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
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.
2. Long Distance Running
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.
3. Long Jump
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.
4. High Jump
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.
5. Weight Lifting
What humans can lift is mere peanuts to what gorillas, grizzly bears and elephants (and with their trunk) can.
Related Care2 Coverage
Photo by mytmoss