Kenyans sweep distance races, Jamaicans sprints: How evolution has shaped elite sports

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Certainly, no one was surprised that Usain Bolt swept three gold medals in Rio, and reaffirmed his hold on the title of world’s fastest human. Nor the fact that all of the 100-meter finalists trace their ancestry to Africa—specifically West or South Africa. There were no European descended whites, Asians or East Africans, even from running-rich Kenya. It was a familiar phenomenon to anyone who even vaguely follows elite running.

Distance competitions? Athletes of East and North African ancestry dominate–most especially Kenyans from the Nandi Hills in the Rift Valley–while athletes of West African ancestry are no where to be seen.

Why are East Africans, including Kenyans, so dominant in distance running, but among the world’s slowest elite sprinters? And why are West African descended runners, including the sprinters from the tiny juggernaut of Jamaica, missing-in-action from elite distance running?

When it comes to opportunity, running is the most egalitarian of global sports, a natural laboratory. Unlike the props and costumes required for, say, professional football or ice hockey, or the intense coaching demanded of gymnastics, swimming or golf, anyone can just lace up and go for a run. Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila proved this quite memorably in the 1960 Rome Olympics, when—shoeless, coachless and inexperienced—he won the marathon. Raw talent and the determination of a fierce competitor were on display. What shapes that talent?

rio-olympics-athletics_fbcad0f2-628a-11e6-b372-5e31f535a023The 100-meter race is one of the premier spectacles in sports. The gold sweep in the sprints by West African descended athletes that that we witnessed in Rio is commonplace at elite events now that many of the financial and cultural barriers to international competition have fallen. It has proven to be a dismal event for Asians, Caucasians or East Africans. There are exactly zero Asians, whites or East Africans among the top 200 all time 100 meter times.

Those who do not understand the power of genes might argue that the medal podium for runners should reflect a rainbow of diversity, as no country or region should have a lock on desire or opportunity. But just the opposite has happened in track and field: elite running has become almost entirely segregated by ancestry. African descended athletes dominate. And field events are dominated by athletes of Eurasian ancestry.

[These patterns hold true in both men’s and women’s events, though cultural taboos on female participation in sports and the history of their use of performance enhancing drugs makes the parallels inexact.]

The trends in running are eye opening: Among men, athletes of African ancestry hold every major running record, from the 100m to the marathon. Of the past eight Olympics men’s 100m races, 63 finalists have been of West African descent and one from South Africa, Akani Simbine, who finished in a pokey 9.94 in Rio this year. Only four non-African runners, France’s Christophe Lemaire, who is white, a Chinese runner, a Pole and Australia’s Irish-aboriginal Patrick Johnson, have run a sub 10-second 100 or cracked the top 500 100-meter times.

Population genetics and sports

What makes the running performance statistics so intriguing is how sharp the divide is in terms of which regions in Africa turn out elite athletes running in the sprints versus distance races. Although there is a great deal of genetic and cultural overlap, Africa represents a large number of different ‘populations’, as a geneticist would say, whose evolutionary history has been shaped by cultural tribal differences and geographic barriers such as the mountain ranges in East Africa that bifurcate the continent. [Let’s avoid using the word ‘race’, as scientists focus more on population groups, defined by ancestry.]

As journalist Steve Sailer noted in an article on Unz Review, the ranking of the fastest Jamaican men all time by distance shows the stark genetic/distance divide that separates the skill set of West and East African athletes in sprinting vs. long distance.

100m: #1 Usain Bolt

200m: #1 Usain Bolt

400m: #41 Rusheen McDonald

800m: #2887 Seymour Newman

1500m: No Jamaicans in top 7836 times ever

“Notice a pattern?” Sailer wrote. “It’s not like the Jamaican track teams don’t want to win gold medals at longer distances, they’re just better at the sprints.”

These differences were once again on display in Rio. Endurance races were dominated by North and East Africans—even on the female side despite huge restrictions still placed on women athletes in Africa. East and North African women dominated in almost all of the distance events. The near sweep was capped off by Kenya’s Jemima Sumgong victory over Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain and Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia to become that country’s first Olympic female marathon gold medalist and Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge’s won the men’s marathon.

GettyImages-589478616.0

Kenya has tried to replicate its success in distance running by pouring millions of dollars and hiring top coaches in establishing a sprint development academy to no avail. The top Kenyan 100-meter time is 10.23-pathetic for an elite runner and not in the top 5000 of all time. US high schoolers do better than that–the record is 10.0.

Culture vs. genes?

The most frequently heard reason for this pattern by skeptics, including many scientists, is that Rift Valley Kenyans and Jamaican athletes just work harder at running. They had to run back and forth to school. It’s a way out of often deplorable poverty. There are in fact some cultural factors in play, just as there are cultural reasons for why Dominicans excel in baseball. In the case of Jamaica, the British introduced organized and informal athletics, and interscholastic competition, to the island and other colonies in the late 19th century, and running was the central sport–sprints and long distance. Jamaicans began excelling at what they were natural good at–the shorter distances. But culture alone can only take one so far; Jamaicans are terrible at distance running.

Culture clearly plays a huge role in most parts, though more so historically when fewer people had access to sports. Consider the Jewish over-representation in semi-pro basketball in the United States in the 1920s and 30s, when the famed Philadelphia South Philadelphia Hebrew Association (SPHAS) team, nicknamed the Hebrews, won 13 semi-pro titles over 22 years. Basketball was one of their few outlets, the story goes, to escape the trap of limited opportunity. Some commentators speculated genetics was at play.

The 1922 Philadelphia SPHAS, whose uniforms featured Hebrew lettering.

The 1922 Philadelphia SPHAS, whose uniforms featured Hebrew lettering.

“The reason, I suspect, that basketball appeals to the Hebrew, with his Oriental background,” wrote Paul Gallico, sports editor of the New York Daily News and one of the premier sportswriters of the 1930s, “is that the game places a premium on an alert, scheming mind, flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart-aleckness.”

But in this case, Jewish domination was overwhelmingly cultural. Following World War II, the new generation of Jews began moving on to other pursuits—not to mention the suburbs. By the late 1940s, dominion over the city basketball courts had passed to the fastest-growing group of urban dwellers, mostly blacks who had migrated north from dying Southern plantations. In a few short years, the SPHAs were reduced to a supporting role as the slow-footed white boys in one-night stands against the Harlem Globetrotters, who had evolved into a vaudeville act after the NBA began stealing its best players. Before long, the stereotype of the “scheming” and “trickiness” of Jews was replaced by that of the “natural athleticism” of “Negroes”.

We know now, of course, that Jews are not innately suited (or ill suited) for basketball. The SPHAs and the heyday of Jewish basketball resulted from a combination of environmental factors, hard work, and a dearth of opportunities elsewhere. For much of the past century, socioeconomic barriers determined who would compete in what sports—and therefore who could succeed. However, the situation in running is different. West African descended runners have dominated sprinting for most of the century, and that domination has intensified in recent years. As the barriers to African participation in global sports has fallen, and the playing field has leveled, East and North Africans have come to dominate distance running.

Blacks still find it difficult to break into many specialized or country-club sports, like bobsledding or golf, in which equipment costs are steep. But sports that excluded or segregated blacks until the 1960s—baseball, basketball, football and track-and-field—are now open to all races. Where cultural channeling once shaped the rosters of in sports, now the cream has fewer structural obstacles to rise to the top.

Still journalists and even many scientists attempt to persuade us that environment and culture are what matters most at the elite levels of competitive sports and genes play a limited or no role. The latest example: Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson’s recent New York Times opinion piece on Jamaican running, which correctly points to the cultural factors that have contributed to sprinting success.

How do Jamaicans do it? It’s not because of genetics, as some claim. A vast majority of Jamaicans’ ancestors are from West Africa, which has relatively few outstanding sprinters.

According to this narrative, there’s a tradition of running in Africa, and among African descendants worldwide, that young athletes emulate; they’ve been running to school since kindergarten; they train harder for a chance at the golden ring that athletic success offers; athletes from other parts of the world have developed a toxic inferiority complex to Kenyan distance runners and West African descended sprinters and switch to other sports; blah, blah, blah.

