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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation and prediction of world records and ultimate performance in track and field Liu, Yuanlong


The study deals with mathematical models as they apply to predict sports performances with track and field events. The purposes of this study were the following: 1) to identify the best applied mathematical model based on their assumptions, strengths and weaknesses, and the outcome predictions among the models using a comprehensive updated data set; 2) use a comprehensive updated data set and the chosen best fitting model to predict future performances for males and females in selected track and field events, and determine whether women will outperform men and if so, when;3) develop a new random sampling model to predict the world record and ultimate performances based on the assumption(testable) that the performance has already reached an asymptotic level and the best performance population will best able in the next 50 or more years. BMDP-1R and BMDP-3R software were used to fit the linear and nonlinear models and produce statistics to assist in identifying the best fitting model. A FORTRAN 77 Monte Carlo simulation program was written to do the simulation utilizing values derived from extreme value theory for the men’s 1500m event. The world prediction results obtained from the random sampling model were then compared with Glick's theoretical expected number of world records in a given period. The results showed that: 1) the best performance per year data are the most appropriate data in track and field for model development, and the exponential model relating running time and historical year with the best performance data is the most valid deterministic model for prediction of world records and the ultimate performance; 2) the differences between women's and men's performances in track and field will keep diminishing, however, women are not predicted to catch up to the men in the chosen events in this study; 3) a greater performance improvement is expected in the near future for those events in which the performances still exhibit a linear trend (e.g.,10000m, and High jump); 4) under the assumption that the average ultimate performance has been reached in the men's 1500mevent, the random sampling model is an effective method to predict the new world records for this event; 5) according to the random sampling model the waiting time between world records becomes progressively longer with every newly established world record. A world record beyond the limit of 205 seconds for the men's 1500m event could take up to one hundred years or more.

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