Former Michigan Wolverines quarterback and running back Denard Robinson once boasted how he could beat Usain Bolt – an Olympic champion and known as the world’s fastest man – in a 40-yard dash competition.
This was essentially put to rest on Sunday when Robinson clocked in at 4.43 seconds at the 2013 NFL Combine, finishing with the ninth-best time among all others who participated.
Bolt, who has crushed numerous world records for the Jamaican Olympic Track & Field Team, hasn’t technically been timed running the 40-yard dash before.
But a little basic math could give us an idea of what we’d likely see.
Current New England Patriots running back Jeff Demps was a member of Team USA in the early-goings of 2012, where he ran a 9.35-second split in the 4 x 100 meter relay. He was once recorded with a 4.25 40-yard dash while with the Florida Gators‘ football team.
If you divide Bolt’s 4 x 100 time (8.71 seconds) by Demps’ (9.35) and then multiply it by Demps’ 40 time (4.25), it gives us an assumption that Bolt would run the 40 in 3.96 seconds – which would shatter Chris Johnson’s combine record of 4.24.
Another way to find a reasonable answer would be to take Bolt’s 40 meter time of 4.485 seconds (taking away his reaction time) and use a formula to transfer meters to yards:
(40m/4.485) = (36.576m/x)
x=(36.576 / [40/4.485])
According to this formula, Bolt would run the 40-yard dash in 4.1 seconds. If we take both answers and divide them by two, we have an average time of 4.03 seconds.
ESPN track and field reporter Larry Rawson said last summer that after he did some math of his own, he figured that Bolt would run the 40 in 3.97 seconds – electronically timed! This means he would blow through with a 3.73-second 40 hand-timed.
Either way you look at it, Robinson calling out Bolt was a little silly. Don’t get me wrong – a 4.43-second 40-yard dash is very fast and will be utilized in the NFL.
But unless you know you can at least break the NFL Combine record, save yourself the scrutiny and don’t call out the world’s fastest man. Odds are you won’t even come close.