A cheetah could outrun Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man.

PARIS: Human beings would be made to look decidedly unimpressive were animals allowed to compete in the Olympics – outperformed by the likes of kangaroos, gorillas and ostriches, according to a science paper.

Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, may outrun a Dromedary camel but would trail the cheetah, greyhound and ostrich in a sprint, says a feature in the Veterinary Record journal.

“Citius, Altius, Fortius (faster, higher, stronger) is the Olympic motto, but if we allowed the rest of the animal kingdom into the Games we could not offer much competition,” wrote author Craig Sharp.

Jamaican track star Bolt holds the 100m record of 9.58 seconds, which translates into a speed of 37.6km/h.

The world’s fastest land animal, the cheetah, can reach speeds of 104km/h, a thoroughbred racehorse 70km/h, a greyhound 69km/h and an ostrich 64km/h, said Sharp, of the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in London. The camel comes in just behind Bolt at 35.3km/h.

When it comes to marathon running, the human athlete could not hold a candle to endurance animals like camels or sled dogs, and would also be beaten in the long jump by the kangaroo (12.8m compared to the human record of 8.95m).

The high jump record of 2.45m would be smashed by the springbok, which can bound three metres into the air, and the snakehead fish, which can leap over four metres out of water. – Sapa-AFP