“The speed of sound is too slow for Olympic athletes.”

July 31st, 2012

Simple physics dictates that the closer something is, the sooner a wave will get there. In olympic foot-races, it seems, those standing closer to the starting gun had quicker starting times because they heard the shot first. Those standing further away, ahd slower starting times. So what’s the solution?

When the Olympic runners take to their positions on the track later this week, they’ll crouch on the ground, ears pricked, and wait for the starting beep. That’s right, a beep. Not the pow of a gun, but an electronic tone, pumped through speakers, played by a “pistol” that’s not a pistol at all, but something more akin to an electronic instrument with only one key. The pistol itself is silent.