As I noted in my book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It (Jon Entine, 2000, Public Affairs), West Africa, which has no strong cultural or state support for running, has dozens of outstanding sprinters relative to any group in the world other than sprinters in the West African diaspora. Each of these countries alone–Congo, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Senegal–has more elite sprinters than all of Asia combined. Caribbean countries, North America and Europe–home to many people of West African descent—have faired particularly well in international sprinting. (As Sailer has noted, “West Africa has nature on its side in sprinting, but the West African diaspora has nature and nurture”).

Yes, it can be precarious to engage this topic…hence why I titled my book Taboo. And focusing on differences at the far end of the distribution curve, at the very pinnacle of human capacities, can create a misleading impression of group biases; human variability can get confused with average differences. But as Malcolm Gladwell, who is of European and African-descended parentage, has written, “There is a point at which it becomes foolish to banish speculation on the topic. Clearly, something is going on.”

The Rift Valley Kenyan story

Kenya, with but 44 million people, is home to athletes holding almost one half of the top times in distance races, and most of them trace their ancestry to a few tribes in and around the Nandi Hills. The Kalenjin tribe alone has less than 0.1% of the world’s population, yet members of this tribe have together won more than 60 Olympic medals in middle- and long-distance events. It’s often claimed that Kenyans dominate distance races because they “naturally trained” as children—by running back and forth to school, for example.

kipketer“That’s just silly,” Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer told me. Kipketer the second fastest 800-meter runner of all time and holder of six of the top 20 all-time fastest 800m times. “I lived right next door to school,” he laughed, dismissing cookie-cutter explanations. “I walked, nice and slow.”

No study has been done that suggests that elite runners as a group were more likely to run great distances to school. That’s a particularly absurd claim in Kenya today where even small rural villages, particularly in the Rift Valley, have inexpensive public bus service. Yet, the blank slate theory is advanced all the time, even by some scientist who should know better than to rely on anecdotes, as if it’s beyond question

Like most young Kenyans, while growing up he hoped that he might catch the eye of a coach who combed the countryside to find the next generation of budding stars. He had dreams of being cheered as he entered the National Stadium in Nairobi. But his childhood fantasy was to be welcomed as a soccer player.

The national sport, the hero worship, the adoring fans, the social incentives that supposedly channel a kid into sports—that all speaks to Kenya’s enduring love affair with soccer, not running. Soccer was and is the national sports obsession of Kenyans. But Kipketer, like many Kenyans and East Africans, are rarely found among the elite of that sport; despite their zeal for soccer and all the social incentives to push them into playing high level soccer, most East Africans simply don’t appear to have the genetic package to make them the world-class quick burst runners that thrive in that sport. Social and cultural conditioning alone cannot turn athletic coal into diamonds.

But Kenyans from the Rift Valley mountains are more like to be diamonds at longer distance running. Kenyan1Some suggest that’s due to the outsized natural lung capacity and a preponderance of slow-twitch muscles. That’s a perfect biomechanical package for long-distance running–for example, 8 of the top 10 all time marathoners are Kenyan; the other two are Ethiopian. Out of the top 125 marathon times, 124 were run by East and North Africans. Sprinting is the mirror opposite, though: Kenya’s fastest 100m time, 10.26, is almost three-quarters of a second slower than Bolt’s world record. More than 5,000 times ranked higher than Kenya’s best. There are no elite East African sprinters.

Bengt Saltin, who recently passed away as the director of the Copenhagen Muscle Research Institute, and is considered one of the world’s expert in this area, has said his research estimated that an athlete’s “environment” accounts for no more than 25 percent of athletic ability. The rest comes down to the roll of the genetic dice, he said.

Evolution has shaped significant physical and physiological differences. Genetics circumscribes possibility; individual success is about coaching, training and dedication. Individuals win sporting events, not ancestral population groups. In other words, running success is both “in the genes” and linked to training and coaching, which can lead to a genetic and cultural feedback loop. That’s what’s happened in Jamaica in sprinting and Kenya in distance running (and the Dominican Republic in baseball).

Environmental factors undoubtedly influence how genes are expressed. Mathematics dictates that in a region of tens of millions of inhabitants, small differences that are not always apparent across much of the population can show up in an elite few. Robert Malina, a retired Michigan State University anthropologist and former editor of the Journal of Human Genetics:

Differences among athletes of elite caliber are so small that if you have a physique or the ability to fire muscle fibers more efficiently that might be genetically based … it might be very, very significant. The fraction of a second is the difference between the gold medal and fourth place.

Empirical evidence makes hash of the myth that culture and hard work alone makes the athlete. It’s nature and nurture in a bio-cultural loop.

Body types, ancestry and sports

Although people in every population come in all shapes and sizes, body types and physiological characteristics follow a distribution curve as a result of evolutionary adaptations by our ancestors to extremely varied environmental challenges. This adaptation continues to happen–the average height in some countries has changed by up to 5 centimeters over just the last 100 years. Every population group has some elite athletes in every sport. But the tails of the distribution curve and their thickness differs from population to population. Elite sports showcase these differences.

Here are the facts. Dozens of studies have confirmed that genetically linked, highly heritable characteristics such as skeletal structure, the distribution of muscle fiber types (for example, sprinters have more natural fast-twitch fibers, while distance runners are naturally endowed with more of the slow-twitch variety), reflex capabilities, metabolic efficiency, and lung capacity are not evenly distributed among human populations.

Comparing West Africans and East Africans, West Africans tend to have more efficient but smaller lung capacity. Shaped by many centuries of evolution in Africa, they generally have bigger, more developed overall musculature; narrower hips, lighter calves; higher levels of plasma testosterone; faster patellar tendon reflex in the knee; and a higher percentage of fast-twitch muscles and more anaerobic enzymes, which can translate into more explosive energy. 

It’s been suggested that East African athletes from hill tribes, such as the Nandi, assimilate oxygen in regions of low oxygen pressure, and have increased levels of haemoglobin. It’s controversial stuff, although not to most sports scientists.

Although there is huge diversity in body types in every population, West Africans tend to be more mesomorphic–more heavily muscular. East Africans are more ectomorphic–leaner, particularly in the upper body. While West and some South Africans dominate in the sprints, they are terrible at distance races. East and North Africans are equally inept at sprinting. It’s certainly not because those athletes don’t try in those particular events—they just don’t have the body type or physiology to compete at the highest levels in these events.

Scientists dismiss the notion, voiced controversially by CBS sports analyst Jimmy the Greek Snyder in 1988, that African slaves brought to the Americas were “bred during slavery,” explaining in part their success in certain sports. However, the differences we are talking about are hard wired over thousands of years, and there is no real evidence that planned “slave breeding” actually occurred over successive generations on the level that could have shaped body types.

The evolutionary advantages that some African-descended populations have in running can be drags in some sports. People of African descent in general have longer arms and legs than other populations, an adaption to dissipate body heat in hot climates. They also, on average have heavier skeletons and less body fat—a possible genetic hindrances when it comes to competitive swimming.

On the other hand, populations that have evolved in colder climates are characterized by shorter extremities and longer torsos—evolutionary adaptations to harsh climes encountered by Homo sapiens who migrated to Eastern Europe and Northeast Asia 40,000 years ago. China, for example, excels in many Olympics sports, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons could be that they are more flexible on average—it’s speculated that this may give them a potential advantage in diving, gymnastics (hence the term “Chinese splits”) and figure skating, although environmental and cultural factors could swamp genetic differences. Note, however, that China is a huge country subdivided by many different ethnicities and populations– so we must be careful about making definitive conclusions.

Olympic Weightlifting Great Naim Suleymanoglu, Turkey

Olympic Weightlifting Great Naim Suleymanoglu, Turkey

At the Olympics, with the exception of some competitive Koreans, the winners of the top strength events–weightlifting and most field events, such as the shot put, javelin and hammer–come from a band of Eurasian countries: across Eastern Europe and through Russia, Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkey. They have relatively muscular bodies with comparatively short limbs and thick torsos. No prototypical sprinter or marathoner here. Despite the image of the sculpted African body, no African nation has won an Olympic lifting gold medal.

Speed genes?

