African Descendants Triumph in Genetic Lottery Essay

1184 WordsDec 5, 20125 Pages
Crystal Hicks Rod McCrae ENGL 1101-LCF October 15th, 2012 African Descendants Triumph in Genetic Lottery Athletic achievements, like success of all kinds, are a bio-cultural phenomenon. While culture, environment, individual initiative and just plain luck might influence which individuals succeed, nature, one’s DNA, circumscribes the possibility of even being in the game. Usain Bolt (2012 track Olympic gold medalist) along with his Jamaican teammates are members of a tiny slice of the world population; elite athletes who trace their ancestry to western and central Africa, whose body types and physiology have been uniquely shaped by thousands of years of evolution to run fast. But part of a broader trend, it is hardly surprising. What composes an elite track Olympian? What is the connection between the continuous struggles for Asian or Caucasian runners and triumph for African track champions? Why are black athletes dominating track events and why are we afraid to talk about it? Runners of African descent are the fastest humans on Earth. This cultural phenomenon is more than a coincidence. The connection between ongoing championship in black runners and disappointing performance in white, Asian and Latino runners reveals that there is a socio-genetic interest in sports. Whites of Eurasian ancestry have more natural upper-body strength and predictably dominate weightlifting, wrestling and field events, such as the hammer (whites hold 46 of the top 50 performances). Certain East Asian populations tend to be small with relatively short extremities, long torsos, and a thicker layer of fat. As a result, athletes from this region are somewhat slower and less strong than whites or blacks, but are, on average, more flexible. These characteristics are key potential advantages in diving, some events in gymnastics (hence the term 'Chinese splits'), and figure skating.

More about African Descendants Triumph in Genetic Lottery Essay

Open Document