I know, I know, we’re not really supposed to mention these things, are we?
It’s just about acceptable to point out that those of West African descent have a higher liklihood of sickle cell anaemia but carry on and point out that almost all modern sprinters share such ancestry and almost no modern competitive swimmers do and you’re getting close to saying unfashionable things.
But this is a point that rather made me sit up straight:
But the record books suggest ethnicity is far from superfluous. The subject may be taboo, but the fact remains that the last white man to win an Olympic 100m final was Scotsman Allan Wells in Moscow in 1980.
Even more astonishingly, in the seven Olympic Games since, not a single white athlete has reached the eight-man final. In Beijing in 2008, no white sprinter made it past the second round.
I think the use of the word “white” there isn’t quite right, for it’s obviously being used as the antonym for “black”, which isn’t right really. I’m pretty sure it should be “West African descent”, not skin colour, which is the point.
In much the same way, it’s not “blacks” which dominate (to a lesser extent) long distance running, rather East and North Africans, isn’t it?