1888021_athletics_39078bMichael Johnson, the previous 400-meter world-record holder, the only male athlete in history to win both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash events at the same Olympic (1996), has suggested that black sprinters benefit from the outsized presence of ACTN3. His 400-meter world record was broken by South African Wayde van Niekerk, who became the first ever athlete to have run the 100m under 10 seconds, the 200m under 20 seconds, and 400m under 44 seconds.

It’s a controversial idea among geneticists. ACTN3, dubbed the speed gene, does not seem to have any harmful health effects but its activity has correlated with running ability in some studies, though the research is somewhat contradictory. The ACTN3 is more common in those of West African descent than in Europeans, according to a study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. Another gene, known as ACE, has been linked to endurance running. A 2013 meta-study of more than 450 articles on both the ACE and ACTN3 genes published in PLoS ONE concluded that the scientific literature correlates the effect of these genes with sports performance.

Our results provide more solid evidence for the associations between ACE II genotype and endurance events and between ACTN3 R allele and power events. The findings suggest that the genetic profiles might influence human physical performance.

A team of researchers at the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, at the University of Cape Town in South Africa reviewed the literature on these two genes in a 2013 study. They challenged critics who claim there is no genetic basis for the obvious patterns in elite running competitions and other some other sports:

We argue that research has in fact established a role for genes in performance, and that the frequency, rather than the prevalence, of favourable genetic variants within certain populations may account for the performance dominance in these populations.

Are these genes running’s “smoking gun” genes? No. The complexity of sports performance cannot be reduced to or explained by one or several genes. There are literally dozens of studies on this topic, with many contradictory findings. Some researchers sharply question a genetic explanation. Two respected sports scientists concluded in a 2012 journal article that “no genetic traits … or hematological advantages … have been identified that can conclusively explain the unique success of the East African runners.”

But their conclusion is viewed skeptically by top sports scientists and biological anthropologists who have researched the subject. In one of many responses, a team of scientists from various Brazilian universities documented the rise to dominance of East Africans, Rift Valley Kenyans in particular, in a 2014 review of the research, and hypothesized a number of genetic aspects that could be contributing to this phenomenon:

Many factors in the interesting interaction between genotype and phenotype (eg, high cardiorespiratory fitness, higher hemoglobin concentration, good metabolic efficiency, muscle fiber composition, enzyme profile, diet, altitude training, and psychological aspects) have been proposed in the attempt to explain the extraordinary success of these runners. Increasing evidence shows that genetics may be a determining factor in physical and athletic performance. But, could this also be true for African long-distance runners? Based on this question, this brief review proposed the role of genetic factors (mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid, the Y chromosome, and the angiotensin-converting enzyme and the alpha-actinin-3 genes) in the amazing athletic performance observed in African runners, especially the Kenyans and Ethiopians, despite their environmental constraints.

Sports ability is shaped by coordinated levels of expression of thousands of genes; genetic and non-genetic biological factors determine which genes switch on and when, and how strongly. We know that genes matter; what we don’t know, and many not know for years if ever, is which specific genes or gene combinations matter most and how much genes rather than training and culture drive outcomes. It is well established in the scientific community that both genetic and training factors determine sport performance but the relative ratio of these factors are different for each individual.

“Evolution has shaped body types and in part athletic possibilities,” Joseph Graves, Jr. told me. Graves, an African American, is an Associate Dean for Research and Professor at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and an expert in the field of human differences. “Don’t expect an [Inuit] to show up on an NBA court or a Watusi to win the world weightlifting championship. Differences don’t necessarily correlate with skin color, but rather with geography and climate. Endurance runners are more likely to come from East Africa and sprinters from West Africa. That’s a fact. Genes play a major role in this.”

Why do we readily accept that evolution has turned out Jews with a genetic predisposition to Tay-Sachs, Southeast Asians with a higher proclivity for beta-thalassemia, and blacks who are susceptible to colorectal cancer and sickle-cell disease, yet find it inappropriate to suggest that Usain Bolt can thank his West African ancestry for a critical part of his success? Just last week, in a study published in Nature in which researchers analyzed the genetic codes of more than 60,000 people from five continents, concluded, “Finns Found to be Genetically Unique, Genes Vary Significantly From Europeans” (headline in Nature World News). Are these findings genomic trivia or consequential? “We demonstrate that these data can be used for the efficient filtering of candidate disease-causing variants, and for the discovery of human ‘knockout’ variants in protein-coding genes,” the researchers concluded.

Linking population circumscribed body type to elite sports performance is no different from acknowledging that Tibetan people are able to survive better at higher altitudes through higher no2 blood levels and a higher density of arteries in their limbs to transport what little oxygen is available. Genetics is color blind, and acknowledging human differences, is not racist.

Human “populations”—cohorts of people with shared genes—exist. But the degree to which differences based on ancestry and evolution remain a controversial subject. The difficulty is sorting out how much of a trait is genetically inbred, how much may be shaped by environmental factors, and what is just plain supposition, sometimes sprinkled with biases.

As UCLA professor Jared Diamond has noted, “Even today, few scientists dare to study “racial” origins, lest they be branded racists just for being interested in the subject.” But we have no choice but to face this third rail of genetics. Over the past decade, human genome research has moved from a study of human similarities to a focus on patterned based differences. Such research offers clues to solving the mystery of diseases, the Holy Grail of genetics.

Jon Entine, executive director of the Genetic Literacy Project, is author of the best selling book Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It. Follow @JonEntine on Twitter

Note: This article was updated on August 14, 2016  to include Olympic gold medal results in the men’s 100 meters and the women’s marathon and again on August 21 and 22.

  • schufosi777

    Yes I known this for a long time. What is very interesting though is that there is one track event that tend to draw more people from more ethnic/racial backgrounds than any other. Thats the 800m. Now while the Kenyans are the best at this event and you mentioned the great Kipketer, it is interesting to take a look through the record books, whether times or medals and you will find athletes from all parts of Africa, East, South, Noth and athletes of West African decent from America, Europe, UK and Brazil for example although the genetic makeup of some Brasilians is diverse it includes West African and Portuguese and then of course Europeans whether from Europe or the New World and Middle Eastern peoples as well. The only group not represented tend to be Asian peoples otherwise 800m seems to be where the genes for endurance meet the genes for speed. That includes body type, limb length, lung capacity, muscle fibre type and more. The 800m runner really is the ultimate runner.

    • I think you are right. That is an area where there appears to be an overlap of aerobic and anaerobic abilities.

      • schufosi777

        I was just wondering why the genes that predispose an athlete to being an elite 800m runner are spread through so many ethnic groups. Sprinters mostly have West African background. Distance runner mostly have East African background to a lesser
        extent North African. To be an elite 800m runner requires a mix of fast and slow twitch fibres, a mix of anearobic capicity and aerobic capacity, good lactate tolerance, a body type thats biomechanically
        suited to running efficiently at 800m speed. Why have these gene combinations spread more throughout the world than the genes required
        for distance and sprinting. Is it or rather was there an
        evolutionary advantage in having 800m ability. I guess if one is chasing down animals to eat you would need acceleration, good speed, the ability to maintain that speed for an extended period and even
        the endurance to run a reasonable pace over a long distance.

        • Hugh Nolan

          When did this turn into a race debate ….?????

          • Hugh Nolan

            Comments should be made without predisposed racial ideas that are dark age and reflect only opinions of those who are ignorant of athletes and have never participated or coached ….one will understand colour has less and less to do with being a champion ..or indeed a true competitor …..but I will reiterate that performance enhancing drugs have played a huge role in athletics and other sports for the last couple of decades where margins can be tiny ….anybody who spouts race has very little understanding of the human nature ..

          • schufosi777

            Sorry but I participate and have coached as well. Take a look through the record books. They do not lie.

          • schufosi777

            Comments should be made without preconceived and condescending, arrogant attitude towards others, especially those you know nothing about. Sorry I agree with the article and you do not. You are calling the article which includes the latest research and knowledge dark aged.

