Have we reached the limit of athletics?

Those who watch individual competitions love it when an athlete breaks a record, especially if it's a world brand. But in athletics, this is increasingly scarce. At the Rio Olympics last year, only two marks were surpassed: the men's 400 meters (Wayde van Niekerk from South Africa) and the women's 10, 000 meters (Almaz Ayana from Ethiopia).

Already at the World Athletics Championships held in London this year, only the women's 50-km athletic march record was broken: the Portuguese Inês Henriques overcame her own mark, which was already hers, in just over two and a half minutes. She completed the course in 4 hours, 5 minutes and 56 seconds.

According to scientists, after intense improvements in the nutrition and fitness of athletes over the past century, with records falling all too often, we are reaching an era in which the human body is at its limit for endurance testing. In the future, only artificial technology or doping may justify better brands in athletics.

Inês Henriques

Inês Henriques: record in the 50 km athletic march was the only hit in the last world athletics

A 2008 study showed that athletes have already reached 99% of their human's potential in such competitions - although the following year Usain Bolt broke the world record 100 meters, a mark he holds today, having traveled the distance in 9.58 seconds.

An article by biologist Vincent Pialoux points out that the perfect runner should meet three basic requirements: endurance, the ability to create energy using oxygen, and motor efficiency. Nevertheless, no athlete to date has been able to simultaneously satisfy all three characteristics, making room for a super athlete in the future. But is this possible? Or have we reached the human limit? Just the time to answer.


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