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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/395

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RUNNING IN THE LAST OLYMPIAD

tors' losing interest if the flag removed all temptation from the runners to jockey for first place, thus tending to sustain monotony at the expense of sport. Whether these dangers are serious could only be determined by actual trial.

It would, of course, be possible to reduce the speed of the flag, by preconcerted arrangement, to a more readily attainable local record, in place of a more ambitious world's record. One per cent, reduction in speed might make a very marked difference in this respect. There can be little doubt that the flag and motor-driven wire would be a useful device in the training of runners for the track at suitably graded speeds.

The same line of reasoning applies to other races. If the world's records in walking, swimming, skating, rowing, horse-running, horse-trotting and horse-pacing be similarly analyzed, and plotted on logarithm paper, the points will be found to fall very nearly upon a straight line in each case.[1] Moreover, all of the straight lines have the same, or at least substantially the same, inclination, or represent and involve substantially the same law of fatigue. The only exception is found in bicycle-riding.


  1. "An Approximate Law of Fatigue in the Speeds of Racing Animals," by A. E. Kennelly, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Vol. XLII. No. 15, December, 1906.