          • Hugh Nolan

            Well if this is a true sports debate ..what about decathletes / heptathletes ….or indeed Olympic weight lifters ….or pole vaulters ….or triple jumpers …long jumpers ….,the list is endless …hammer throwers …discus ..high jump …….javelin….athletics doesn’t end with foot racing ….science hasn’t really answered anything ..its thrown up a lot of facts but hasn’t really answered any thing …so in my opinion along with talent the environment around an athlete is just as important …..within many first/ second world countries talent is diluted into team sports …eg Germany soccer …Brazil soccer …South Africa rugby ! ….hunger and peds are still the caveat at top level athletics …;) …as Ben Johnson said if you don’t take it ..you won’t make it !!!!

          • schufosi777

            True. A lot of athletic talent is lost to team sports like NFL, football/soccer and other team sports like that. I enjoy my football but just wonder if there is another Coe or Ovett playing in the 4th tier. As for drugs. I think most athletes are clean now, certainly the top ones. Sad we had the East Euro late 70s early 80s and then the Chinese era which produced astounding results and the American Flo Jo era. Now I think its mostly clean. Those using are lower ranked trying to break through. As for disciplines other than running, I think again a genetic factor is the main reason for success. Genetics are number one. Environment and nurturing and hunger are crucial too. However without the right genes u will not be the best. Thanks for your discussion. I have enjoyed it.

          • Julia Miller

            Remember how Jimmy the Greek caught hell for stating the obvious
            Not very p.c. but he was stating the obvious, no matter how coarse ..

          • Julia, I address that in my book Taboo. The Greek was sort of right but mostly wrong. Yes, there are definitely substantial body type differences on average between blacks of West African descent and most whites, which he obviously picked up on. But it’s NOT the result of ‘breeding’ during slavery. I dissect that in detail as there has been an evolutionary impact from how slaves were brought to America over the Middle Passage.

          • schufosi777

            The initial racist idea was that black were worse than whites at athletics point blank. Then 100 years ago they proved themselves better at sprinting. Then they said whites are still better at Middle and Long distance because of their mental and psychological strength. Then the Kip Keino and Bikila proved you all wrong. And since then its been an inexorable drive to black domination. Sure Lopes, Mamede.

          • schufosi777

            Its not a race debate. It is a debate concerning genetic potential of athletes from various areas of the world.

  • Hugh Nolan

    What’s really interesting is that scientists have already ID Ed the actn 3 protein for sprinting potential … , so really the caveat …remains doping ….those who can afford it …..those who choose to use it …..and communities who choose to ignore those who cheat ….it’s a lot less about genetics and a lot more about goes on around it …..

    • Eric Chan

      I hope you are not suggesting that Africans run fast marathons because they are all doped.

      Yes, doping is rampant in sprinting, but … what’s you point?

      The discussion is not about who’s got the best drugs, but why certain groups of people have a predispose talent of certain things, so I think you are going off on a tangent here.

  • Eric Chan

    But If that’s true, what happened to Tiger Woods? I thought golf is for white guys? What happened to Sports Genes?

    What about Hockey/Swimmers? I thought black guys can’t skate or swim? Ever heard of PK Suban?

    Genetics plays a factors (foundation), but work ethic and training methodology and upbring plays a bigger role.

    Should look into epigenetic more folks!

    Using genes as a scapegout is like throwing a bowel and say I surrender because you cannot control the outcome. Obese people say that all the time …..

    • schufosi777

      Whats golf got to do with running. Its barely an athletic event and its a rich persons event and anyway he is half Asian. Opportunity. Lewis Hamilton F1. Sorry but in running all the opportunity in the world will not make you the best if you do not have the right genes.

      • Eric Chan

        You just prove my point. Tiger’s not white. 😃 I guess Asian genes is good for golf? What a bunch of BS 😂😂😂😂
        Ever heard of the Robertson brothers? Is 59:47 in HM good enough for you?

        They didn’t have any “crazy genes”. Hell they weren’t even a huge prospect in NZ. Guess what? They took the risk and moved to Kenya for 7yrs …. They got what they are looking for.

        Sorry, but sports genes is a cop out. I can list endless cases to contradict this theory.

        Don’t just pick and choose you arguments.

    • Julia Miller

      Exceptions

  • Hugh Nolan

    No not at all 🙂 , of course not every athlete is doped ….and their is nothing to do in certain parts of Kenya ( Africa) except run …kids at 3/4/5 years old have to walk run to school …therefore if they have a predisposition they are helping it along ….for instance the Kenyan culture respects running where those who do well are glorified …think about how in the 1st world communities about the lack of need to be active …modes of transport etc …how people have basically become lazier …..people prefer to watch then take part ….my point being that becoming an elite athlete is a very complex process that starts young …and besides genetic components athletes are molded by the environment around them …..and the quality of coaching mentor ship etc ..

    • schufosi777

      Did you read the article. Wilson said he lived next to school and walked slowly there. Face it and accept. In most track events Africans or people of African ancestry are better. Just look at all the top lists. That shouldnt stop anybody being the absolute best they possibly can and reaching there full potential if thats their passion.

      • Gin

        Because then whites would have to concede not being superior in every aspect of life on the planet Earth. Their egos are far too fragile for that kind of admittance. Even with evidence staring them in the face they still deflect and deny. Look at the top 100 sprinters in the Olympics in the 100, 200 and 400. How many of them are black? It’s a safe bet to say in the 2016 Olympics the gold medals will go to the ones with African descent.

        • Julia Miller

          White people suck at a lot of things & we know it. Not all white people have a superiority complex

        • Realist

          Whites are best at the things that count.

          • Bibibibibib Blubb

            Nope, Jews top that list then East Asians, and there are other groups like South Asians for which not enough info is out on, they beat whites in Western countries in all those things by a big margin. Selection arguments won’t hold up since in UK for example even Bangladeshi’s who descended from peasants have wiped out GCSE gaps, turned it over in their favour even.

            Whites might only be number 4 really.

            Thats only if the hereditarian position is proven right, which I highly doubt and look forward to laughing at you guys in about 2-3 years time.

          • Realist

            You are talking about IQ only. Yes Ashkenazi Jews and east Asians have on average higher IQ’s than whites. But when it comes to innovation and ambition, Western Civilization can’t be beat.

          • Bibibibibib Blubb

            Thats actually nonsense, Ashkenazi are the most innovative on average. Also East Asia is as ambitious as it gets, even India now has very successful space program. Go take a look at innovation indexes for East Asia eg China, you going to get your feelings hurt.

            Also the actual percent of whites(or any other race for that fact) who invented anything are minute. Nearly no white person invented a damn thing and most of it was only from the past 200 years or so out well over 100k human history, its not even remotely accurate to say
            whites are more creative. Then take Japan for instance, its far more creative as a nation, than most European countries. Only USA can really beat it out overall in technology, music, art etc… and a lot of the music stuff from USA go to African Americans.

            You live in a delusional dream land, just wait until CRISPR gets into public hands. Its already here technically and it will show you how meaningless your little race concept really is.

    • Julia Miller

      Very much so

  • Hugh Nolan

    It’s always easier to throw people into a group without looking at exactly why things happen ….raw materials have to be nurtured ….for instance brother Connolly in Kenya coaching David rudisha ….without connollys know how rudisha would never as good …regardless of his talent …or indeed coach Clyde hart …without harts knowledge and coaching Jeremy wariner would never have been the athlete that he is besides talent …..innate genetic talent is only one slice of the pizza …I reckon even psychological strength is another part and hunger ! ( excuse the pun ) and a desire to train hard …and believe me track athletes / middle distance and distance runners are the hardest training athletes out there …

    • schufosi777

      Nurturing, hunger and desire will get u some of the way but you need the genetics to be the greatest ever to be a WR holder to be a Gold medalist and thats what the article is concentrating on. All the hunger and desire will not take a white man to Olympic Gold in the 100m regardless of who is coaching him.

      • Eric Chan

        Without nurturing, Usain Bolt will just be another guy running 10s and run himself to the ground and retire early with mediocre results.

        All the talent in the world will do you no good if all you don’t apply it in a proper manner.

        Genes give you a potential, but you need an environment to harness that potential.

        There are a ton of athletes with crazy potential being poorly trained and coached resulting in overtraining and burnout and leaving the sport early. You just don’t hear about it

        • schufosi777

          Thats true. You still need the genetic potential though and the best coach in the world cannot give you that.

