors, world class track and field has arguably the most precise and accurate timing available. For the sake of getting the valid data, we will use Usain Bolt’s time from 2009 and the research conducted after his world record by the Germans. The scientific research project captured the entire race, and the data really illustrates how fast how fast bolt was running the race through every step.

Velocity Analysis of 100 meter Sprint

Velocity over Distance of the 100 meter sprint.

Figure 1: Velocity (m/s) versus Distance (m) of the 100 meter sprint.

Interpreting the chart isn’t hard, but at first glance is looks a little busy with the blue line being fuzzy due to the laser timing getting estimated readings on the athlete because of the movement generated at each stride. The red line is the average speed to smooth out the running velocity (vertical) over the 100m dash (horizontal). What you see is a steep curve flatting out around 30-40 meters and then slowing down slightly from 80-100 meters, the most common pattern with elite sprinters. I explained earlier that I would share why we needed to talk about the need to elaborate more about the previous rounds and the race itself to understand fatigue in the event, since a comparison between the 40 yard dash and 100m requires some important factors and details. Current sprinters must have a complete race to be competitive. In the past some would be great starters or finishers, but now everyone is more well-rounded. In 1996 Michael Green, another Jamaican, ran 3.77 seconds through 30 meters while bolt ran 3.78, the only man to out accelerate the world’s greatest sprinter. Not only was his total time faster, but his reaction time was 0.147, a hundredth or 0.01 seconds slower, sill placing his running faster than Usain Bolt. Subtracting his reaction time, Greene his run was 3.62 compared to Bolt, who attended the same High School nearly 20 years later, ran a 3.63 for the same distance. At 40m Bolt past Greene considerably, and by 50 meters it was not even close.

Estimated Splits of Usain Bolt at 30m, 40 yards, and 40m with Reaction Times

Figure 2: Estimated Splits of Usain Bolt at 30m, 40 yards, and 40m with Reaction Times

Looking at the same graph with a dimmed background of the distance past 36.6 meters, or 40 yards, you can see that most of the distance is acceleration, but the first third of the race most of the work is done going from a stationary position to gaining as much speed as possible. When people talk about fast athletes, the specifics should explain what type of speed the athlete has. Speed can be maximal, their ability to accelerate or overcome inertia, or their ability to even decelerate and accelerate again (change of direction). Some athletes have one or two strengths and are average in one, but some excel in all three abilities. In Track usually the fastest athletes win the races, but at high levels the genetic playing field is rather even, so all components of the race distance, including specific speed endurance at the end comes to play. While an NFL athlete may sometimes run the length of a field in rare occasions, track athletes always run the length of the race barring injury or false starting. It’s important to know that while Bolt may have the best 40m in the world, he is focusing on having the best 200m as well. Time, energy, and focus is on not only the 100, so it should be noted that track athletes are excelling in a distance that is part of their race, no the entirety of a test. While a 60m event is available during the indoor season to elite sprinters, some don’t compete at all during that time period. If a 40 yard dash was the Olympic event, we would see times faster than the splits we are seeing in the first 36.6 meters of the 100m.

Predicting NFL Combine Performance

To recreate what Bolt could most likely do if he was to be participating in the NFL combine, we would need to take his running times performed historically and convert that performance to the timing methods that they are using, such as human start and electronic finish. So instead of adding a reaction time at the end, we will subtract the time that the starter. Reaction times are highly individual and ranges exist to what is average. The problem with giving a specific time, say a tenth, is that Mark Gorsack has all the cards to the fate of the end time if he is incredibly sharp or should have had his morning cup of coffee. Let’s for the sake of argument assign a tenth of a second, something close to what the research says, to the reaction time of Mark. This means, after the time is calculated from the 30-40m acceleration curve, we subtract 0.1 to get Bolt’s “NFL Combine Performance” in order to replicate the timing conditions.

Usain Bolt 100 meter Splits

Usain Bolt 100 meter splits at 2009 World Championships

Table 1: Usain Bolt estimated 100 meter splits at 2009 World Championships.

Above are the 100m splits of Usain Bolt from Berlin at the 2009 World Championships. At 30m he is about 3.78 and at 40 he was estimated to be 4.64. The fastest 40m ever run is by Usain Bolt, so while at 30m Michael Green may have had a step (actually a toe) on Usain, 6.6 meters later he was caught and passed slightly. No to get too complicated with the mathematics, each step the athlete is accelerating faster and faster, but not perfectly, so we can only estimate what Usain bolt was doing based on calculations. The most logical approach is to use the data from Berlin and create a model that has a line similar to one of best fit. Even the most advanced calculations are only going to be an estimate, and we will be only rounding to the nearest hundredth. Based on the data, it’s estimated that Bolt ran a 3.63 for his 30m minus the reaction time. Now the real question is what was he at 40 yards exactly. Splits every ten meters appear linear, but even the small segment of ten meters still has a curve. Even if one calculates the time at 36.6 meters it’s still an estimate, and most conclude 0.556 to 0.582 is realistic based on the time segment from 30m to 40m.

Adding 0.571 to the 3.63 time segment to get a 40 yard dash running time is about 4.20, and that includes no reaction time subtraction of the timer from the combine. While it hard to know what the true reaction time of the timer is, conservative estimate is about 4.10 by removing 0.1 or a tenth. If the timing was completely hand time, meaning a stop watch, removing the accepted 0.24 from 4.20 would equate to about 3.96, or a sub 4, a level no football player would match. All of this is accepting that the same fast track surface, spikes, and blocks are used. What about other surfaces, footwear, and starting without blocks?

Running Surfaces

NFL football field 40 yard line

The most obvious question people have is running on grass versus running on a hard fast track, such as the most recognized Mondo surface. While tracks are faster, the surface at the NFL combine has gone from AstroTurf to a rolled surface. Showing they wanted to preserve the speed at Indianapolis. We can assume that the slope is zero, since some surfaces reportedly have been a degree or more to artificially inflate times. We will give Indianapolis a level playing field literally. The next question is spikes versus a small cleat or trainer. The athletes are using a specialized running shoe, and the advantage spikes have compared are hardly measurable but for the sake of argument we can add a few hundredths to bolts time. While blocks add an advantage, the research on difference between blocks and no blocks is murky and several videos of sprinters accelerating very effectively. In fact Alan Wells, a gold medalist from 1980, who until the Olympic Games was successful without starting blocks as he was not using them until a rule change forced him to use the equipment. The three variables may decrease the performance of Usain Bolt slightly, but one counter is the fact that no sprinter is specializing in the first 30-40 meters only, and if so that would likely offset the performance slightly, perhaps neutralizing the blocks. For argument sake I will add in a few hundredths, but still, a sub 4 second performance is possible with hand timing on a non-grass surface.


