Would Canada’s fastest man at the moment, Andre De Grasse, have a chance against Jesse Owens, a four-time Olympic gold medallist at the 1936 Summer Olympics, in a 100m race?
That’s the question the makers of The Equalizer are hoping to answer in an upcoming series that will air on CBC in Canada. Does running technology make all the difference or are athletes in modern track and field actually that much better?
To put times into perspective, the 100m world record in 1936 was 10.2 (held by Owens). Eighty years later, the 100m world record is 9.58, an improvement of approximately 0.6 seconds, held by Usain Bolt. De Grasse’s best legal time is 9.92.
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Track and field conditions were vastly different in the early 20th century with athletes running on dirt tracks, without starting blocks (they had to dig holes in the track for grip), and leather shoes. That is much different than today’s rubberized track surfaces, electronic timing systems and lightweight spikes. What would happen if today’s athletes were to perform without modern-day advanced tech?
To level the playing field, the makers of the series gave De Grasse replica shoes similar to what Owens wore during his historic performances at the Berlin Olympics. De Grasse also started without modern starting blocks and ran on a dirt track.
See the full trailer below courtesy of Kensington Communications, a Toronto-based documentary and film production company:
The Equalizer features, in addition to De Grasse, Olympic rower and Canadian Adam van Koeverden, Germany’s Paul Biedermann and Christina Obergföll, as well as American cyclist Sarah Hammer.
— KENSINGTON (@KensingtonTV) February 8, 2016
The world premiere will be held on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. The one-hour feature will air on CBC in Canada on March 3 at 8 p.m. as a part of The Nature of Things. It will be narrated by David Suzuki.