The Perfection Point
The Perfection Point
Sport Science Predicts the Fastest Man, the Highest Jump, and the Limits of Athletic Performance
By John Brenkus
Harper, Hardcover, 9780061845451, 256pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
What's the fastest a human can run the 100-meter sprint?
What's the longest a human can hold his breath?
What are the limits of human performance?
Welcome to The Perfection Point.
Until 1954, common wisdom and scientific knowledge considered a sub-four-minute mile an impossible feat for a human. But then Roger Bannister broke that mark, followed quickly by a host of other athletes. Today the world record stands at 3 minutes, 43 seconds, yet even that number doesn't tell the full story of how fast humans can run a milerecords are a mark of how well people have done, not how well they can do. What's the actual limit? The answer lies in The Perfection Point.
In this fascinating and thought-provoking book, John Brenkus, the host, co-creator, and executive producer of ESPN's Sport Science, ventures across the sports world to provide an in-depth look at the absolute limits of human performance. Beginning with the current world records for a variety of sports, Brenkus finds the perfection point for each, zeroing in on the speeds, heights, distances, and times that humans will get closer to but never exceed.
Combining cutting-edge science with the fundamentals of each sport, Brenkus answers questions as old as competition itself, exploring the outer realm of what's possible in athletics. Using engrossing and accessible language, he applies statistics, physics, and physiology to uncover perfection points such as:
- the highest dunk
- the longest home run
- the fastest mile
- the longest golf drive
- the heaviest bench press
Intriguing, detailed, and controversial, the answers that Brenkus provides are essential reading for every sports fan. For years, coaches, pundits, and experts have speculated about the extremes of human ability. The Perfection Point finally provides the answers.
“[Brenkus] busts out some Hawking-like equations in an effort to calculate the outer limits of human athletic performance.”
-New York Times Book Review
“This stuff is catnip to a sports fan.”
“Fascinating...Sure to spark debate in sporting and scientific circles, the book is engagingly written, well argued, and-even when the conclusions seem almost science-fictiony-entirely plausible.”
-Booklist (starred review)