This article was first published on April 17, 2015 – but is again relevant after Hector Bellerin was quizzed on BBC's Football Focus about being 0.23 seconds faster than Usain Bolt over 40 metres. Suddenly the words 'it's official' are plastered over the internet again.
So is he actually faster? Of course not...
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In one of the more ridiculous stories to emerge this week, it was widely claimed that a Spanish footballer could rival the fastest man in the history of the human race over 40 metres.
The figures stated that Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin had clocked a lightning 4.41 seconds over the distance – more than two tenths faster than Bolt’s official split from his world record run in 2009 over 100 metres.
It’s a nice tale, but seriously?
Many people justified the story by conceding that the Jamaican speedster would still comfortably overhaul his new rival over a longer sprint, but are we really to believe that an unimposing 20-year-old could take down the world’s best sprinters over a short distance? It’s absurd.
Bolt and his sprint rivals wake up every day consumed by one goal: getting from A to B as quickly as possible. He may be convinced he can play for Manchester United one day, but Bolt does not spend the majority of his time harnessing technical skill like the average footballer.
The word ‘official’ has been continuously banded about in connection with the story. Nothing about it is official. Indeed, the fact we’re relying on a questionable Photoshopped image from Twitter as the source of Bellerin’s speed, rather than an official video, tells its own story.
In lieu of actual footage, proper officials, a wind reading or reaction times – it could even be a rolling start given how shady the operation is – it can’t possibly be claimed that Bolt is slower over 40m than the Arsenal defender.
One man who was rather irked by the announcement was Richard Kilty, who recently added European indoor gold to his world title over 60m. Kilty publically aired a £30,000 wager that he could beat Bellerin, or team-mate Theo Walcott, over any sprint distance.
To be fair to the footballers, they’re not the ones behind the exaggeration. Tell anyone they’ve run a rapid time and someone's bound to get excited and leak the news.
But if they do want to prove themselves and take up Kilty’s offer, they should heed his warning and accept it’ll be over very quickly…
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