Usain Bolt has accomplished pretty much all there is in sprinting, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever beat a cheetah.
As part of “Big Cat Week,” Nat Geo Wild studied what would have happened if a cheetah took part in the 2009 World Championships 100m final, where Bolt set the world record of 9.58 seconds.
Bolt’s time equaled 23 miles per hour (though Nat Geo says 28 mph, which Bolt probably reached or got close to at his peak speed). A cheetah can sprint nearly 70 mph, according to Nat Geo.
In the video, a virtual cheetah is placed between Bolt and Doc Patton. What happens when the gun goes off is predictable. The cheetah zooms past the field, including Bolt, and crosses the finish in 5.95, obliterating the world record.
Nat Geo determined that Bolt would need at least a 40-meter head start to beat the cheetah.