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Not Quite As Boring As Most Olympic Track Posts
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June 26, 2012, 05:27 AM
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Random notes on the decathlon:

Nobody cares much about the Olympic decathlon anymore, but the competition for the "World`s Greatest Athlete" used to be a big deal. For example, Bruce Jenner rode his 1976 gold medal to being Kim Kardashian`s stepfather. He says that when he`s on his deathbed, he intends to hold an auction between Coke and Pepsi over who gets to slap their logo on his coffin.

Here`s a picture of Ashton Eaton, who just set a new world`s record in winning the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic track & field trials, which, as usual, are being held in Eugene, Oregon, because Oregon is the only place that still cares about t&f.

Eaton is from a small town in Oregon. His mom is a redhead. Dad hasn`t been around since he was two.

Dennis Dale recently pointed out in the comments that Obama just barely squeezed through the Novelty Window: Guys with a white mom and a black dad who isn`t around have quickly gone from representing Hope and Change to being depressingly common.

My guess is that being part but not fully black is helpful in the ten event decathlon: e.g., Daley Thompson, the British 1980 and 1984 gold medalist, one of the Dave and Dan guys from 1992, and Bryan Clay, the half-Japanese half-black American who won at Beijing.

Anthropologist Henry Harpending has talked about how a racial group that forms out of two larger races will eventually develop a "type," a characteristic look over a number of generations. Most African-Americans look more blended, more like the type than they used to.

I recall watching some Black History Month documentary on PBS and my wife pointed to the sepia toned photos from several generations ago and noted that black people used to look different.

Blake Griffin of the NBA Clippers is an example of a first generation cross who doesn`t look well-blended. But this Ashton Eaton fellow doesn`t even look black at all, he looks like a dark Asian Indian. But he runs like he`s black.