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World's Fastest Man

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: The 1998 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records features an article about Donovan Bailey, billed as the fastest man alive. The article begins: "Canadian Donovan Bailey rocketed into the record books when he set a new world mark of 9.84 seconds for the 100-meter dash at the Atlanta Olympics." It briefly recounts Bailey's career and, toward the end, quotes Bailey: "No one has ever run as fast as I have, running 27 mph." When Roy D. North, a computer programmer and mathematical gadfly now based in Connecticut, came across that passage, something bothered him. When he calculated Bailey's speed from the given time and distance, he obtained 22.7 miles per hour. "What went wrong here?" North wondered. "Was Bailey misquoted? Was there a typo?"

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Articles
Math Topics: Measurement, Calendars/Dates/Time, Data Analysis, Sports

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