          • David Ashton

            Also true of musical and mathematical abilities.

          • schufosi777

            Strangely some Asians are brilliant classical musician and a lot of Africans seem to have a natural gift for musical rhythm. I can write beautiful poetry but u would spend a life time teaching me to play an instrument or be anywhere decent at maths. I think while coaching is important people have an inherited ability to acquire certain skills.

          • David Ashton

            Agreed. My experience of children in families and schools.

  • schufosi777

    Sure the Robertson brothers are maximising the potential of their genes. 59.47 is very good have to say. However it will not get you to the top of anything. For that you will need the appropriate genotype.

    • Eric Chan

      Your boy Mo Farah is what, 13s faster in HM? You keep saying BS like he can’t compete, but what I just demonstrated to you is that your defeatist attitude is why athletes don’t succeed.

      Those that stepped on the start line already thinks they lost. The Robertson brothers believed in themselves because they trained with the best for years on end and they know they can compete.

      Sports genes is a bunch of scientist without insight on the “unquantifiable”. If science is so great, where’s the equation for love?

      Science has their place, but to blindly trust science is moronic to say the least

      • schufosi777

        Nothing defeatist about my attitude. Everyone should be out there trying to maximise there full genetic potential. You just never know how far you can go.Leave no rock unturned.

        • schufosi777

          Anyway just look through the record books and top lists and you will see this article is right. Doesnt mean there are exceptions or anomalies as they do occur. They are rare though and becoming even more so.

          • Julia Miller

            Exactly

  • schwartzehonky

    Interesting that 100 years ago when there were very few blacks competing in most sports,whites proclaimed their dominance and attributed it to their genetic physical and physiological superiority.
    But as blacks begin to enter the sports arena and begin to dominate,
    whites steer away from attributing it to blacks’ physical and physiological superiority.Once,whites published articles asserting that blacks lack the intelligence and temperament to compete with whites in the 800 and long distances.Now that blacks dominate these events,whites are silent about blacks mental and temperamental superiority.

    • Barrington Dailey

      White are generally too polite to talk about things like the lower average IQ found amongst people of African descent. Even a dog can run faster than the fastest human.

      I for one am bored to tears watching humans doing what they are worst at – running. Highlighting the achievements of Africans in sports is a way to humour people I guess. I’m more interested in the achievements of Asian/Semitic and European Civilizations.

      • Gin

        I suppose you would be interested in a subject that has nothing to do with black superiority. Not so polite about covering your racism I see. You guys just can’t accept being less at anything can you? Time to switch the goalposts. “Oh, let’s talk about their lack of intelligence…”. Meanwhile, the first thing that goes out the door with white people is their “intelligence” when politics and religion get discusssed…not to mention sprinting and being a step slower than blacks. But whatever helps you sleep thru the night.

        • oldoddjobs

          Proudly asserting black superiority while attempting to shame whites. Typical.

      • Houston

        Why would we talk about white IQ when Asians have the highest?

        • BleedALot

          Maybe because Whites have a wider SD (standard deviation). Maybe that’s why Whites tend to be more inventive or innovative. But stating that will have another group (who takes the achievements of others on many occasions and claims them as their own) accusing you of racism, while they indulge in racial hatred against all others not in their ethnic group, especially whites of European descent.

          • mickus

            (((who?)))

      • Realist

        I absolutely agree. The one thing the human animal is best at is cognition and blacks are not so good at that.

      • Newshunter

        Humans are good endurance runners compared to most animals.

      • Real man
      • Ron

        “…the lower average IQ found amongst people of African descent.”

        There are at least two things wrong with this statement: (1) “IQ” is not a “thing”; it does not exist; it is a fiction created by people with an interest in finding ways to rank people; that’s all it is. And (2) “race” likewise.

        • Cherry_Changas

          Except 1.) no and 2.) hell no.

      • Zoologist

        We are the only terrestrial species in the world that can independently control breathing to the speed we run. There are many theories that suggest we are in fact the BEST species at running long distances (if slow compared to almost all other things). Evolutionarily our endurance is what separated Homo spp. from other apes which eventually led to Homo sapiens being dominant.

    • IBWHITE

      I certainly don’t see what you claim in today’s media! Every sports program on TV can’t speak highly enough about the latest Black sports star and how naturally athletic he is. Posters, sports drinks and athletic equipment are often endorsed by a Black sports hero regardless if he raped or shot someone recently and just mentioning it is considered racist.. Europeans still dominate strength sports and the coveted greatest quarterback slots. You see IQ means a lot even in sports and there is a difference in IQ between the races…a lot of difference.

    • Cherry_Changas

      “blacks mental and temperamental superiority”
      Oi am laffin.

    • Cherry_Changas
    • oldoddjobs

      If whites were to start attributing black success to genetics, you would still scream racism because whites are not appreciating the hard work and dedication. It just goes on and on and on and on.

    • nullcodes

      Not only that, but nobody seems to have noticed that JAPAN came second in the 100m relay. If that was a fluke, then how come CHINA got the silver medal 4x100m in the 2015 world championships? Clearly it’s possible for Asians to perform at the same level as Africans. My guess is all races can if they didn’t just give up because they heard they don’t have the genes for it.

    • terryhallinan

      “Interesting that 100 years ago when there were very few blacks competing
      in most sports,whites proclaimed their dominance and attributed it to
      their genetic physical and physiological superiority.”

      Bullinsky.

      The whitest grouping of people on earth were declared superior in boxing skills, as well as drinking and procreation, only because of their thick skulls and low intelligence that made them good for little else.

      But back then the Green Irish weren’t white like now. They have “advanced” to the point they can lead the the KKK’ers instead of being targets.

      Best, Terry

  • Barrington Dailey

    How many fast runners does an advanced Civilization really need though? People in East Asia tend to have higher IQ – there is no conspiracy by East Asians to keep blacks or whites out of Software and IT.

    The Politically Correct *Dogma* has caused so much animosity amongst people. If you claim we are all “equal” in other words the same – not to be confused with equal rights under the law, then the only explanation for the lack of Asians in 100m or lack of blacks in swimming is racism! discrimination! I for one am sick of these ideologue tools.

    • Daniel Hinds

      I really don’t believe East Asians higher IQ is attributed to genetics as it is to cultural upbringing. The discipline and the standard that is expected by their parents, education system and society on a whole is much more demanding (this is having studied for 5 years in Beijing, traveling to more than 30 cities in China and other surrounding countries)!

      • coldreaver

        Discipline and work ethic are both heritable traits, so writing it off as a societal phenomenon still doesn’t explain how the society got that way. Transracial adoption studies show that East Asians raised outside their native country, absent their East Asian parents, retain their high IQ.

        • Daniel Hinds

          About transracial adoption studies, they don’t make it definite. When you can find the genetic marker which affects IQ, discipline and work ethic, then I’ll have your back on that.

          • Cherry_Changas
          • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

            You’re not very clever around science, are you?

          • Bibibibibib Blubb

            They also seem to leave out evidence from the UK for some reason, wonder why that is? Hmmm. lol.

          • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

            Indeed.

            I have problems when people try to pull a Galton-Jensen move like that.

            IQ is very much a verifiable thing, and – however one tries to determine it – the same sorts of correlations turn up. Yes, it’s largely heritable – much lower heritability in children but, as the person gets older, the heritability coefficient increases. But this is not – as the scientific racists would like to believe – a measure of how much of a person’s intelligence is inherited. Rather, it’s an indirect estimate of the shared variance (when it comes to IQ scores) between parental IQs over a fairly massive group (as a predictor measure) and those parents’ respective children over a fairly massive group (as a criterion measure). This allows us to gauge heritability over large groups, but tells very little about any given individual.

            I fucking hate scientific racism.

          • Bibibibibib Blubb

            The thing that makes me angry most is that they obnoxiously misrepresent reality. The most important one is that the simplistic genetic model their entire argument is based on is being dramatically overturned by actual genetic studies.

