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The Citius End : World Records Progression Announces the Completion of a Brief Ultra-Physiological Quest

Abstract : World records (WR) in sports illustrate the ultimate expression of human integrated muscle biology, through speed or strength performances. Analysis and prediction of man's physiological boundaries in sports and impact of external (historical or environmental) conditions on WR occurrence are subject to scientific controversy. Based on the analysis of 3263 WR established for all quantifiable official contests since the first Olympic Games, we show here that WR progression rate follows a piecewise exponential decaying pattern with very high accuracy (mean adjusted r 2 values = 0.9160.08 (s.d.)). Starting at 75% of their estimated asymptotic values in 1896, WR have now reached 99%, and, present conditions prevailing, half of all WR will not be improved by more than 0,05% in 2027. Our model, which may be used to compare future athletic performances or assess the impact of international antidoping policies, forecasts that human species' physiological frontiers will be reached in one generation. This will have an impact on the future conditions of athlete training and on the organization of competitions. It may also alter the Olympic motto and spirit.
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Berthelot et al. (2008) - PLoS...
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Geoffroy Berthelot, Valérie Thibault, Muriel Tafflet, Sylvie Escolano, Nour El Helou, et al.. The Citius End : World Records Progression Announces the Completion of a Brief Ultra-Physiological Quest. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2008, 3 (2), pp.e1552. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0001552⟩. ⟨hal-01768569⟩

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