Bolt and Johnson as statistical outliers

less than 1 minute read

An interesting post from Justin Wolfers about statistical outliers and sprinters, referencing a New York Times story about Usain Bolt, along with a key graphic showing Bolt’s and Michael Johnson’s records versus the 249 other fastest 200 meter sprint times in history. Wolfers:

Not only does this not look like a normal distribution, it doesnt even look like the tail of any standard distribution Ive ever seen.
It should be clear from this chart why few thought that the previous world record would be broken anytime soon.