Is Britney Spears the Fastest Sprinter in Human History? A Rolling Stone Investigation
Once again, the world is skeptical of Britney Spears. If there is any pop star on the planet that deserves more respect on her name it’s the woman who gave us a solid 10-plus years of bangers while battling the rampant misogyny of the early-aughts music industry, but the world is up in arms after a claim Spears made Wednesday on Instagram.
“Ran my first 5,” the 38-year-old pop singer wrote. “Getting over your fear of pushing it in the beginning is key. Once I did that I hit 5. Usually, I run 6 or 7. My first try was 9 and now I did it, whoop !!!!! 100-meter dash 🏃🏼♀️🌸💕😉 !!!!!”
As many soon realized, Spears running the 100-meter dash in 5.97 seconds would mean she broke Usain Bolt’s previous record of 9.58 seconds. For context, Spears even approaching a nine-second, 100-meter dash is scientifically unlikely at this time in human existence, let alone beating it by 3.61 seconds.
“To get to what would be required for nine flat, they would have to approach forces roughly six times their body weight, and a ground contact time of just over seven hundredths of a second,” Peter Weyand, a biochemist told Wired in 2018. “If you put together a perfect human being, and the perfect race, I could certainly see something in the low 9.40-second range, maybe a little bit faster than that, under currently legal conditions.”
For what it’s worth, Spears has been partaking in a grueling training regime as well as studying the most famous speedster in the animal kingdom. “The cheetah is a large cat from Africa,” Spears wrote on IG in early March. “It can’t speak English yet can run over 60 mph lol. In other words, don’t mess with the cat.”
Before we judge Britney’s perception of her speed, it’s important to gauge what is being measured. “When we talk about something being fast, it’s really not clear if you’re talking about the total duration, the total time it takes to perform the movement, the speed at which its performed, and the acceleration at which its performed,” Sheila Patek, a biologist explained to Fast Company when discussing the speed of animals like the cheetah. “Each one of these things mean very different things.”
Unfortunately, it’s unclear how Spears is measuring how fast she is, what conditions she’s running under, and the make-up of her sneakers and apparel, which all can impact that final time. As a result of these variables, Rolling Stone cannot completely rule out Spears’s original claim. However, it equally cannot confirm it. This investigation was a failure.
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