            EG; https://t.co/sHbEZAdiM3

          • Cherry_Changas

            Meanwhile, blacks continue being dramatically dumber than whites on a hilarious scale. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5c9bb7d711a45fb25e989293319f5c1939ce0a78698b5ff9384afe8b0e562af6.jpg

          • Bibibibibib Blubb

            Lol. Says here the gap is closing in USA. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0138412

            and much worse for you are the gaps in UK which have largely closed to erased particularly for Sub Saharan Africans. Multiple groups have virtually erased some educational outcomes already… and even turned it to their favour eg: Bangladeshi’s.

            eg: GCSE points scores: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a252a852b2e274acaa1ed13c11cf1f414989fe9986b1905dfec86212df41ca04.jpg

            Also check Chanda Chisala’s work on UK data. Much more details. His link from unz is somewhere in these comments section IIRC.

            Sub Sharan Africa has been improving too.
            eG: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/445570b23828b1b0555ae7adeac09e04c40bfc2c20bc4e3768a0cf30dfab9e50.jpg
            Its WAY better than under colonialism.

            …I can add violent crime rates gaps trend from USA too, but why don’t you go check for yourself the gap trend. Hehe.

            lol. Its so funny how you think everything is settled and proven.

          • Cherry_Changas

            About those “violent crime” rates…
            http://theunsilencedscience.blogspot.com/2012/12/scientists-rediscover-violence-gene.html
            lol. It’s so funny how you keep making excuses for sub-saharan simians.

          • Eskus

            Except nobody among scientific racists believes that heritability is a measure of how much a person’s intelligence is inherited.

            I understand that it’s very easy to dismiss a claim if you pretend that your opponents can’t even google the basic definition of a term, but that’s not very honest.

          • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

            I’ve actually seen people in Finland doing exactly that. I’m talking about both academics and bellends from he far-right parties here. So give me a fucking break with this ‘dishonesty’ bollocks.

          • Eskus

            Let’s say you’re right, does that mean that I can take the loony version of egalitarianism (see “IQ doesn’t exist” from another poster here), point out how stupid it is, and dismiss the whole thing based on that?

            Of course I can’t. When trying to ascertain whether an idea is correct or not you have to take the best version of it possible. And non-egalitarian views about race are based on the idea that it’s not just differences within populations that are heritable but also those that are found between populations.

          • oldoddjobs

            We get it, David. You’re not a racist. God knows where these far-right kkkrazy people come from, but at least we know that you are a unique and compassionate person who checks his beliefs before plunging into evidence which might theoretically hurt the feelings of a surrogate. Luckily the poor dowtrodden folks of the world who are incidentally brown can rely on guardians like us to police each other’s interpretations in case the alarm bells go off in your sensitive head again. One love, bro. One world, yeah?

          • Cherry_Changas

            The Warrior Gene must rustle your jimjams like nothing else.
            http://theunsilencedscience.blogspot.com/2012/12/scientists-rediscover-violence-gene.html

          • David Ashton

            Your “fucking hate scientific racism” says it all.

            Do you think that all humans the word over are identical in intelligence, that there have been no selective forces for intelligence in hominid history, and that the brain alone is exempt from demonstrable gene-influenced differences in population-groups?

          • Cherry_Changas

            You’re really good at pretending pithy one-liners rebut hard data, aren’t you?

          • Daniel Hinds

            You really don’t get it. None of these experiments test which part of the genetic make-up of that particular race, is linked to intelligence. That’s why it’s not easy to just say its heritable. The results might show a clear fact that Asians or Whites score much higher on IQ tests, but it doesn’t link it to genetic or hereditary influence, unless physiological test would be made to show that linkage.

          • terryhallinan

            One “small” problem with your thesis is that “white” and “Asian” are racist categorizations of humanity.

            Even those who devised a prototype categorization of humanity, a breakthrough scientific advance for the time, included large sections of Asia and Africa as the origin of caucasians but today’s racists equate caucasian with white and European.

            “The Caucasian race (also Caucasoid[1] or Europid[2]) is a grouping of human beings historically regarded as a biological taxon, including some or all of the populations of Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia, Central Asia and South Asia.[3] The term has been used in biological anthropology for many people from these regions, without regard necessarily to skin tone.[4]”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caucasian_race

            Best, Terry

          • Ken

            Wikipedia is not considered a legitimate source for research. Please provide a primary source, not secondar or worse a 4th or 5th.

          • Cherry_Changas
          • terryhallinan

            Geniuses have more children of subnormal intelligence than normal people.

            And how would it be otherwise? Both genius and idiocy are far beyond normal.

            https://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org/professional/savant-syndrome/resources/articles/savant-syndrome-2013-myths-and-realities/

            Best, Terry

          • Lindum

            Now I know you are making it up.

            The link you give is about autism.

            NB There is a link between high mathematical ability and having autistic children, but there isn’t a link between high intelligence in general and having children of low intelligence.

    • Ron

      “People in East Asia tend to have higher IQ.” That’s only true if you believe in IQ, which some of us (anthropologists) do not.

      • Hans-Ragnar Skogli

        Im in (social) medicine and education proves to be the best predictor of “success”. At least when success is defined bu academics… However, I believe “intelligence” could be a more precise marker. As of now, IQ is the proxy for whatever intelligence is that proves an association that is actually worth looking at. However, it seems to me at least, that we are missing something when looking at education level or IQ. Can you please elaborate on how anthropologists define intelligence, life success or how its measured. A big topic, I know, but some references are also welcome if you dont have the time.

      • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

        I’ve noticed that anthropologists are prepared to accept shit-quality evidence … like two teenage girls’ lies in Samoa!

        Are anthropologists REALLY the arbiters on whether IQ exists or not?

        Fuck, no.

        Get your head out of your arse and listen to these:
        https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/intelligence-born-smart-born/id868793083?mt=2

      • oldoddjobs

        I’d rather listen to a geneticist, but keep your cool stories coming.

    • terryhallinan

      IQ is a measure of the ability to do well on IQ tests.

      It is in no way a measure of intelligence.

      Best, Terry

      • nullcodes

        According to the dictionary .. intelligence is the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills. Let me put it bluntly, if you have problems recalling facts and applying analytical logic .. you aren’t intelligent. IQ isn’t supposed to measure creativity is it? An intelligent person would know how to do well on IQ tests. I mean some of the questions are mathematics .. which is like if you have 10 carrots and someone took away 5 of them .. how many would you have? Your claim is that an intelligent person won’t be able to analyze the problem, know what I am asking, and tell the answer? At some point you are going to have to accept what intelligence is, and the fact that it can be measured. If you sit in a math, science, or history class that presents facts and you can’t remember them or apply what you are being told .. then you aren’t intelligent. Sorry. Maybe you are creative? I dunno.

        • terryhallinan

          “At some point you are going to have to accept what intelligence is”

          OK, what is it?

          There have been interesting tests for creativity and then matches of those scoring high for creativity but low for IQ against the high IQ stiffs with a minimum of creativity that prove whatever the analyst wants to prove.

          Let me give you a real life example of a common conundrum:

          Everyone knows dogs score high on IQ tests and cats do worse than guppies. The cats’ forgetfulness is even worse than Albert Einstein’s was.

          And yet cats easily survive in the wild as feral animals and found a wild niche in New Zealand.

          Only the Pariah dogs of South Asia have managed such a feat but can survive only in tropical regions,

          So which are the smartest: the high IQ dogs or the abominably low IQ cats?

          Even more basic – how can IQ be raised by training if it it is an innate ability?

          Thank you for thinking about it.

          Best, Terry

          • nullcodes

            Nice little “feel good about yourself” dig at Einstein there. Lots of myths floating around about Einstein about him being bad at math etc. you probably buy into those too? You can’t be bothered to check the truth? A lot of people try to use Einstein mainly by cherry picking or outright making up stuff to advance their personal agendas and beliefs (often tied to self esteem improvement). Einstein was really good at math, yet there is a persistent myth that he was really bad in math and even science. As for him being forgetful, that one is rather silly. He complained that he couldn’t remember all the advanced scientific papers he read easily therefore he must be worse at memory than a regular guy? He had to discuss some advanced tensor calculus with others in order to complete his theory of General Relativity therefore he is just as bad at math as somebody who can’t handle the basics of algebra? It’s like saying Einstein was really bad at languages because he only knew 4 and did “badly” in a French exam that he was 1 1/2 years too young for. Also nevermind he only got to study French for a year and a half while doing lots of other things and the exam was geared towards people who had studied French for 6 years. Here read some facts about Einstein http://www.albert-einstein.org/article_handicap.html
            Einstein had innate intelligence and he coupled that with being hardworking and having a curiosity. I mean a lot of people have curiosity. Others may be hard working .. But how many people become like Einstein? Not many.

