Animalympics

August 05, 2013

Not even the NFL's fastest man is beating a cheetah. But lineman versus squirrel? Race on

Extra MUSTARD

Last week news broke that Titans running back Chris Johnson and Bears return man Devin Hester had each raced a cheetah. (Let that settle in.) The results won't be made public until National Geographic Channel airs the races in the fall, but it's a pretty safe bet that the cat won. Cheetahs top out near 70 mph; Johnson's 40 time of 4.24—the fastest in NFL combine history—translates to 19.29 mph. Could a man ever win? "I can think of no scenario other than Parkour [urban running] or up a ladder," says Alan Wilson, a professor of locomotor biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College in London.

So what would constitute a fairer race between man and beast? The animal with a speed closest to Johnson's is the elephant. Alas, that's not the safest matchup. At the other end of the spectrum is a far more cuddly pair. Wisconsin center Travis Frederick (right) ran the slowest 40 (5.58) of any player drafted this year. That averages out to 14.7 mph. The animal providing the best matchup, with a speed of 12.4 mph: the eastern gray squirrel.

EXTRA MUSTARD ON SI.COM

To get up close with Wil Myers, this week's breakout performer presented by Schick, go to SI.com/breakout

They Said It

"After taking it out on the phone ... he took it out on the baseball today."

JOHN FARRELL

Red Sox manager, on DH David Ortiz, who went 4 for 4 with a homer in Boston's 5--0 win over the Orioles on Sunday. The day before, Ortiz had taken his bat to the bullpen phone at Camden Yards after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

PHOTOSCOTT BOEHM/AP (FREDERICK) PHOTOVERYOLIVE/FOTOLIA.COM (SQUIRREL) PHOTOTED S. WARREN/AP (FARRELL)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)