March 28, 2000

Runs in the blood

By Christopher Reed

Black athletes hold the world record in every standard distance in running and hurdles from the 100 metres to the marathon. In the last four Olympic Games to 1996, every finalist in the 100 metres has been of west African descent. Although 200 black athletes have beaten 10 seconds, no white man has.

PublicAffairs in New York has published "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It" by award-winning journalist, Jon Entine. Entine received rejections from 15 publishers because of the book's subject matter. He says his strongest critics are liberal whites who apparently fear the corollary that physical superiority automatically suggests mental inferiority, a thesis the book rejects. According to Dr Lindsay Carter, professor emeritus at the Department of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego University, there is no well-conducted scientific research linking physical prowess with mental capacity.

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