A Runner That Makes Usain Bolt's 100-Meter Sprint Seem . . . . Painfully Slow!

By Meera Dolasia on August 5, 2012

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Olympics spoiler alert - Usain Bolt has been outrun! How do we know this before the world's fastest man has even run the finals of his signature 100-meter dash? Because, while Usain hopes to complete the distance in 9.4 seconds, Sarah has already done it in a blistering 5.95 seconds. However, in all fairness to the Jamaican sprinter, she does have a slight advantage, because Sarah is not a two-legged human, but a four-legged cheetah!

The 11-year old cat performed this mind-boggling run on the USA Track & Field certified course at the Cincinnati Zoo where she resides, on June 20th, 2012, during a special shoot organized by The National Geographic.

Competing with four other cheetahs, Sarah ran several 100 meter sprints, bolting out of the zoo's vans in pursuit of the fluffy toy dogs which were being pulled across the track by a high-speed cord. While Sarah's time was definitely impressive, the laggard, a young male teenage cat was not too shabby either (at least by human standards), rendering a best time of 9.7 seconds.

And while the rest of the world may be surprised at Sarah's rapid pace which National Geographic photo editor Kim Hubbard said made her look like a 'polka-dotted missile', Cathryn Hilker, founder of the Cincinnati Zoo's Cat Ambassador Program, who has helped raise Sarah from when she was a cub, is not surprised - She had always known that the feline had it in her to complete the dash in less than 6 seconds.

This is not the first time Sarah has rained on Usain's parade. Just a month after the sprinter stunned the world  with his 9.58 second 100m dash, she broke two records within a short time span of 15 minutes - first at 6.16 and then 6.13 seconds!

Cheetahs are the world's fastest land mammals. They can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles an hour in just three seconds. This sweltering pace added to their keen eyesight and ability to blend into the high dry grass in the African Savannah makes them very formidable hunters. With just between 9,000 to 12,000 left in the wild today, they are however a highly endangered species!

The Cincinnati Zoo, which is often dubbed 'The Cheetah Capital of the World' is one of four facilities in the United States that is trying to reverse this dire trend. Besides spreading the word about the danger of losing these spectacular cats, they have also developed a very successful breeding program. Over the last 20 years a total of 64 cheetah cubs have been born at the zoo, including Sarah, the fastest captive land mammal on earth!

Resources: Nationalgeographic.com, Dailymail.com.uk

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336 Comments
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  • happypug12
    happypug12Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 10:18 am
    Cheetah's are my favorite animals!
    • nikukyu
      nikukyuSaturday, November 22, 2014 at 5:15 pm
      Usain Bolt is amazing!
      • adia 2Monday, November 17, 2014 at 2:00 pm
        I think that was great
        • Gemseat.comMonday, November 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm
          No man can beat the wonders of the nature.
          • eallen1
            eallen1Monday, November 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm
            i thought the article was about some human with super speed
            • AnonymousMonday, November 10, 2014 at 6:56 am
              Same here I agree with kwuanz
              • pleasedo
                pleasedoTuesday, October 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm
                i loved the graph it really helps you get a visual view of the info
                • kwuedndn chfjMonday, October 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm
                  Usain Bolt is fast i wonder if he can beat a Porsche or a Ferrari
                  • gshdnjncjduMonday, October 20, 2014 at 12:54 pm
                    how did Usian bolt get so fast
                    • Awesome Sunday, October 19, 2014 at 10:38 pm
                      Cool

                      Vocabulary

                      accelerateblisteringdireendangeredfelineformidablejamaicanlaggardrenderingspectacularsweltering

                      Geography

                      Cincinatti, Ohio

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