In conclusion, the specific method and equipment clearly has an impact with the times athletes will produce in 40 yard dash testing, and the uniqueness of the NFL combine creates a controversy in the true speed of athletes. After sharing the evidence of what Usain is capable, we should give credit to both sets of athletes, track sprinters as well as NFL players.


A special thanks to PJ Vazel for his vast knowledge on split times and historical details with the championship performances.

Please share this article so others may benefit.



  • joe hinton says:

    They say numbers never lie..but these one of theproif that they do..bolt is too tall for it to be a 4.20…regardless how fast he run…i deion and Chris Johnson run a 4.24 in the forty..and I don’t see bolt out running either in the forty…

    • Anonymous says:

      you aren’t too smart. Bolt wins easily

      • Anonymous says:

        Chris Johnson would for sure beat Bolt in a 40 yard dash. i once seen CJ2K run a touchdown in practice, come out of the end zone and run it back to the other end zone untouched… “dat boy GOOD”

        • na says:

          yea, he sure is good, but that doesn’t prove he’s faster in the 40 than Bolt

        • Anonymous says:

          he’s fast…..beating Bolt is taking it a little far.

          • Anonymous says:

            He is faster than bolt in the 40 that was already proven on sports science. I think they said bolt said he’s never ran faster than a 4.3 40. Bolt becomes the fastest human in the world at about 60m-100m

          • Joe says:

            Did you bother to read the article? The whole point was that a 4.3 at the track with electronic starts and stops and reaction times figured in would translate to a sub 4 sec 40 yards at the combine in Indianapolis.

          • Manny says:

            Bolt does not just become the fastest human from just 60m as others seem to be claiming with no data. THe splits form his WR conclusively prove he was ahead by 15m and never headed thereafter. Only 1 man -a fellow Jamaican Michael Greene, has ever recorded a faster 30m split than Bolt – and that was by 1/100th of a second at that and by 36.6m (40y) Bolt had passed him. Think that of all the fastest men ever recorded, nobody else ever, not Blake, Maurice Greene, not Boldon, not even Ben Johnson on steroids at Seoul was faster than Bolt after the first 10m. To suggest anybody, especially a non-Olympic level sprinter carrying 10-15 extra pounds of bulk would beat Bolt running on astroturf in football cleats, shows a spectacular lack of understanding. It’s been shown that Bolt’s time, with the same timing and measurment setup as the combine and some 40 yard-specific drills could feasibly run sub-4 seconds.

          • BigPapaLou says:

            Give your heads a shake…Bo Jackson hands down every time. EVERY TIME.
            Different Athletes excel in their chosen realms be cause they are good at what they do. Part of being that good is having the god given natural ability and physicality to perform such feats.

        • TylerEstes says:

          That just shows he’s very, very elusive.

          • Rational Human Being says:

            Those of you saying that CJ2K would be Bolt are out of your minds. For one thing, in the Combine the clock starts with the players. There is a huge difference between the clock starting based on the player and the time it reacts to a gun going off during an actual race like what Bolt runs. Johnson was a successful sprinter in high school, but can’t even compare to the actual world record holder. Bolt is in a whole different league, not even comparable.

          • Vernon says:

            B. Jackson and D. Sanders could both beat Bolt in the 40. Wake up guys.

        • Qurrat says:

          It will be a photo finish

          • Harley Lashua says:

            Really it, bolt would beat wouldn’t be a photo finish, anyone who thinks that is either a little kid or just retarded because B. Jackson and d. Sandes are fast but not that fast and did you not just read what Usain Bolt’s 40 is it’s 3.7 or 3.6 on grass so i would say usain is faster then 4.18 and 4.27 40 yard sprinters.

          • Dennis says:

            You guy are on crack – read the science and do the math – Bolt would smoke them.

        • Brub says:

          Bolt would defintely win they don’t call him the fastest man in the world for nothing and he does 100 meter dashes not long distance so that goes to show he’s faster

          • Anonymous says:

            Bolt does not start fast. He is middle of the pack until they hit 60M. He is tall and takes a little longer to get going. He. would run mid 4.3 to 4.4.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ya okay so what does that prove that he ran a touchdown and ran all the way back we’ll talk about a 40-yard dash for one thing buddy and by the way my boy John Ross Jr are you beat Chris Johnson’s record

        • Anonymous says:

          ya, CJ2K has a snowball’s chance in hell. Bolt was sub 4.4 at 40. At his peak this would be a no contest. That is the difference between track speed and nfl speed. I know guys that were great at both and they’ll tell you the fastest guys they saw were on the track.

      • me says:

        Until the first time a LB popped him.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank You
        Finally somebody knows what they’re talking about it’s frustrating hearing people throw out stuff that’s so far from what would happen

    • na says:

      Because opinions prove everything, right?

    • This Guy lol says:

      So you’re saying because he is tall and therefore has a naturally longer stride and also an Olympic sprinter with flawless form, that he can’t run a 4.20 forty? You sir are very uneducated in the aspects of exercise science.

      • kdubbz says:

        Ill say this youre right, but I run track in college now and while i know Usain is very fast I also know most tall athletes like for example Kim Duncan arent ones for immediate acceleration and getting out might not be their strong suit. The back end of their race lets say the last 60 meters of the 100 is definitely a lot faster than the first half. So with that being said it is plausible that Chris Johnson might be faster not saying it true but its plausible

        • TheRealNeal says:

          There’s some bad assumptions in the article. The idea that blocks doesn’t help is laughable. Any physics professor can explain that to you. Also the thought that 100M sprinters don’t train to run the first 40 yards as fast as possible is incorrect. Maybe at 20 yards, but at 40 yards their goal is to get there as fast as possible and be in perfect form, which is the exact same thing the football players do. How would you suggest Bolt runs his first 40 yards to go faster? The fastest players in the NFL all run just like sprinters do, because they were all sprinters at some point, starting low and eventually running fully erect. Football players don’t train for the 40. They train for football, and they practice their starts for a couple of weeks with the track coach.. at the same time they’re working on agility drills, route running and catching bench pressing 225 lbs as many times as they can.

