Here is my new Olympic individual Athletic event. Guess the Olympic record in 2020

It is a simple sport. No equipment needed other than a tennis ball.

Throw the ball after any running start before the start line.

Catch the same ball before it touches the ground. You can dive forwards with both feet off the ground to catch it. Camera marks the spot of catch and calculates distance.

Distance travelled furthest until catch gets gold medal.

So giving this new event to develop until the next Olympics in 2020 and bearing in mind current sprint speeds what do you think will be the mens and womens Olympic records set in Japan?

Moved to the Game Room.

General Questions Moderator.


The throw will make it harder to jump and easily negate the value of the dive. I’ll say 30’. Basically the current long jump record plus a little for leaning forward.

And a camera.

I don’t see anything in the rules prohibiting your feet touching the ground beyond the line while the ball is in the air. As in, throw, run run run run DIVE!

I’d say low triple-digits, like 110’.

Firstly, whatever the record is it will be in metric units.

Current long jump record is about 9m, If the catch has to take place without the throwers feet touching the ground beyond the line then it cannot be any longer than that. In that scenario I’d imagine the best technique would be to maximise distance jumped rather than height and hang-time of ball. So a proper long-jumper will just release the ball as they take off, it will travel close to them in a parabola through the air and they will grab it just before they land. So I estimate the best distance to be somewhere approaching 8m.

If you can touch the ground after the line (with only the catch airborne) then it will be the maximum distance that can be covered in the hang time of a thrown ball.
Gut feeling is that a sprinting person delivering a whipped underhand throw before the line (to switch to overhand feels bio-mechanically problematic) Release it at optimum angle at perhaps 100 kmh and it could travel perhaps 60-70 metres. The runner can’t reach that of course so I’d expect the angle to be increased to allow for ground coverage. Again, gut feeling but even with an air time of 4 seconds you might get a 40m sprint and catch.

Here’s a kid throwing a football 40 yards and catching it himself. There are pros that probably could push that to 50+ yards. I suspect a tennis ball would be a bit harder to throw that distance but would travel slower so it would be easier to run underneath.

Why are people talking about jumping? It sounds to me like “how far can you run while the ball is in the air”.

To put an estimate on the upper bound of human ability: An unaided human can throw a baseball near-horizontally at 47 m/s. Assuming that the Olympian can throw a tennis ball straight up at the same speed, and neglecting air resistance, that gives a hang time of 9.6 seconds. The fastest a human has ever run is 12.4 m/s. So if a runner runs as fast as Usain Bolt, and while doing so throws a ball straight up as fast as Aroldis Chapman, he could get 119 m before catching the ball.

The real record would be somewhat less, because I doubt you can throw a ball straight up as fast as horizontally, the needed motions would probably interfere with the motions of running, and there’s no one human with both Chapman’s arms and Bolt’s legs.


Interesting analysis.

But throwing the ball straight up would preclude its covering any significant distance. Neglecting air resistance, the angle for best distance is 45 degrees, which yields a hang time 70% of 9.6 seconds: ~6.8 seconds.

Of course, air resistance is significant - and it always reduces the angle for best range. Various Googling suggests the optimum angle for a thrown football is ~35 degrees, which would correspond to a hang time of ~5.5 seconds. With a ballistic coefficient lower than a football, a tennis ball’s optimum angle would be lower still.

There are other complications, including such things as the height of the thrower (tall is good, and you should plan to catch the ball just above the ground) and the spin imparted during the throw (backspin is helpful).
I would vote for including this event in the Olympics.

The runner is throwing it straight up relative to himself, while he’s already running forward at top speed. That is to say, the horizontal component of the ball’s velocity is the same as the runner’s. This probably will not give the maximum range for the throw, but the maximum range of throw would put it ahead of the runner, who would then be unable to catch it.

And yes, drag and other aerodynamic effects would almost certainly be significant, and so the neglecting of it is not a well-justified assumption. It’s just what I needed to make the calculation tractable.

You could get a little extra distance by diving for the ball, and I’m sure that any actual Olympian would do so, because competitions are won or lost by that little bit extra, but it wouldn’t be very much. The ball will be coming in at an angle steeper than 45º (because people can throw much faster than they can run), and so the distance gained from a dive would be less than the athlete’s height.

Thank you

Yes the sprinter can run while the ball is in the air

The throw and catch can be made with one arm or 2. SO a diving one handed catch would give a few yards.

There is a possibility that the women could beat the mens for the record with this event.

Some catching from a cricket game. Catch no 3 shows how to make a catch while running away from the ball and waiting for it to come back to terra firma. Baseball also may have examples but they use gloves to catch which is disallowed in my rules.

How do you figure? As far as I can tell, the only skills involved would be throwing strength, sprinting speed, plus a sprinking of jumping and catching.

Seems like men would overwhelming dominate any women competitors.

no, there is no possibility of that,

I think a human should make the throw, but dogs should do the running and catching.