Four visually impaired runners in the 1500 meters at the Rio Paralympics Games just earned some bragging rights: All put up times better than the US runner who took gold in the same Olympics competition, reports the Independent. Their times ranged from 3:48.29 (by gold medal winner Abdellatif Baka of Algeria) to 3:49.84 by fourth-place finisher Fouad Baka, also of Algeria. All were better than the time of 3:50 put up by American Matthew Centrowitz at the Summer Olympics. And, no, the Paralympians did not use any artificial aids. But as Chris Chase at Fox Sports explains, some other variables help explain what's going on.
Long-distance races such as the 1500 meters aren't just brute tests of speed from start to finish and instead often come down to tactics, he writes. In the Centrowitz race, for example, no runner leaped ahead to push the pace. In such races, "the group can be content to stay together until kicking it into gear in the final 500m," he writes, and that's exactly what happened. In fact, Centrowitz ran 11 seconds faster in an earlier round. No matter the rationale, however, these four Paralympians can still boast about being faster than their Olympics counterparts in their final heat.