          I would agree that the conclusion is that Bolt is probably a little faster. Maybe a 10th of a second. There are probably half a dozen shorter sprinters than him that could compete with or beat him in the first 40. Now I want him to play football for 14 years, including all the beating his body takes, and building the upper body strength, he would need about 20 lbs of pec, shoulder and bicep muscle to look like Chris Johnson, and then have him run, without his starter blocks and without a track surface. Likewise, what would happen if Chris Johnson stuck with track? He’d be noticeably faster.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sigh… can we use just a little bit of common sense here? Chris Johnson doesn’t even run the fastest 40 (and not even close) in NFL history. And you guys are comparing him to the fastest human ever to grace our planet! Chris Johnson, Deion Sanders, Willie Gault, Alexander Wright, James Jett, Sam Graddy, Daryl Green, and even Bob Hayes, as fast as they were, would get absolutely blasted by Bolt. Also, just because he is 6’5″, doesn’t mean that he (and he alone) can’t get out fast. He is a freak even in the track world with his start for his height. If you’ve never seen him run in person, you simply just can’t understand how fast he’s moving. Even that early in his run.

          • Anonymous says:

            Here is the fallacy in the entire argument. you would have to compare oranges to oranges by letting Bolt race a football player. Oh yea, he did. He raced several college football players in the Olympics and beat them. The only thing is that he didn’t beat them nearly as much as the faster players in the NFL. Think about it, some of these wide-outs and backs can run as fast as Bolt with pads on.

          • Anonymous says:

            So u tellin us Bolt has less muscle than CJ2K dude u are jokes

          • Anonymous says:

            Not true at all. Sprinters run longer distances and conserve energy till a certain point. They are never at their fastest at forty yards. Of course football players train for the forty it’s a big part of how prospects get picked. What are half of you even talking about? You run track in college well even if your comparing Bolt to a regular human, which he is not. Only one person in the history of the Olympics has a better acceleration through 30m. How is is height slowing him down? Nfl players are fast but aren’t Olympic athletes. Have you guys forgotten Bob Hayes? He was an Olympic athlete who came to the nfl and was by the far the fastest man. Now nfl players are faster but so are Olympians. Game, set, match. Olympians

          • Anonymous says:

            Okay well Chris Johnson didn’t stick with track and Usain Bolt doesn’t have 20 lb extra muscle on him I’m talking about the fastest man in the Forty regardless anyways cuz my boy John Ross Jr now haha

        • Anonymous says:

          Garbage . You know nothing about sprinting..

          • Anonymous says:

            Kim Duncan you’re comparing Usain Bolt the fastest man ever to step foot on this Earth and comparing him to Kim duncan because they’re both a couple inches taller then your average Sprinter
            What event what college did you run for I was an All-American Sprinter at the University of Washington so anyways shout out to my boy John Ross Jr fastest 40 time in combine history and by the way go back and read the splits that were in the article or did you not read that or did you read it and didn’t understand it can’t stand some people in

      • Anonymous says:

        Bj Raja is faster

      • Chris says:

        Yeah, not to mention he actually did run a 40 last year and clocked in at 4.22… Look it up for those who doubt

    • Anonymous says:

      If you’re saying height has anything to do with him running a 4,20 you’re wrong because there’s a guy going into the nfl who runs a 4.6 he’s an offensive lineman 6’5″ 306lbs so bolt could easily run a 4.2

    • Anonymous says:

      Bo is faster

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you, I agree with you. Bo is Faster

        • Anonymous says:

          Absolute cods wallop. Usain Bolt would absolutely holy destroy Bo over 40 yards. I have seen them both run, its not even close.

        • Harley Lashua says:

          No not at all Usain is faster then Bo are you retarded.

          • Anonymous says:

            Fastest man in the world? Retarded? lol. Usain ran a electrically timed 40 yard dash last year at 4.22. I love No, but his time, and Deions 40 times, were hand clocked. If you doubt, do some research

        • Scifidelic says:

          Bo is only faster in Nintendo Tecmo Bowl 1989

        • Anonymous says:

          Okay well Chris Johnson didn’t stick with track and Usain Bolt doesn’t have 20 lb extra muscle on him I’m talking about the fastest man in the Forty regardless anyways cuz my boy John Ross Jr now haha

        • Anonymous says:

          Why it’s Bo faster
          Oh you think bo is faster cause your way up his jock strap And cant see the truth in numbers. Look Bo Jackson didn’t even make the finals of the 55-meter dash in college in Ozark Legion athletes

    • Anonymous says:

      Hell no Bolt will beat them easily on the track and on the field be money

      • Champ says:

        I have ran indoor track and had the privilege of signing 2 NFL Contracts. I can say training for the 40 yard dash is a totally different animal than training for the 100 meters. In the 100 meters, your goal is not to reach full speed as soon as possible. If you reach full speed early your deceleration phase is long. Bolt would not run the 40 yd dash in the same way he runs the 100 meters. My money would be on Bolt.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes-I am glad someone finally made that point

        • Anonymous says:

          Fact! He already ran a 4.22 40 yard dash, I believe it was, last season. Look it up. Bo and Deion had the fastest hand clocked times… Bolts time was electrically timed like at the modern day combine

    • Anonymous says:

      We are talking worlds fastest man vs ONE of the fastest football players… Bolt by a land slide, he has the world record for the most common sprints in the world… Easy answer

    • Anonymous says:

      Y’all do know that Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world… Height having nothing to do with speed… Randy Moss was fast as hell… Over 6 feet… Lebron James is 6’8 or 6’9 and runs a 4.3 … No one can see Usain in the 40

    • Jazmine says:

      Can we all just agree that they both are amazing sprinters and we won’t truly know until it happens.

    • Anonymous says:

      100 meter’s is 109.361 yards,therefore usain bolt can run a foot ball and a little over half way back in 9.58 seconds..that’s my lesson for today.all of you except for a few have failed.. Stop trying to figure it out,you will hurt your self.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice math with a “little over half way back” lol

      • RR says:

        109 yards equals a football field and halfway? 109 > 150?

        • Ethan says:

          Let’s change the topic. Who would win a race between a cheetah and Usain
          bolt I think that Usain would win because cheetah can only run short sprints of 68-75
          Miles per hour then Usain can run 40 miles per hour then if Usain gets tired like some
          humans do they walk so that’s why I think that he would win

          • Anonymous says:

            40 MPH?

            The fastest human footspeed on record is 44.64 km/h (12.4 m/s or 27.73801 mph), seen during the final 100 meters sprint of the World Championships in Berlin on 16 August 2009 by Usain Bolt (average speed between the 60th and the 80th meter, which he covered in 1.61 seconds).[4

          • Anonymous says:

            Probably depends on which one is chasing the other, fear can make anyone faster, lol.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why it’s Bo faster
        Oh you think bo is faster cause your way up his jock strap And cant see the truth in numbers. Look Bo Jackson didn’t even make the finals of the 55-meter dash in college in Ozark Legion athletes your wait a minute buddy how is 109 yd equal to more than 1 and 1/2 length of a football field some people man f*** so annoying stupid

