Do Black Males Hold an Advantage at the 100 Meter Sprint?

Topics: Summer Olympic Games, Olympic Games, Black people Pages: 5 (1967 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Do black males hold an advantage at the 100 meter sprint?
The difference in time from the first to the last person at the 100 meter sprint final at the 2012 Olympics was 0.46 seconds however the difference in race and heritage was minimal. All of the sprinters can trace their heritage back to West Africa. At the moment black males from the America’s dominate sprinting, it’s a fact. Well according to Jean-Philippe Leclaire who in his latest book "Why Whites Run Slower", discusses why black males seem to win all the sprinting medals. However discussion to why this is has causes much debate in the past. In my essay I look at why black males dominate and examine the nature verses nurture debate, are these athletes born with the genetic makeup to be the best in the world or is their talent nurtured? Word count: 128


When Usain Bolt crossed the line to win the 4x100 meter relay and secure his 6th gold medal in two Olympic Games, people began to ask what makes him so fast? Was he destined for greatness? Research has shown that this was the 5th consecutive all black 4x100m team to win the Olympics. I began to wonder why it was that black males seem to run faster than any other ethnic group. In 2010 Christian Lemaitre became the first white male to surpass the 10s barrier in the 100m discipline and only the fourth person of non-West African heritage to do so. The feat was so greatly received that Lemaitre was invited to do some promotional work for the Klu Klux Klan, which Lemaitre naturally declined. However the successes of not only black but West Africans in the discipline cannot be understated the last person, We would have to travel back 32 years to the Moscow Olympics to find the last white male, Allan Wells of Great Britain, to not only win but even be in the finals of the 100m at the Olympics. Since then all winners and finalist have been black and mostly of West African descent apart from a few cases.

Many professionals from diverse fields all have different theories as to why it is that black males seem to dominate sprinting. One of the popular theories is that black males are influenced by their culture and thus more interested in participating in sporting events. This theory proposes that the reason the Olympic track events are full of blacks is that there are a large amount of role models in sprinting for black males. For example for black British children, models like Linford Christie and the 2004 relay team can inspire and impact children into sprinting as young boys look for role models with which they can identify with however since there is a small amount of role models for black boys in other walks of life e.g. business or politics meaning a larger amount of children will get into sprinting. Furthermore black males may be influenced by their teachers, as a teacher who believes that black males are inherently faster would steer a young black child into sprinting rather than pushing him at academic studies.

This topic has proven to be very controversial in the past se. In 1995 Sir Roger Bannister, a notable neurologist and retired Oxford dean, said “as a scientist rather than a sociologist I am prepared to risk political incorrectness by drawing attention to the seeming obvious but under stressed fact that black sprinters and black athletes in general all seem to have certain natural anatomical advantages” However Sir Bannister was ridiculed for voicing his opinion why? Because many believed that the topic steered to close to Scientific Racism, a fine line that has been passes many times when talking about this subject and caused emotions to flare. Lately Sprinter Michael Johnson also caused controversy by claiming the Slave trade is partly responsible for what we are seeing today. Although his view is supported by the fact that even though almost all men who have won the gold medal in 100m have been of West African heritage none have actually ran for West African countries....
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