If you've paid any attention at all to the Olympics over your lifetime one thing may stand out to you -- every four years, records seem to crumble. We're getting faster and stronger, not because of evolution, but thanks to science. High speed video has us refining our form, nutritionists are finding the most efficient diet and coaches are timing training schedules for peak performance. Just how much of an impact has this had on athletic achievement? Well, the New York Times decided to plot every medalist from the last 116 years of Olympic games in the 100-meter sprint, the 100-meter freestyle and the long jump. Though records aren't actually shattered every year, there's a clear trend of improvement (with the exception of the long jump). In fact, this year's last place sprinter in the final round would have edged out 1896's gold medalist by more than half a second -- and he was battling a groin injury. Hit up the source links to see 116 years of medal winners compared, and the more coverage link to see how athletes are squeezing every last bit of performance from their bodies as we approach the limits of human capability.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.