Blacks And Sports Essay

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Next Saturday afternoon, in less time than it has taken me to type this sentence, the fastest man at the Olympics will take the 100m gold medal. That man may be the pre-Olympic favourite, the American Maurice Greene. It may be Trinidad's Ato Boldon. It may even be Britain's Dwaine Chambers, who has run into impressive form in the last few weeks. But whoever it is, of one thing we can be certain: he will be black. Indeed, you've probably got more chance of winning the lottery next Saturday than a white man has of even making it to the final. The last time that a white athlete participated in an Olympic 100m final, Jimmy Carter was still in the White House. And the last time a white athlete held the 100m world record, Khrushchev was ensconced in the Kremlin. Over the past decade, the 10 second mark in the 100m has been broken 200 times - but not once by a white athlete. Nor is it just at the 100m that whites are so noticeably absent. Every men's world record at every commonly-run track distance from 100m to the marathon now belongs to a runner of African descent. Nor is there any respite for white sportsmen away from the Olympics. In 1950, the American Basketball Association was almost entirely white. Today it is 80 per cent black; among the stars the figure rises to 95 per cent. Sixty per cent of American footballers are black. France won the football World Cup and Euro 2000 with a team in which more than a third of the players were black. In boxing, the two world heavyweight champions - Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield - are black; there is not a single serious white contender for their crowns. What lies behind such black domination of sport? The traditional liberal answer points the finger at social factors. Blacks, so the argument runs, have been driven into sport because racism has excluded them from most areas of employment. Racism also makes blacks hungrier

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