Thank you to everyone who submitted solutions to this problem. You all did very well. Here are the answers:
||Men's 100 metres
||Men's Long Jump
||Women's 1500 metres
||Men's High Jump
||Women's High Jump
||Women's 10000 metres
||Men's 4 x 100 metres relay
||Women's 100 metres
Well done to students from Wilson's School, Jess Jemiera in Dubai, Broomhill in Aberdeen, St Helen's C of E Primary School, Allenbourn Middle School, Tenby Junior School, Lady Elizabeth Hastings School, Baston C of E Primary School, Leicester High School for Girls, Colonel Frank Seely School, Garden International School in Malaysia, All Saints School and Chatham
Grammar School for Boys for getting them right.
Here are just some of the ways you justified your answers:
The improvement of the results in the Olympics over time is expected due to the growing knowledge of the human body. We know all of the essentials, and added bonuses that help us to train the body and mind for the Olympic Games to get closer to our full potential.
(Joe, Chatham Grammar School for Boys)
Looking at the graphs, we were straight away able to tell that decreasing records have to do with track events and increasing have to do with field events.
(Adriel, Garden International School )
This is because in all of the running events, the person with the quickest, i.e. the smallest time wins. Therefore the records will be getting quicker and quicker, so the graph is decreasing. In throwing and jumping events, the person who gets the greatest distance or height wins i.e. the biggest so the records will get bigger and the graph will increase.
(Kartik from Wilson's School)
We think that graph 1 is the Men's 100m race because we can see that the records start from the first ever Olympic games, which means it can't have been women as they weren't treated as equal to men and therefore would not have participated in the games.
(Pythagoreans, All Saints School)
Some of you were also able to explain unusual features on the graphs:
With the Javelin they were throwing too far and there was danger of hitting the runners so they made the Javelins heavier in 1986.
(Sophie, Rae and Chloe - Jess Jumeirah, Dubai)
For the Decathlon event, athletes were scored by the relative quality of their performance, not against each other, and we think the scoring system changed several times.
(Adriel, Garden International School)
We think the men's javelin distance suddenly increased in 1956 because Frank Held invented the hollow javelin that gave it 27% more surface area therefore it made the javelin flight much longer.
(The group from Lady Elizabeth Hastings)
The reason graph 2 rose up so drastically in 1968 may be because there was no drug-testing then and the person who set the record could've taken performance enhancing drugs.
(Emily, Garden International School)
Editor's note: In making his record jump in 1968, Beamon enjoyed a number of advantageous environmental factors. At an altitude of 2240 m (7349 ft), Mexico City's air had less resistance than air would have at sea level. This allows runners to run faster and jumpers to jump farther. In addition to Beamon's record, world records were broken
in most of the sprinting and jumping events at the 1968 Olympic Games. Beamon also benefited from a trailing wind of 2 meters per second on his jump, the maximum allowable for record purposes.
Lots of you also noticed that there were no records made in 1940 or 1944 because the games were cancelled due to the Second World War. Well done everyone!