The Current Predominance of Black Athletes

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Discuss the argument that the current pre-dominance of black athletes in world sprinting is a social and not a ‘racial' phenomenon.

The following essay will discuss the argument that the current pre-dominance of black athletes in the world of sprinting is a social and not a racial phenomenon. Firstly the article will examine the physical differences between black and white athletes. Secondly, this article will discuss stereotypical beliefs in the world of sport. This essay will give an objective examination of the above issues and to challenge beliefs held and conveyed by individuals.

The best 200 times for the 100m sprints, which are all under 10 seconds are all currently held by black athletes, and in addition sprinter of West African decent have filled all eight lanes at the last four Olympics. There is much preprandial musing on why it is that so many of the worlds best runners are black.

The issue of race in sport is somewhat baffling in that many people would rather not address at all even though sport has been intricately intertwined with racial issues throughout the Twentieth century. Those who would have us omit the topic altogether argue that analyses typically single out the black athlete, and then attempt to explain his/her inordinate success in ways different than we do with other groups. Critics contend that this is racist, since it perpetuates the idea that blacks are different, and often inferior. Edwards (1972) asserts that a typical theme resulting from such analysis is that blacks are physically superior, but intellectually inferior, to whites. Hoberman (1997) has further made the case that physical prowess, especially in such sports as basketball, has become a defining characteristic of the African-American community, and that beliefs about physical superiority are closely related to an anti-intellectualism that permeates black male culture. Essentially, Hoberman's argument is that inordinate attention and idolization of prominent...
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