    • Anonymous says:

      bolt has ridiculously long strides about 5 yards each and he could probably do the 40 in under ten steps. That is why he would beat CJ in a 40

      • drew says:

        Stop putting out false info chris jhonson does hold the fastest 40 at the combine at 4.24 and if you knew anything about bolt you would know his one weakness is that he is a slow starter and picks up speed with his huge stride and breaks free of everyone but the 1st quarter of his run is his slowest its not opinion its fact so do some research before calling people out based on ur opinion

        • Ethan says:

          That’s how you keep your stamina up and we all know that stamina is how long you can do something without getting tired

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah okay you’re the idiot yeah the start might be his lowest part of the race but his slowest part of the race is faster than anybody in the worlds did you just not see the data at 30 m so yeah buddy I think you need to put your foot in your mouth and do your own freaking research before you call somebody out your an idiot can’t stand stupidity people that are just naive you just told me to do research you didn’t have to go anywhere to find this research it was I’m the same f****** page if we just read buddy did you even graduate high school

    • Anonymous says:

      Breshad Perriman ran a 4.25 and he is 6 foot 4 inches.

      • Anonymous says:

        6’1 to 6’2

      • Anonymous says:

        Yah, Bolt ran an electronically clocked 4.22 second 40-Yard Dash in 2018. This was a Year AFTER he Retired, and 9 Years AFTER the Prime of his Career in 2009 when he set both World Records for both the 100 & 200 Meter Sprints which STILL STAND untouched Today!! So of course Bolt would have run AT LEAST .2 Tenths Faster if he would have ran this 40-Yard Dash 9 years previous during his Prime!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Has everyone forgotten about Bo Jackson’s 40 yard dash that was 4.12 seconds.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely correct.A few days later bo ran a 4.18 forty.Fuck those skeptics Bo knows.

      • Anonymous says:

        Haha hand timed which is on average .2 seconds off electronic

      • Jason says:

        Bo never ran a legitimate timed 4.12, they were all hand timed. Add .24 to that (the standard difference the IAAF used when electronic timing first replaced hand timing) and it becomes 4.36… What, do you think it’s a coincidence that all the combine times got slower after they introduced electronic timing???

      • RB says:

        He personally admits its 4.13, same as running back Michael Bennett who clocked in at 4.13 as well on the 40. He was also a track star chose football over olympics

        • Anonymous says:

          Bennett was fast but he was not going to the Olympics even if you wanted to or train for it so he didn’t technically choose football over the Olympics it was never a choice he was not an Olympic caliber athlete

      • Anonymous says:

        Hand time buddy that was hand-timed

    • Anonymous says:

      Bo Jackson 4.12

    • Anonymous says:

      Bo knows speed!

    • Jacoby Roundtree says:

      Bolt isn’t used to running a 40

    • Jesse James says:

      That’s the NFL combine record. Sure bro, sure

    • Matt says:

      Darrell Green was clocked at 3.81 in the 40

    • Anonymous says:

      Your crazy. Deon Bo Jackson are tall an ran in the 4.2s. Most fast ppl are taller the the average person.

    • bill says:

      Gatlin for USA would beat bolt and Johnson because bolt is always behind till he hits the 40-50m mark then bolt hits his stride which is 2nd gear and pulls away

    • larry davis says:

      A German Bob Sleder years ago ran a 3.98 according to a Olympic broadcaster.

    • Teresa says:

      No Jackson ran faster

    • Craig Wilson Jones says:

      look at the graph— bolt ran 36.5 yards in 3.68 so we can assume his 40 speed was 3.8ish? football players are fast, but they are not like world class sprinters…

    • lu666ke says:

      Coleman received some notoriety after the 2017 NFL Draft scouting combine. John Ross set a new combine record of 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash and claimed he was faster than Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt. Coleman responded to this by running the 40 in 4.12 seconds on turf.[6]

    • Dan says:

      Well on Feb 1st 2019, an old retired Bolt well off his prime, while wearing in capri pants and regular walking shoes, just casually ran a 4.22 tying the fastest recorded 40 yard dash. In normal running attire and is his prime, it’s not out of the question to think he would have a shot to break 4 seconds. At least been able to get under 4.1

    • Anonymous says:

      You know Bolt ran a 4.22 not even warmed up, or really trying. Your comment is old but proven wrong. I am sure by now you know he ran 4.22.

    • Charles Rodgers says:

      What? That would be just as ignorant as saying that at 235 pounds Bo Jackson was too heavy to run the 4.12/4.13 in the 40 yd dash which was recorded at the Combine his rookie year.

    • Edward l carr says:

      Randy moss was 6’3″ and ran a 4.25…the height thing is not a good argument, hes the FASTEST HUMAN SPRINTER IN THE WORLD, if the finish line is at 60 he wins ,at 40 he wins,so your best chance is 20 and …thats it..this is what he does for a living …sprints…

    • Russell Adams says:

      Good call, seeing that Bolt just ran a 4.22 40 yard dash in 2019. I’m sure he could have hit sub 4.2 6 years prior.

    • Anonymous says:

      Okay i love me some prime to however why would you think that prime or chris johnson could be bolt the fast man ever to live. Prime ran track at fsu and he didn’t even make finals in the 55 meters dash which means at least eight individuals were faster than him and remember these were Collegiate athletes not even professionals.
      I was an all american sprinter sophomore year at the University of Washington till I got to give a shout out in love to my boy John Ross Jr fastest 40 time in NFL history

    • Anonymous says:

      This didnt age well ????

    • Anonymous says:

      Usain Bolt “jogged” and equaled the NFL combine record of 4.22 he wasn’t wearing proper footwear or running clothes he also had a standing start also he did this when he was invited to the combine after Ross ran 4.22.

    • Timmmmmay!! says:

      Now that Usain Bolt has run a 4.22 second 40 in jogging pants have you changed your mind?

  • paol says:

    great article. Excellent job by the writer.

    • Jeff nelson says:

      Except countless grammatical, spelling and structure errors. At least 6 or 7 times I had to re-read a sentence and add words forgotten by the writer.

      Overall I enjoyed the facts and information in the article.

