This is a simple equation:

s = d/t


s = speed

d = distance

t = time

Watching the Olympics, an engineer can “enjoy” them better by running calculations on average speed in various races.

Take swimming for example. Looking at the four strokes for the men’s world record at 100 m:

butterfly s = 100m/49.82s = 2.007 m/s

freestyle s = 100m/46.91s = 2.132 m/s

breast s = 100m/58.46s = 1.711 m/s

back s = 100m/51.94s = 1.925 m/s

Therefore, when it seems like the breaststroke swimmers are going slow, the engineer will be able to tell you that compared to the freestyle swimmers, the breaststroke athletes are going 80.25% as fast as the faster freestylers. If you want to talk about efficiency, go with the freestyle. It will get you there at over 6% faster by speed than the next fastest stroke, the butterfly, which in itself is 4.26% faster than the backstroke.

Believe me, there are many more comparisons, all based on simple speed calculations, as one considers different speeds of the different strokes at different distances. And this is just swimming.

More on the Olympics, and fun one can have watching them, the rest of the week.