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I'm trying to figure out whether starting the 100m sprint crouched like they do in the olympics is better than starting it standing. I thought maybe that's just a "sport rule", not something that actually makes the race faster. If you can link me actual videos or experiments I'd appreciate it very much.

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A crouched start is more effective than a standing start as it places the sprinter in a position to move the center of gravity rapidly well ahead of the feet and thus the runner must accelerate very quickly or else fall.

Here is a wonderful article with a study comparing both, the standing and crouching styles, giving details at each milestone.

  • Good answer. My anecdote, not worth its own answer: when I was learning the sport, a coach demonstrated the need for blocks by having us watch people doing a standing start. Invariably the first thing a runner does in a standing start is rock backward away from the starting line. The blocks force a runner into forward motion immediately. – pjmorse Nov 21 '12 at 12:14

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