            As for your cat versus dog thing. Obviously, the cat can survive better than the dog in that environment because it has claws, is smaller, and has superior night vision. That’s not intelligence! Human’s can’t survive in an aquarium, it doesn’t mean the gold fish is smarter!

            IQ can be raised by training a number of ways. First, practicing intellectual stuff creates neural connections. This is similar to how exercise works. Intelligence is a combination of many factors including genetics. Some people have increased intelligence and analytical ability. It doesn’t mean they use it.

          • terryhallinan

            “Nice little “feel good about yourself” dig at Einstein there. Lots of myths floating around about Einstein about him being bad at math etc.
            you probably buy into those too?”

            And so Einstein himself was a blinkered liar you think or an unlevered fool to think anybody would believe his own autobiography?

            I found Einstein’s “semi-biographical” [as described in various biographies] “Epitaph” in a dark corner of our local library covered in a deep layer of dust. I had to cut the pages to read it.

            He told of being thrown out of elementary school even as he had been making plans to escape.

            He fulminated as always against formal education and math in particular. He wanted to know how things worked, not some idiot proof 2 followed 1.

            In one delightful passage, Einstein said he regretted cheating to get his university degrees but given the freedom it allowed him for other pursuits, he gladly bore that cross.

            The wonderful writing of Temple Grandin, herself another wondrous autistic professor, explains much but even includes a renaissance dylexic da Vinci in her catalog of “visual learners.”

            I know I just wasted my time with you, Null, but maybe some care about truth.

            Best, Terry

          • nullcodes

            If he didn’t like mathematics why do his books and publications contain so much math? Have you read his paper on General Relativity ? Here .. have at it http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu/vol6-trans/129?ajax

            OK, I have provided proof that he knew calculus and math. In fact he even admits to writing proofs in that paper LOL .. But anyway, where is there autobiography in which admits he cheating to get his degrees? He obviously learned math somehow, formally or informally … he knew mathematics and understood it. Mathematics is essential for making everything in the modern world.

          • terryhallinan

            “If [Einstein] didn’t like mathematics why do his books and publications contain so much math?”

            LOL! However did you pass kindergarten? Or did you?

            Let me tell you as gently as I am able:

            – There are many things you must do in life that are disagreeable.

            The pursuit of physics requires a deep knowledge of mathematics.

            It doesn’t even require formal schooling. Stanford Ovshinsky, who made huge contribtions to physics had no formal schooling in the science. But he had to learn math.:

            https://www.google.com/search?q=Stanford+ovshinsky&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

            I am frankly surprised at all the disinformation on the internet, along with the common idiocy of converting autism to Asperger’s.

            But looky here:

            Boy genius diagnosed with autism has IQ higher than Einstein

            http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/autistic-boy-genius-iq-higher-einstein-article-1.1340923

            Well the story that has echoes of Einstein’s infancy and very early years that are not remotely like Asperger’s is from a tabloid and nobody should believe such trash

            Except –

            It’s all true looks like.

            https://www.google.com/search?q=Jacob+Barnett&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

            I am leaving you and your playground to you kiddies. Life is too short for your games.

            Best, Terry

          • Lindum

            Einstein was a very gifted mathematician. At the age of 16 (3 years younger than most) he passed the university entrance exams in both maths and physics.

            You may note also that he did a lot of physics in his life – physics is largely applied sums and measuring stuff.

          • David Ashton

            Einstein’s innate ability was more important than training at school.

          • Lindum

            You mean the same Albert Einstein who got the highest marks in maths when he applied for university a couple of years younger than normal but failed the first time because of his German? Was he (allegedly) forgetful aged 17 or aged 71?

      • David Ashton

        Reconsider “no” way.

      • Lindum

        I suggest you do some more reading on the subject.

  • Bonedagger

    Black thrashes white on land events. We know this…though this is a solid, common-sense article and needed saying again.

    Any thoughts about what accounts for *ahem* white supremacy (sorry folks, but I just couldn’t resist) in swimming events? I have read a theory that Caucasians may have been descended from closely-related but different apes to Africans, perhaps more attuned to aquatic activity. I know we’ll never truly know, but interested to see some informed opions.

    • Craig Martin

      I swim like a dog.

      • Bonedagger

        You go after a wet stick?

        • Craig Martin

          There’s not much else to chase

          • Bonedagger

            Ducks?

          • Craig Martin

            WHERE!

            Arf! Woof!

    • schufosi777

      Something to do with muscle mass and body density and buoyancy? No. When u can run so well like its something u were born to do why would u bother swimming. Its so unnatural.

      • Bonedagger

        Sorry, but that’s an unfathomable answer and clearly nonsense. I competed in athletics and swimming as a youth and had medals for both, in local events where there were almost no black competitors, but had I stuck at the 100 metres and such and competed nationally I would never have beaten the best black athletes on land. I know that and accept it.

        To state that there are no black gold medallists in Olympic swimming events is because the best swimmers would also excel on land and choose the latter over the former is a little comical. Are you saying that the best black land athletes must also be champion swimmers but don’t want to compete?

        Your statement also negates excellence in multi-disciplinary events like the decathlon. When I was growing up, Daley Thompson was our UK decathlon champ. He won medals due to the event’s weighting toward track and field events, in which he was a fine all-rounder. He got thrashed in the pool all the time. Just one example, but I’m sure there are plenty more.

        • RockStar

          I guess Simone Manual put an end to that theory. Not to take anything away from swimming sports but there is an accessibility factor that plays into why whites excel in those sports. People also thought that whites excelled in gymnastics more and based that theory on the notion that people of African descent had heavier skeletal systems but the top female gymnasts have been black women for the past 8 years. Just a matter of time before black people dominate swimming sports also. With each Olympics a new generation of aspiring athletes are being inspired.

          • Bonedagger

            Sp: Simone Manuel. Well, that’s a fine example – and I thank you for the debate – and yes, it was just a theory of someone else’s that I was exploring. If more female swimmers come along and clear the board, then perhaps the basis of that theory is indeed moot, but one example will not do that alone.

            I’m not sure your examples regarding only Simone or the gold-medallist gymnasts have a rebuttal of the land/water deal FULLY covered as yet, but we shall see. However, the notion of accessibility (to swimming pools or even rivers or the sea) is obviously utter nonsense. If you don’t believe it is, I’d genuinely like to hear how you think this inaccessibility has taken form.

            Also, by your logic does it not mean that Slavic men dominate in weightlifting and “Strongest Men” type competitions because black men have been denied access to heavy things to pull and lift?

          • Schwartzehonky Peckerwood

            The last time a non black was in the Olympic men’s 100 final was 1980 and that was a boycotted Olympics.Whites just don’t have the athletic necessities to compete with blacks.In Rio there were 13 gold medals awarded in men’s track from 100,marathon to relays,blacks won all 13.Japan and China have broken the 38 sec barrier in men’s 400 relay,no all white team has.

  • Dean Saunders

    I love this article! Simple facts giving direct answers to complex questions made even more complex by people pushing their own agendas

  • leon bird

    European Jews Have the highest average IQ, but there are Africans who individually and in families that exceed the average European Jew by 2 standard deviations.I am dyslexic and would suck as an accountant but I can do very well in abstract reasoning and the biologic sciences. It does not make me better or worse just different. Celebrate and be glad because of the advantages each population has.

    • David Ashton

      I taught in different British secondary schools for nearly 30 years, mostly whites but later many south Asians and blacks from the Caribbean or Africa. The cleverest pupil of all that I ever taught was a black girl, who is now a senior civil servant in the UK. But generally Jamaicans were not particularly clever, especially the boys, notably in comparison with whites and Indians.

