Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorNo question, Olympic athletes are special. Their skills make us mere mortal look like … mere mortals.

I’ve enjoyed the games so far, and have been thinking as I watch them swim, run, and jump their way towards medals, “Geez, these people are really good. The best of the human race!”

Now comes some research, just in time for the Olympics, that show us even the most elite of humans, are pretty far down the food chain in terms of raw power and speed. In other word, if they let animals compete, our medal count would be a big, fat zip.

Here are some comparisons:

Usain Bolt. Fastest human on Earth. Runs 23.4 mph. But he’d be sucking wind against a cheetah, who can motor at 64 mph. Heck, even an ostrich can do 40 mph. The extra lesson here by the way: do not anger a cheetah or an ostrich. You will never get away.

Marathon- 26.1 miles. Two hours, three minutes, and two seconds is the world record. That’s a lot of running. And fast. But not compared to a Siberian Husky, who can do that distance in less than an hour, and then keep on going up to eight days, nineteen hours, and 47 minutes without stopping.

Weightlifting. Gorilla. 1984 lbs dead lift. And if it was me the gorilla was lifting, it would be a dead lift.

Finally, the “Dream Team.” The men’s basketball team. Pride of America. The best in the world. But, how about they went up against a team of kangaroos, who have an average vertical leap of 10 feet, 6 inches. I tell you, if the Australians were smart, they’d come up with a plan.

So as you can see, Olympians are pretty olympic. But even the best wouldn’t stand a chance in the real world. (And notice I didn’t even go dive into the world of swimming — NO contest there, either.)

I say we keep our pride, and forget about this whole study.



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