5 Olympic Events Animals Could Easily Win (Slideshow)

If animals competed in the Olympics (not exactly like the sheep in the “meadow scene” of the Opening Ceremony on Friday night), we humans would not stand a chance of winning any medals. Citing the Olympic motto of citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger) in an article in Veterinary Review, Craig Sharp of the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in London, observes that “if we allowed the rest of the animal kingdom into the Games we could not offer much competition!”

Humans’ one advantage is that we can be a sort of “Jack of all sports. Sharp tells Agence France-Presse that humans simply can’t compete with animals in any sorts of physical events such as running or swimming. Aside from “technically-aided sports” such as tennis, Sharp says that what we are good at is “being really versatile; we can sprint, we can run long distances, we can jump, we can swim, we can lift weights” and so would do well in a “sort of decathlon of swimming, running, jumping, lifting.”

Here’s some human/animal athlete match-ups.

1. Short Distance Running

Cheetah Run 2

The world record in the 100 meters is 9.58 seconds and held by Jamaican runner Usain Bolt. That’s about 37.6 kilometers per hour.

The cheetah can race as fast as 104 kph; a thoroughbred racehorse, 70 kph; a greyhound, 69 kph and an ostrich 64 kph.

The animal Bolt would beat is the camel, who comes in after Bolt at 35.3 kph.

Photo by David W. Siu via Flickr

2. Long Distance Running

Camel Jockey on edge of the Sahara

The camel may not be the speediest of creatures but in the marathon, Sharp says that camels and sled dogs, with their superior endurance, would beat humans.

The world record for the marathon is 2:03:38, made by Patrick Makau of Kenya on September 25, 2011 at the Berlin Marathon.

Photo by emilio labrador via Flickr

3. Long Jump

Kangaroo in Flight

The kangaroo is the champ in the long jump by far, able to jump 12.8 meters.

The human record is a (mere) 8.95 meters, made by Mike Powell in 1991 at the World Championships in Tokyo.

Photo by Chris_Samuel via Flickr

4. High Jump

Saut de gazelle Springbok

The springbok gazelle can jump over three meters into the air — in the water, the snakehead fish can spring over four meters.

Humans? 2.45 meters, set by Javier Sotomayor in 1993.

Photo by Bourlingueurs.com via Wikimedia Commons

5. Weight Lifting

233 [elephant trunk]

What humans can lift is mere peanuts to what gorillas, grizzly bears and elephants (and with their trunk) can.

Photo by eblaser via Flickr

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Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

pretty awesome really

Dawn F.
Dawn F.3 years ago

Cats have to be on the top of my favorite animals!

Dawn F.
Dawn F.3 years ago


Frederik D.
Frederik D.3 years ago

You forgot one very important olympic discipline, cuteness. Imo the gold medal goes to cats! :)

Nancy B.
N B.3 years ago

fun facts

Mandy Harker
Mandy H.3 years ago

Lol the truth is if it wasn't for the fact that human beings are very good at inventing things(especially ways to kill from a safe distance) we would have LONG died out in the wild. Just think about that Mr I'm Head Of The Food Chain race!
Go the animals!

Ruth R.
Ruth R.3 years ago


MaryBeth Pacific
MaryBeth Pacific3 years ago


Tolga U.
Tolga U.3 years ago

perfect creatures

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago