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Ever wonder what itâ€™s like to be the fastest person in the world?
Rondel Sorrillo might not have a bad idea.
Sorrillo, a UK sprinter, recently represented his home country of Trinidad and Tobago in the 200m at the World Track and Field Championships. The 200m competition ran from Aug. 18-20, and runners needed to advance past three heat stages to qualify for the final.
In all three stages, Sorrillo drew the same heat as Jamaicaâ€™s Usain Bolt.
Sorrillo didnâ€™t reach the finals; he finished sixth in his semifinal heat and finished 13th at the Championships. But three times over the span of two days, he raced directly against the fastest man in the history of civilization.
And in the face of direct comparison to the incomparable Bolt, Sorrillo fared well. So well at times, the difference between the two seemed intangible.
In the first heat, Sorrillo (20.74) finished second to Bolt by four hundredths of a second. Thatâ€™s point-oh-four, not oh-point-four. Sure, Bolt was jogging â€” and it seemed like a light jog at that â€” but still. At that point in time, the only thing separating Sorrillo from Bolt was four hundredths of a second.
What can you even do in four hundredths of a second?
Nothing. You canâ€™t do anything.
If you get out a stopwatch just to see how fast you can click the button twice, you canâ€™t even get four hundredths. My research showed me 17 or 18 hundredths of a second is about average.
Divide that by four, and that was about the difference between UKâ€™s own and Bolt, who has now twice broken Michael Johnsonâ€™s 200m world record which many thought to be unbeatable.
Itâ€™s not limited to us humans; Google canâ€™t even do anything in that span of time, four hundredths. When you search, Google reports back to you how many results it found and how quickly it operated. Googleâ€™s best: point-oh-seven.
Man nor machine can differentiate the two sprintersâ€™ performances.
In the quarterfinals, Sorrillo (20.58) finished fifth to Bolt, the two separated by .17. Thatâ€™s a little bit more of a tangible margin. After all, you can start and stop your stopwatch as fast as you can in that amount of time.
Sarcasm aside, 0.17 is still a pretty thin margin to separate yourself from the fastest man in the world.
Sorrillo failed to qualify for the final; he ran a 20.63 in the semifinals to Boltâ€™s 20.08 â€”Bolt still appeared to be jogging. Thatâ€™s over half a second, which is significant in the track world.
But to the rest of the world?
If only half a second separates you from the fastest man in the world, Iâ€™d say youâ€™re pretty darn close.
After a long summer break, students should spend Wednesday, UKâ€™s first day of classes, catching up. In the spirit of catching up, here are three quick hits to help get you caught up around UKâ€™s sporting world.
And in the spirit of Rondel Sorrillo, Iâ€™ll try my best to write each in 20.74 seconds:
1. Last year, UK golfers Andy Winings and Ben Fuqua played their senior seasons together. Winings is now playing professionally, having already won one tournament as a professional. Fuqua, however, applied for and received one more year of eligibility from the NCAA.
If Fuqua doesnâ€™t make some noise this season, fellow senior Jordan Blann will. My moneyâ€™s on both.
2. For one reason or another, UK volleyball is finally getting some well deserved national attention. Thanks to the SECâ€™s media mega-deal with ESPN, two of the Catsâ€™ matches in 2009 will air nationally on ESPNU.
More regional television appearances are expected to be announced soon according to UK Athletics. Whether or not all of the above appearances would happen without the football-driven ESPN deal is debatable. Either way, Iâ€™m sure head coach Craig Skinner doesnâ€™t mind.
3. I was going to use this space to get you caught up on basketball happenings but by the time I finish writing this sentence, John Calipari may very well have posted something new on Twitter, Facebook, CoachCal.com or an entirely new platform. And since fans are so enamored with hearing Calipariâ€™s every thought, I wonder: Could Twitter have saved Billy Gillispie?
Ah, probably not.
James Pennington is a journalism senior. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.