Celebrating Diversity In Track And Field, For A Change
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Track and field is interesting because its demands are simple enough that human biodiversity stands out pretty clearly. But after awhile it gets kind of dull because the same old same old demographic patterns keep showing up. (Here's my VDARE article on human biodiversity in track up through the close of the 2008 Olympics.) Hence, it's fun when some rare diversity shows up among the top performers. For example, last year Christophe Lemaitre of France became the first white man and second non-sub-Saharan African to record a time in the 100m dash in the 9.XX second range by running 9.98. (A half Australian Aborigine - half Irishman once ran a 9.93 and a Pole once ran a 9.997, which was rounded up to 10.00.) Lemaitre is a 21-year-old country boy from Savoy who had never tried sprinting until he was 15, when the French had a national competition to find the fastest 15 year old at 50 meters. He got timed at a fair and it turned out to be the fastest mark in the country. Lemaitre appears to be the real deal. He's broken 10.00 five more times, including a pair of 9.95s. In 2012 in London, will he become the first man since 1980 not from West Africa or Southwest Africa (Frankie Fredericks of Namibia) to make the Olympic 100m dash 8-man final? Right now, his 9.95 makes him only the tenth fastest man in 2011. On the other hand, most of those who are faster are Jamaicans and one country can only enter three contestants in the 100m. Also, some of those Jamaicans might get caught.

The Americans used to be very big in sprints (here are some pictures of an American sprinter who used to be very big), but after the 2004 Olympics, they started more rigorous drug testing while the Jamaicans didn't, and now Jamaicans win everything. Right now, Lemaitre looks like a very healthy young man. If he shows up in 2012 looking like a plastic action figure with giant biceps, however, and runs a 9.75 to medal, well, it would be a big whoop-tee-doo, but I'd be happier if he showed up looking human and ran in the low 9.9s. Another candidate to break the West African lock on the 100m finals is a Zimbabwean named Ngonidzashe Makusha, who ran 9.89 at the NCAA finals. Zimbabwe is more or less in Southeast Africa. In women's sprinting, where the records are out of reach, the big story is, as usual, American Allyson Felix, who lost out on individual gold medals in the 2000 in 2004 and 2008 to Jamaican women with biceps twice the circumference of her own. Felix is the beau ideal of African-American respectable middle class young ladyhood, so it's always compelling to see whether she can finally win an individual gold medal her way or whether she'll go over to the Dark Side and show up massive like her rivals. This year, she's concentrating more on the 400m and has the best time of the year in it. Meanwhile, in distance running, which is dominated by East Africans and Northwest Africans, Chris Solinsky of Wisconsin became in 2010 the first non-African to run 10,000 meters in under 27:00. Also, at 6'-1" and 165 pounds, he's built like a high school quarterback. He's the tallest and heaviest runner ever to break 27:00. The endless miles of training for distance running puts a lot of pounding on the knees, so it's usually dominated by short ectomorphs. That's why Parris Island Marine Corp drill instructors aren't usually the intimidating giants seen in movies. Instead, they tend to be feisty little guys whose knees can take all the pounding of the running they do in boot camp.

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