5. Beaten by 0.001 secondsJanuary 23, 2014
Here is a screen grab from the New York Times article on Speed Skating:
Annette Gerristen lost the Gold Medal in the 1000 m Women’s speed skate competition by 0.02 seconds.
From the wonderful NBC Mathletes Video
How far can a speed skater travel in 0.02 secs?
When 1st and 2nd place are separated by 0.02 seconds, they are travelling at almost the same speed. So the second place contestant is:
behind the winner.
The distance travelled by the winning speed skater in 0.002 seconds would be:
So the second place competitor would be 2.38 cm behind.
If a speed skater lost the Gold Medal by 0.001 seconds, the smallest measured time segment at the Olympics, they would be:
behind the winner. That is less than the length of a small fingernail.