  • Selim says:

    I agree with this last post. Comparing the speed of a gold medal olympian who broke the world record by 2 tenths of a second and was so far ahead of the other fastest 8 men in the world that he was able to celebrate 10 meters before the finish line with the fastest NFL players is devoid of logic. Not only would his 40 yard dash be faster but he would win that race 100 times out of a 100 times. Likewise, the NBA player with the highest vertical would lose 100 times out of 100 times against the olympic high jumpers. The highest vertical in the NBA at one time was Michael Jordan (48 inches). If you’re a competitive olympic high jumper you warm up jumping that high. It just makes sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are stupid
      Just because someone trains for the Olympics doesn’t automatically make them better than people who train the same way for something else get rekt I leave you with more knowledge than your Paleolithic brain had before

      • Anonymous says:

        Without insulting people while attempting to support your answer, here’s some math for you. 100 meters converted into yards is 109.361 yards. Now, divide by his fastest recorded time, 9.58 seconds on a 100 meter. This equals 11.37 y/s, rounded. Now, multiple 11. 37 (Potential yards each second) by 4.24 (Your fastest electronically clocked 40 yard dash in the NFL) and you get an answer of 48.2088 yards. Now, I’m fully aware this isn’t 100% accurate in the situation, as a 100 meter dash takes a build up of 40-60 meters.

  • Anonymous says:

    It also makes a difference hard ground to grass and if these ball players are faster why aren’t they called the fastest man in the world duh

    • Anonymous says:

      Bullshit its easier to run on grass than track y do you think.they have spikes on da bottom of thier shoes in football they have something different but it uses less support for slipping then in track shoes i ran track before it definitely not easier to run on track then grass

  • Gregory Whitis says:

    It’s time we put up the fastest player in the NFL and Bolt in the 40 and the 100m head to head , take bets, and do it for charity.

  • anonymous guy says:

    to me I think usain bolt is indeed the fastest runner ever but in the next 3 years theres a great chance he wouldn’t beat his record again. and there is a 70 percent chance that someone on this planet is faster than bolt its probably because they didn’t do so well in school and didn’t get there life straight and that usain had a chance to have his shine. also there will be someone born that will maybe be faster than bolt and will beat usains records. sooo usain bolt is the fastest man in the world… for now!?!?!

    • Brandon says:

      70 percent?? I’d ask you where you got your number, but nobody wants to go there, it has a big crack in it.

  • jordan says:

    he is a fast runner

  • fred eley says:

    Your high jumper basketball vertical coparison is absurd. It’s comparing apples and oranges . I saw dwight stone in a slame dunk contest once, and I was embarrassed for him. Now the volly ball players were a different story. Those guys could sky. Anyway I would love to have seen mr. Bold race mel grey in pads on a field for 40 yards when they were both 21.

    • Stone says:

      Hi, I was never in a dunking contest… Get your facts straight .. Haa haa’re funny.. You never played any sports pass pop Warner ….LOL

  • Colton says:

    You guys arent realizing that professional athletes would never beat olympic athletes for many reasons. Professional athletes have to work on WAY more than just jumping or sprinting whereas olympic athletes don’t need to train for anything more and they’re fucking olympic athletes. Usain Bolt would make C2K his bitch.

    • anonymous says:

      As if Usain Bolt isn’t a professional athlete. He gets paid to do his sport. Definition of a professional athlete.

  • Anonymous says:

    That stupid person who said highest NBA vertical was 48 inches by MJ is not even close to olympic high jump is retarded. Vertical is jumping straight up and most likely dunking. High jump you could scissor jump 48 inches but getting higher you turn your body completely side ways which adds like 20 inches

  • Anonymous says:

    I came out with just about the same exact (final 40 yard time) for Bolt. If you run 1 yard/ second = 2 MPH… That comes out to a guy running at 4 MPH finishes a 40 in 20.00 seconds. At 8 MPH he finishes at 10.00 seconds. At 16 MPH, finishes at 5.00 seconds… If you have a super Human running at 32 MPH (say Captain America) it’s a 2.5 40 time… but go back & say 24 MPH… that’s a 3.75 40 time… figure in Bolt’s 22.9 MPH speed, & you come out to a 4.203…… (if he was 22 MPH, he’d have a 4.063 40 time).. From what I heard, Bo Jackson ran something like a 4.12 (or it could have been 4.18, but I’m not positive). If you had Bo in his prime, RACING Bolt in HIS prime, they would push each other. I used to run races all the time, & usually won, but when running on my own, always was hard pressed to put out a good time. With competition, you ALWAYS outdo yourself.

  • Tim says:

    Some of these comments scare me. Only on the internet can you have one person with a clear understanding and education about an issue (in this case the author) present his thoroughly research opinion only to have a bunch of mentally incompetent people (all of you who posted ridiculously ignorant comments) try to “refute” that opinion based upon bull$h!t you pulled out of your @$$. Now this is not to say that you can’t critique the author if you have a GENUINE critique. For example, the author mentions the issue of wind but then never develops that issue. (I don’t find that to be too concerning; I point this out to demonstrate what an actual critique could be to all of you ignoramuses.)

    Perhaps the real blame here should fall on the American culture that inspires two men to run full speed at each other and bash their heads together, and I admit I’m part of that problem. But clearly some of you commenters have partaken of the sport too much and have destroyed what few brain cells you originally had.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the best post of all posts. Most of these posts are blustering morons trying to refute the author who presents facts, not allegorical information such as, “in my experience, guys who are 6’5”! His height is already factored in from the fact that he IS that tall and still has imperical evidence showing he has already run the fastest 40 yard dash time (or tied for it). If he runs the fastest 40 yard time, the fastest Nfl player has run a 9.96 and also ran close to the fastest 40 (4.26). Suffice to say, this is not even close but it is fun reading how many idiots exist out there

  • Pj says:

    Who cares about cj2k and Bo if they were the fastest they would be named the fastest man in the world but they r not usian bolt is

  • Brian Crawford says:

    first of all bolt is juiced out of is mind and will be caught in time just like lance armstrong, and marian jones and all the others. just look how he broke records in tenths of a second and not hundreths of a second. football guys running the 40 are juiced also just look at them after they retire, they get smaller and dont look like football players. so this is a silly arguement because both are cheating

    • Anonymous says:

      You know that muscles shrink overtime right?

    • Anonymous says:

      What are you talking about? Usain Bolt is nowhere close to bejng juoced out of his mind. That’s honestly the worst argument I’ve seen on this page. The guy is probably the scroniest guy on the track in the 100m final which with his height I guess could be possible but then theres also the fact that they test the athletes for that now. Come on. this isn’t the eighties. They dont allow juicers in the Olympics.

    • Anonymous says:

      How is this a silly argument were talking about the fastest person regardless you’re silly

  • Ned says:

    This argument is bizarre. It’s perfectly plausible of the fastest NFL player to beat Bolt over 40 yards and that’s because a 40 yard dash is very different to a 100 metre sprint. Watch some of Bolt’s races and you’ll see that he doesn’t normally lead races from the start – he tends to break away at around the 50m mark and his higher top speed allows him to cruise to victory. Look at this as an example –
    To be clear, no NFL player would come close to beating him over 100m, but it’s possible over 40 yards as other sprinters often lead him at that point before he breaks away.

