I enjoy it when competent statisticians examine data from sports. (Neil Paine sometimes does such in his observations about basketball and football, even though he’s mostly a sports writer.) I came across a new example of a quite-competent statistician, Reza Noubary, conducting a fascinating analysis.
Professor Noubary, who does these sorts of analyses often, examined the data about sprinting records and was able to identify the probabilities of new records, with specific reference to Usain Bolt’s outstanding performances in the last couple of years. Application of the methods Professor Noubary used (“tail modeling”)
shows that the probabilities of setting a new record such as 9.55 seconds or less or 9.5 seconds or less are respectively:
A. 0.0102 and 0.0052, when Bolt’s three records are included.
B. 0.0043 and 0.0023, when Bolt’s three records are excluded.
There’s more, and the abstract’s available on line:
Noubary, Reza D. (2010) “Tail Modeling, Track and Field Records, and Bolt’s Effect,” Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports: Vol. 6 : Iss. 3, Article 9.