      However, there are questions about representative sampling.

  • David Ashton

    This is a re-edited version of my intended reply to an anti-Jewish post. The use of ((())) to indicate “Jew” or “Jewish” is getting tedious – it has been used to label me several times, for example, on Kevin MacDonald’s “Occidental Observer” site, even though I have no Jewish ancestry or affiliation.

    The post seemed to refer to Jewish promoters of sport, which has been notable in the case of boxing and the reference here was probably to the money made from betting. Of course, Jews are quite good at other activities as MacDonald’s old colleague Richard Lynn showed in his study “The Chosen People”.

    • stewball

      Poor David. What an insult being called Jewish.

      • David Ashton

        The TOO website is fully of crazy stuff. The “Moderator” lets it through, and suppresses the replies from people like myself.

        I am not Jewish or Chinese or anything other than an English person of Christian parentage, although I am not now religious. The people who attacked me not only got it wrong, but it is they who considered it an abusive label. I was described falsely as a “Hasbara Troll”, an (((English Bitch))), mentally deficient, and much else.

        I am surprised that Lynn remains on the TOQ editorial advisory board after his massive study of Jewish achievement.

        My political quarrel is with all those Jews – AND others – who support massive non-white immigration into Britain and other countries. MacDonald has made quite reasonable remarks in the past about this.

        People who get the anti-Jew “bug” often go eventually off the rails, e.g. Revilo Oliver and Jane Birdwood.

        I maintain an independent position, without fear or favor, but am ready to change my views if they are refuted by factual evidence or reasoned argument.

        See my comment at the end of this thread.

        • stewball

          Were you insulted? There’s worse things that you could have been called.
          How are you feeling. I worry about you.
          My back is still a mess. I’ll be 72 tomorrow!!!!!

          • David Ashton

            There was a whole torrent of various unpleasant insults of which (((English Bitch))) was just one. I am not “offended” so much as annoyed at being deprived of any right of reply.

            My arthritis slows my walking in hot weather, but all my recent blood tests are OK.

            Yom Huledet Sameach!

          • stewball

            Thank you David.
            Look after yourself.

  • stevesailer

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ability to outrun those who are after you and out to do you harm were an important life skill. But whether sprinting ability or distance running ability is best for survival depends upon how long pursuers’ sightlines extend in your home terrain.

    In 1982 I was headed into the Century Mall in Chicago when a black teen rushed out, followed by two twenty-something Hispanic security guards in close pursuit. I watched them head up Clark Street with the teen in sneakers pulling away from the guards in shiny black leather shoes. The shoplifter then turned left at the first corner. It occurred to me that was an important life decision he had just made: if it was a dead end he was in big trouble. But if it were a thru street then he just needed to make a series of seemingly random turns until he had lost his pursuers.

    Perhaps in forested terrain sprinting is selected for because the pursued individual can get lost faster, while in open grassland, endurance running is the best way to get away.

    • Bibibibibib Blubb

      But this is Wayde van Niekerk.

  • Bibibibibib Blubb

    “world record was broken just yesterday by South African Wayde van Niekerk, who became the first ever athlete to have run the 100m under 10 seconds, the 200m under 20 seconds, and 400m under 44 seconds.”

    Why didn’t you put a picture of Wayde van Niekerk in? I think people need to know what he looks like.

  • VUN

    Everyone runs in Jamaica, they will do anything to find new stars. People in Jamaica don’t have a lot of choices. If you want to be a star, you run sprints.

    People in more wealthy countries have a lot of choices, they don’t see running that important (its more of an oddity for most people) and they definitely don’t see running as the only way to wealth or stardom. Actually in most countries running sprints is very rare, they only see it in Olympics.

    For example I don’t know anyone who has been training for sprinting. We did not have a program for supporting runners at school. Coolest kids did not go on training track and field. Actually track and field was seen as dorky; only teacher’s pets trained track and field. If I would have been raised in Jamaica things would have been different. I would not be a great sprinter, but I certainly would know a lot of people who run sprints and probably had tried it myself.

    You write that Kipketer, a legendary runner, was not a good football player (and I mean real football, not American handball. Sorry) because of genetics of his people. That is childish argument. Do Spanish people or Germans have “football gene”? They dominate the sport which is the most popular sport in the world and where every country tries to compete (except USA because they are not good at it and they have their handball).
    There are many reasons why one is not good at football: coaching, determination, motivation and yes, even genetics. If you write it off only as genetics, you just want to end the discussion and want to give an oversimplified answer because you don’t know the real answer.

    I am not saying that Bolt does not have great genetics for sprinting, he clearly has. But it’s because he is Bolt, not necessarily because he is Jamaican or because he is black. On top of that he has had the Jamaican running culture nurturing him. And he has done exceptional amount of hard work. He has to have an exceptional mind for Sprinting too.

    But I am saying that sprinting is not something that is widely practised in most of the countries. Many countries only have a handful of sprinters, because no one practises it. And why would you go running sprints when you can play with your friends or go jogging, studying, creating art, starting businesses or practising some cool and fun sport? Most of the people are not encouraged to do comperitive sports.
    You need to have a culture supporting sprinting and you need to have a promise of stardom. If the only way out of poverty is sprinting, then you sprint and you sprint some more.

    It’s great that we have people like Bolt. It’s awesome that people can run so fast. We don’t really need to run that fast, but it’s a great show.
    People who use Bolt as an example of black superiority are as dumb as people who for example use chess players, weightlifters, swimmers, scientist etc. as a sign of superiority of white people.

    You cannot take one or a couple of people and generalize it to whole race (some say that there are no different races at all, but that’sanother discussion). There are Europeans who are closer to Bolt in physical ability than many of the Jamaicans. It’s always the individual, always. It’s a match of genetics, culture and health, and genetics are probably not even the biggest factor here.
    Just as a side note: is it so that people of India (approx. 1.25 billion) don’t have genetics for sports, any of them? They have just a handful of Olympic medals. Or could it be that they just don’t train sports?

    Also we need to remember that all high level athletes are exceptional, they are not normal people. Their lives are so different from the rest of us that we have really hard time to even to start to understand that. You cannot generalise the achievements of a couple of larger than life people to represent a whole race or continent or a country.

  • Bibibibibib Blubb

    Both a white and an East Asian have now broken the 10 second barrier. In 2011 and 2015.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christophe_Lemaitre

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Su_Bingtian

    and now Wayde Van Niekerk who really isn’t a black man.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayde_van_Niekerk

    ….. Just saying.

    • Cherry_Changas

      Yeah that guy’s definitely white as pure driven snow.

  • This piece makes a lot of valid points but veers close to committing a classic reasoning fallacy – explained here:

    Nature, Nurture, and the Height of Racism
    Or why biological differences between difference “races” are not necessarily anything to do with “race”

    http://corkscrewoflife.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/nature-nurture-and-height-of-racism.html

  • Klaus Ammann

    There is a lot of writing about race in the article and comments, but an extensive meta study of Ma demonstrates with convincing statistical material, that it is genetic polymorphism which is the basis of extraordinary athletic performance, see Fang Ma,, Yang, Y., Li, X., Zhou, F., Gao, C., Li, M., & Gao, L. (2013). The Association of Sport Performance with ACE and ACTN3 Genetic Polymorphisms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One, 8(1), pp. e54685. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0054685 AND http://www.ask-force.org/web/Genomics/Ma-Association-Sport-Performance-ACE-ACTN3-Polymorphisms-2013.PDF

  • RJ Harper

    “There is no evidence of slave breeding”…
    Hmm. I liked parts of this article until I got this incorrect fact.

  • terryhallinan

    test

  • terryhallinan

    Just think how much better Jesse Owens might have done against the German supermen if he hadn’t turned out to be a caucasian. 🙂

    [In case some hermit doesn’t know about scientific articles claiming Jesse had an unfair advantage over the Nazis’ finest aryans in the 1936 Olympics because of his negroid foot being refuted by actual examination of Jesse’s feet that turned out to be exemplary exhibits of the caucasoid foot, my sympathy.]

    This article would be far more acceptable if racist terms like “white” were avoided. There is no legitimate race based solely on pigmentation.

    Best, Terry