New world records attract worldwide attention year after year. Although they are mostly about individual performances, they bolster our collective idea about the human race and its capabilities. This kind of thinking is something very integral of our true nature; despite basing our superiority on the planet on wit, we still greatly value our physical prowess. In the modern age, athletic feats have gained more significance as the requirements of the time restrict the development of our physical attributes.
A hundred years ago the gap between the physical performances of common people and professionals wasn’t as wide as it is today. The Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele’s 10,000m world record time 26:17:53 from 2005, for example, is mind-boggling. Most of us would probably struggle doing this distance even in twice the time, 52 minutes! Here are some of the world records held for the longest:
Jesse Owens, USA, long jump: 8,13m – held for 25 years (1935-1960)
Jarmila Kratochvílová, CZE, 800m: 1:53:28 – held for 28 years (1983-)
Jürgen Schult, GER, discus throwing: 74.08m – held for 25 years (1986-)
Marita Koch, GDR (East Germany), 400m: 00:47:60 – held for 26 years (1985-)
Jonathan Edwards, GBR, triple jump: 18.29m – held for 16 years (1995-)
Ingrid Kristiansen, NOR, 5000m: 14:37:33 – held for 9 years (1986-1995)
Sergey Bubka, UKR, pole vault: 6.14m – held for 17 years (1994-)
Each year sees a new world record. Although the great athletes of the world are pushing their limits, there’s always someone better. It’s going to be interesting to see how much higher the records can go!