  • Paul Helsel says:

    If Kevin Hart can beat Usain Bolt at a race, anybody can.

  • Noah Caldwell says:

    Uhm. Remember Bo Jackson? A 4.12 40? That’s insanely fast. But it doesn’t mean he’s the fastest. It might mean his acceleration is the best. But that’s it really. Usain Bolt is the fastest man, but speed is the only thing you could compare. NFL players and Olympic track runners are two completely different things.

    • Jason says:

      Bo never ran a legitimate timed 4.12, they were all hand timed. Add .24 to that (the standard difference the IAAF used when electronic timing first replaced hand timing) and it becomes 4.36… What, do you think it’s a coincidence that all the combine times got slower after they introduced electronic timing???

    • Teresa says:

      Your absolutely right

  • AMiller says:

    This is a bit ridiculous. The world record at 60M is 6.39. Bolt’s fastest split at 60M is 6.31, which is faster than the author used to drive his estimate. Which means over 60M Bolt is still the fastest man in the world.

    For any of you to believe that any football player is faster you would need to believe that there are NFL players who run somewhere in the neighborhood of that speed. At that point Bolts time is dominated by the acceleration phase. If you said he took a second per 10M in the last part of the race, then he would be at 4.3. Subtract the reaction times and other hand timing issues and he is easily at 4.0 or 4.1.

    For those of you who think height makes a difference you are nuts. What makes Bolt a freak is that he can get to tops speed as fast as world class sprinters who are 6-8 inches shorter.

    Finally, you realize that in the 80s football players were world class sprinters. Gaddy, Gault, Herschel Walker. They left the football field and walked straight into the Olympic trials or the Olympics in some cases. That is no longer true today. There are no football players leaving college that can walk on to a track with world class sprinters and not get smoked at 60M. They would not be leading at 40M either. The gap is too great and specialization matters.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you know who Bo Jackson is? He ran a 4.12, 40 yard dash. Bolt has that speed because he started at a rate and stayed there without slowing. Bo started at a complete stop. Bo has a much fast acceleration, yet he might not be that fast for that whole run. For a 40 he is though.

      • Jason says:

        Bo never ran a legitimate timed 4.12, they were all hand timed. Add .24 to that (the standard difference the IAAF used when electronic timing first replaced hand timing) and it becomes 4.36… What, do you think it’s a coincidence that all the combine times got slower after they introduced electronic timing???

    • gfjman says:

      Finally, someone that makes sense, a voice of reason! Football players have tried to qualify for the Olympics. It just doesn’t happen any more.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ha, ha, the true record holder as a junior is/was who? & how many more records are being held as a junior? 🙂

  • lou says:

    Checkout Ike Taylor. .the coach that had both dion and Johnson said Ike Taylor was faster then both and the fastest he had ever Ike Taylor speeding ticket.

  • Matthew says:

    Just looking at that 4.20 second estimate. I think it’s quite accurate. Sure a CJ2K fan could argue that it was on grass and that it was a test, not a race but looking at the 9.58 second 100m Usain ran he was in front at about 40 yards by one stride and that was against a total field of sub 10 second sprinters. I was curious given Usain is a freakish height for a sprinter at 6’5″ so his acceleration for a man that height is freakishly unprecedented.

    I did see a contest on youtube between soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and a sprinter. Cristiano’s stride length was shorter and more often and he lost in the straight, but weaving around flags, his style was completely different to the sprinter and Christiano won easily.

    Change of direction at speed etc are also valid. It is possible that many potential NFL greats have never been realised due to the 40 yard sprint. William Perry (The Refrigerator) was a huge guy who killed the 5 yard sprint but would have failed over 40 yards. Should be more types of tests and have the data linked to on field performances for better aptitude. 40 yard sprint is relevant to one position and that is on the rare occasion that they emerge from traffic and need to carry it all the way for a touch down. OJ Simpson would have been good to measure for this.

    I hope Usain Bolt does well in the 2016 Rio games. Quite frankly, it is unlikely (although possible) to see a true freak like Usain Bolt in our generation again so witness his career while it lasts.

  • Tomcast says:

    Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl proves he is faster than Bolt. Case closed.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ha ha good one!! Yeah, I go with Bo.

      • Anon says:

        Anyone who likes to watch speed can see the gaps and truth in all the arguements above. Bolt is unreal, Jackson unreal and every once in a while people clock times that are surreal. No name bobsled athletes have clocked legitimate times that are on par with all these athletes over 30m and therefore over 40yrds they would be on par. (Hindle (Can) McEachern(can)/Steel (USA) and these dudes are 230lbs.

        At the end of the day lets just watch and admire both football, track, rugby and other sports just run… Fast!!!

  • Jesse Owens says:

    Im curious how many of the commenters even read the entire article. Its laid out here based on actual times. The math is explained here as well. It says 4.1 laser and 3.96 handheld based on him running the 100 meter. If your arguing the process that was used then fine, but your opinions of Chris Johnson, Bo, etc. are meaningless.

    • Ricky Gibson says:

      If someone ran a 10 sec flat 100 yard dash, how fast would he run 100 meters. Back when I played high school foot ball, they I ran a 10 flat 100 yards. No starting blocks, no formal training

  • Gags730 says:

    Look… there are a few different things you need to look at. These times your looking at do not tell the entire picture. I will explain in laymens terms and take the scientific terms out…

    1. Top speed of the runner over the different lengths.
    Ex speed at 10,20,30,40,and 50 yards
    2. Acceleration of the runner to a given distance, where each runner hits their top speed.
    3. The surface the runner is on.

    technically a runner could be faster than bolt at 40 yards due to acceleration of the runner. What happens after 40 yards, how long does the runner continue to accelerate. At what speed does the runner stop accelerating. And lastly how long can the runner sustain top speed.

    IF someone can accelerate faster to 40 yards than after 40 the immediately stops acceleration and levels off, and another runner keeps acceleration going after 40 and has a higer top speed after 40 and stillstill accelerates to 50 yards they are running faster and will have a faster time at 100 yards or meters.

    Guys think of it like drag racing and the quarter mile,just because you have a faster 1/8th mile does NOT mean you win the race and are faster, unless your race is the 1/8th mile and not the quarter mile….
    IF car A gets to the eight mile mark in 4 seconds and car B gets there in 4.22, this does not tell us who reaches the 1/4 mile faster, it gives you an assumption. Now if car A stops accelerating and car B keeps accelerating then car B will win.

