[EDIT] Also, I should have known that NY Times would do an interactive graphic on his record and here it is: Bolt’s Feat [/EDIT]
According to an article on Wired.com, they logged the world record times for the 100-meter sprint from the early 1900s and developed a trend line. Everything was going according to plans until Usain Bolt came into the picture. “This trend seems to defy simple curve fitting,” wrote Tatsuo Tabata, director of the Institute for Data Evaluation and Analysis in Japan. His times have just completely destroyed the graph and achieved a time of 9.69 that wasn’t supposed to be reached until the 2030’s.
The article also states that “though no statistician we spoke with had recalculated their numbers, the new world record is likely to rejigger the equations they use to calculate the maximum human speed.
“With this new data, [the predicted fastest 100-meter time] would probably go down a little bit,” said Reza Noubary, a mathematician at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and author of a textbook on statistics and sports. He had previously calculated an “ultimate record” of 9.44 seconds for the 100 meter.”
“Bolt is an outlier. He’s enormous,” Weyand said. “Typically when you get someone that big, they can’t start.”
It went on to say “that’s because muscle speed in animals is generally tied to their size. For example, rodents, being much smaller than elephants, can move their muscles much faster. The same holds true for human beings. Sprinters are short and have more fast-twitch muscle fibers, allowing them to accelerate quickly, but compromising their ability to run longer distances. Four hundred-meter runners, almost always taller, have the reverse composition of muscle fibers.
“Bolt, though, combines the mechanical advantages of taller men’s bodies with the fast-twitch fibers of smaller men.”
[Source: Wired.com – Bolt Is Freaky Fast, But Nowhere Near Human Limits]