Chris Johnson has the kind of high hopes and big dreams that make the imaginations of small children seem like depressing, dreary places. He thinks he can beat Usain Bolt in a hypothetical 40-yard dash.
He also called up Evel Knievel’s family and said he can jump the grand canyon.
Johnson, the Titans running back who is a former high school track star and still holds the record for the fastest 40 time in the history of the Scouting Combine (his 4.24 in 2008), prefaced his statement by saying there’s clearly a distinct difference between the kind of running he does as a football player, and the kind of running Bolt does as the fastest man in the world.
After that, he made his claim of confidence.
“I feel like if I would have kept training for track I’d have a chance, but I play football and he runs track, so it’s totally different,” Johnson said. “I think I could still probably beat him in the 40. If I actually trained for the distance he trained for, I think I’d have a chance.”
I’m no track expert, and the closest I’ve ever come to the sport is running the first leg of the 4 x 100 relay on my grade eight team, a prestigious honor which ended in a last place finish and a participation ribbon. It’s currently sitting next to the trophy I received on Everyone Gets a Trophy Day.
But people who seem to know something about track have said that while a race between Bolt and Johnson would be entertaining and definitely close, it wouldn’t be close enough, and Bolt would still win. In fact, if he was given the time to train properly for a shorter distance, Bolt may even be able to post the first sub 4.0 time, even though it’s been said that’s not possible.
In case you’ve taken up permanent residency under a hard object of some kind, Bolt broke his own Olympic record in the 100m earlier this week, a race he won with a time of 9.63 seconds (he also holds the world record of 9.58). Back in 2008 when Bolt first started running really fast and breaking a lot of records in the Olympics, ESPN track and field guru Larry Rowson took out is abacus, and declared in an interview that Bolt would run the 40 in 3.97 seconds.
Yep, that’s significantly less time than it took me to write that sentence. There are, of course, several variables to overcome, most notably the lack of spikes on Bolt’s feet if he ran a true NFL 40-yard dash. But again, the basic point still remains: on equal ground and after a proper training period for a shorter distance, Bolt wouldn’t have a problem with Johnson.
Still, this race needs to happen. Either that, or just sign Bolt to an NFL contract right now. C’mon, raiders, honor the Davis way.