    Next thing is how do you take the results of a 100 meters and determine someone’s 40 yard dash speed. THEY ARE 2 DIFFERENT races. We canNOT compare 2 different races, they must both run the 40 to determone the correct spee. This gets rid of percentage of error with math results. Apples with apples… oranges with oranges….


    • Madden 16 says:

      I agree gags730, you can’t compare with such a big difference in yardage, you have to get them to run against each other



  • Madden 16 says:

    Well, you just got to get cj2k and bolt out on a track and also on a field and see their times, then u will know who is faster

  • The Truth says:

    You’re all morons, lol

  • Bryan T Glover says:

    Bo Jackson was electronically clocked at 4.13 in college.

    • Jason says:

      No he wasn’t. All of his times were hand timed…. Add .24 to them

    • Gerry says:

      Man, am I tired of the Bo Jackson myths. He was a great all-around athlete by baseball and football standards. His much-lauded track and field performances in high school were not well documented and some aren’t even that good. Compared to any world-class decathlete over the past 25 years, Bo would struggle to compete. And the best ever, Ashton Eaton, would COMPLETELY leave Jackson in the dust in every way. It’s time grow up and let go of the Nike marketing, folks

  • Anonymous says:

    Bo never ran a 4.12 accutrack electronic time! Adding .24 to hand time would make it 4.36. WHO HAND TIMED IT? A football coach or a pro track coach? How was the start? Gun shot, yell go or start watch when he decides to move? Bo fastest 100m 10.39 Bolt 9.58. No way Bo beats Bolt! That said, Bolt is cheating with PEDs! It will be proven some day like Armstrong! Most tested man in sports history with no positive test results yet bye bye all 7 Tour de France wins!

  • d rock says:

    What about jakeem grant from texas tech who ran a 4.10 on hand timer, proved on youtube at about 4.12? I demand a race against bolt on the 40, both ways (blocks/turf vs. Grass)

    • Jason says:

      Hand timed 40s are virtually meaningless. When the IAAF first switched to electronic timing they found that the typical difference between hand and auto is .24 seconds, because the person with the stopwatch is both slow to start and then anticipates the finish. 4.10 suddenly becomes 4.34…. Same deal with Bo Jacksons BS hand timed 40. Add .24 to it and you’ve got a more realistic time…. It’s no coincidence that when the combine started using electronic timing, everyone’s times got slower.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think this is a great article except for the claim that Bolt has the fastest 40m time ever run. I’d like to see evidence of that. Every race I’ve seen Bolt run, he is usually trailing at the 40/50m mark. His top line speed is remarkable but his acceleration is slower than most elite sprinters – at least from the races I’ve seen.

    I also don’t understand how Bolt had a 3.78 40m time at Berlin but later you claim that according to the best data he ran a 3.63. Which is it? If there was some reason to subtract that .15 you did a poor job of explaining why – unless of course you did so because of the reaction time which means you end up subtracting reaction time twice.

    I also think this article completely underestimates the difference between starting on a block and not.

    As for sprinters training for 100m and not 40 yards, sure, but if there was a 40 yard race in the Olympics, Bolt would not be winning it. I think it’s very likely that the top guys would not even be the ones you see in the 100m race. (Probably smaller guys with shorter strides.)

    All this put together, I don’t think there’s any way Bolt would run a sub 4 40.

  • JJ says:

    Just rematched Bolt in the London finals. At 4.4 seconds he is still in sixth place. I’d like to see a backup of the claim that he has the fastest time ever at 40m. There is no way that is true.

  • Joe says:

    Well, technically due to his height it is difficult for him to have a great start. However, when you compare to other athletes after the 40m-50m mark he is unbeatable because due to his stride length compared to other athletes he is phenomenally larger. At a whopping 1.44m each stride, he is the greatest sprinter of the generation. Period.

  • Marc says:

    Something else to keep in mind is that in track and field you get many chances to set a record. It does not matter if you set it in a preliminary round, or in the finals. It also does not matter if you set the record in the Olympics, World Championships, or some some other event. The WR (World Record) is yours until it’s beaten.

    You get two chances when running the 40 at the NFL combine and those will be your numbers for eternity. If you blow both runs then a 40 you run anywhere else will have an asterisk next to it. The math done in this article is based on the best 100 meter time that Usain Bolt has ever run.

    Something else is that you need to compete in several events at the combine. Besides the 40 there are the vertical leap, broad jump, bench press (reps at 225 lbs), 20 and 60 yard shuttles, the 3 cone drill, and your position specific drills. You can’t specialize in the 40 the way Usain Bolt specializes in the 100 to 400 meter dashes. Bolt will never be asked to compete in the 110 meter hurdles for much less the shot put, high jumps or a marathon.

    To me it’s interesting that the estimated 4.20 seconds for Bolt to run the 40 is about the same as the fastest 40s run at the combine. It shows how fast the NFL guys are.

    This article and the comments had me wondering if Renaldo Nehemiah ever ran the 40. When he played in the NFL he was definitely regarded as a threat due to his speed.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one has ever posted a 4.20 and players RARELY EVER post anything below 4.3. So if you think any NFL player who ever lived was remotely as fast as Usain Bolt, you are thoroughly retarded.

  • Anonymous says:

    Bo Jackson can still perform better than all but Bolt

    • Gerry says:

      Bo Jackson wouldn’t even make the Olympic Trials for decathlon in GERMANY.

      THAT is reality.

      • Teresa says:

        No Jackson had a Hip replacement which ended his football career.. While he played on the field he was a site to see… He was at the time almost impossible to stop… loved watching him.. God Bless Bo Jackson….He only played a short time but I was lucky to have seen…

    • Lorenzo says:

      bo jackson will not even faze bolt get out of here with those stupid comments are u dumb are something

  • Anonymous says:

    usain ran a 4.17 with a sled while training in his documentary your all actually retarded

  • aj says:

    Tyreek hill could win in a 40. Because bolt takes a couple seconds to get top speeed while tyreek is just a quick man. Bolt is fast but fast is in the long run while quick is off the start..

  • Anonymous says:

    Bolt ran a 4.12 40 in response to Ross’ comment. Get rekt.

  • simple math says:

    There are millions of people who would gladly pay top dollar to see the result of this race. Get your sponsors together to raise a hefty size purse and offer the challenge.
    Winner takes all.

  • Lawrence says:

    Let’s just say the NFL guy leading up the the fight is a master at getting in Bolt’s head and gets him so angry that he trips off the starting block and loses the race?

