Usain Bolt Is Not a Fan of “Unfair” and “Laughable” Advances in Running Spike Technology

The fastest man in history is worried his records could be broken in Tokyo

Usain Bolt of Jamaica
Usain Bolt of Jamaica celebrates after he wins Gold in the final of the Men's 200m.
Ian MacNicol/Getty

Taking a break from partnering with Peloton, retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt took some time to dump on technological advances in running spike technology that could put the world records he holds in the 100m and 200m in jeopardy at the Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking with Reuters, the fastest man in the world was very critical of the carbon-plated, thick-soled shoes that distance runners have been using to break world records, with similar advances now migrating into the world of sprinting. The new superlight super spikes  are said to be worth at least a tenth of a second over 100m.

“When I was told about it I couldn’t believe that this is what we have gone to, you know what I mean? That we are really adjusting the spikes to a level where it’s now giving athletes an advantage to run even faster,” Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion who competed in Puma spikes, told Reuters. “It’s weird and unfair for a lot of athletes because I know that in the past they [shoe companies] actually tried and the governing body said ‘no, you can’t change the spikes’, so to know that now they are actually doing it, it’s laughable.”

If anyone was to break Bolt’s 100m world record of 9.58s seconds (or his 200m best of 19.19 seconds), it would be American Trayvon Bromell, as he has been running the 100m in 9.77 seconds.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of data to show that they’re having such a big improvement,” Bromell, who runs for New Balance, said of the super spikes. “I know we [New Balance] are constantly building onto what we have to make the perfect spike, but for me personally as a runner I still feel like it’s not enough data to really show.”

For what it’s worth, Bolt previously told The Guardian that his records would be even harder to break had he had the super spikes during his career.

“We have guessed and we have talked about it, but I don’t know for sure,” he said. “But definitely much faster. Below 9.5 seconds for sure. Without a doubt.”

Wonder how he would’ve fared in the cherry-red suede spikes Tommie Smith and John Carlos wore in 1968.

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