  • John says:

    My money is on Bob Hayes in the 40. A little history- Hayes ran a 9.9 in an Olympic qualifying round, on a cinder track at age 21. The fastest Bolt ran at age 21 was 10.2, on a synthetic track. Hayes ran 8.5 in his leg of the 4×100 meter relay. Fastest ever – til this day, again on on a cinder track

  • Dan Tiede says:

    The article is a great discussion of the topic. Given Bolt’s 30m and 40m splits and calculating for the additional 6.6.meters, the author comes up with a very plausible 4.20. He then subtracts another .20 seconds to account for the fact that the 40 yd dashes run at NFL combines do not include the (estimated .10 second) reaction time of the athlete, and also subtract another .10 second for a human timer to start the clock. I would think that in a purely electronic setting, with beams at the start and finish with no human intervention, a .10 second subtraction from Bolt’s estimated 4.20 split would be justified. That would put him at an estimated 4.10 for a 40 yard dash.

    This would seem to be supported by the fact that another Olympics level sprinter, Christian Coleman, ran a 4.12 40 at a Tennessee football facility in May of this year with an electronically triggered start and finish.

  • CBass says:

    I read all these comments but its all genetics it don’t matter if he is tall he is explosive like dang I love Bo Jackson to death but even I think he would of been dusted in the 40.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bo in his prime didn’t have room to slow down at the combine… he was a freak of nature. Ran a 4.1 handclocked and honestly I don’t believe it was in his favor.
      To say Bo would be dusted is comical.
      I’d say putting money on Bo in his prime you have a good shot of winning…

      • smc says:

        it wasn’t the combine. it was auburn pro day.

        he ran twice. the faster and 2nd time was with the door open so he had room to slow down.

        debate as to whether hand or electronic……. but i would assume hand timed

  • Mike Harnett says:

    1st of all, a very thoughtful and well written article.

    Deion’s best 100m time in college was 10.26 with automatic timing. Bo – who ran track for 2 years at Auburn & qualified for the NCAAs in the 100 – had a college best of 10.39. Herschel Walker ran a 10.23 in college. Jacoby Ford (the ex Raider WR) ran a 10.01 in college and a 4.28 at the combine.

    Here is a video of Christian Coleman of Tennessee – a 9.95 runner in the 100 and the 2017 NCAA champion (in 10.02) and a US Olympian running a 4.12 in the 40 with automatic timing. Bolt runs a 9.58 for 100m. I know the 100 is not the 40, but c’mon man. This guy runs 4.12 and can’t touch Bolt. C’mon, man. C’mon.

  • Tj says:

    He just ran a 4.22 without cleats.

  • Seb Fox says:

    I know that Bolt can definitely run a 4.22s 40 yard dash, because here is a video of him doing it without cleats:
    With some more suitable footwear he could probably do faster.

  • Michael says:

    Bolt just ran a 4.22 out of bed in sweats and loafers. He slowed down laughing at the end too. This is years after he ran competitively. Bolt would run a sub 4.0 in his prime if he trained for the 40. He’s not human.

  • MichMich says:

    It seems he ran 4,22. What about that, knowing he retired.

  • Wesley Cook says:

    So… Bolt showed up to the 2018/19 superbowl and ran the 40 in sweatpants and tennis shoes, and…. he tied the NFL combine record at 4.22 seconds. Guess you guys look pretty stupid thinking a professional sprinter (the fastest in the history of the world mind you) couldnt compete with college kids. Lolololol

  • Cush says:

    This statement by the writer does not make sense to me, and he uses it further on in his calculations:
    “When athletes get hand timed (using a stop watch) for both start and finish from a high school or middle school coach, they are benefiting from two moments that are about a tenth of a second off, resulting in about .24 being subtracted to their actual performance”
    If he is referring to the reaction time of the timer, the reaction time would subtract time at the start, but add time at the finish. This would result in a net zero adjustment to the time. Therefore anywhere he uses that 0.24 subtraction for hand timed performances, he would be inaccurate by a large degree.

    • Mike Harnett says:

      Ok. Speaking as a HS/MS coach with 25 years of experience, the .25 is accurate and widely accepted as the difference between hand and auto timing.

      There is no net zero here. The athlete’s time gets the benefit of the limitations of the human nervous system twice. Once at the start when the timer starts their watch based off of looking for the flash of the gun/emergence of smoke from the gun and again at the finish because the human timer doesn’t have the benefit of the auto timer’s ability to stop the watch at EXACTLY the moment the athlete crosses the line.

      Can a timer stop the watch a step too soon? Yes. Can a timer stop the watch a step too late? Yes. Can a new timer screw it up by starting the watch at the sound of the gun instead of the flash/smoke? Yes, and when that happens, the times are off by another tenth.

  • Ernie C says:

    Very impressive article considering when it was written, against what we know now. The author used math, science, and historical data to arrive at an assumed 40 yard dash time for Usain Bolt of 4.20 seconds, auto timed. Then the author subtracted about 0.20 seconds or more to factor for human hand timing variance. These assumptions were for if Usain Bolt specialized his training to the 40 yard dash, was in peak prime form, didn’t have to run prelims or trials, and was wearing proper attire. As of Feb 2019, we finally KNOW that Usain ran a timed 40 yard dash, wearing sweats and non-performance shoes, in a relatively relaxed result of 4.22 seconds, TYING THE NFL RECORD. Not only was he improperly dressed to run a 40, but it’s possible he hadn’t even considered running it until someone asked him. In other words, Bolt > Chris Johnson or any other alleged human, and it’s not even close. Imagine if Bolt trained for it for a year, or had he tried it a couple years younger. Sub 4 seconds for a 40 yard dash instantly sounds unachievable; but I would say the evidence Bolt has given us, the realistic possibility shouldn’t come as much of a shock now. And kudos to the author for what apparently was extremely accurate foresight-analysis.

  • Kim says:

    If Bolt were to train in the 40 like they do for the combine he would run a sub 4-second 40.

  • Conrad says:

    Bolt would run about a 4.20 40, no faster. I’ve seen him run many times and he does not separate until after 40 yards.

  • smc says:

    i’m guessing ben johnson of canada would have had the fastest 40 time by far if he’d ever done it.

    he was freakishly fast on his starts…… always way ahead of carl lewis and then lewis would reel him in or just miss by the finish line.

    johnson’s withdrawn world record was much faster than anything that was run (legal or not) for quite a few years.

  • smc says:

    2 questions,

    1) i understand reaction time…… but do nfl players still decide when to start their sprint? i saw a player with a false start or something like that at the recent 2020 nfl combine

    2) don’t you need to also adjust for the starting blocks that sprinters have but nfl players don’t have.. or is that alraedy accounted for?

    • Timmmay!! says:

      Yeah the 40 at the combine has no reaction time, no starting gun…. they take off whenever they feel like it and that makes a HUGE difference. Usain Bolt will absolutely demolish Tyreek Hill if they indeed do race.

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