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Olympics

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I have been pointing out since 2000 that India has been terrible at winning Olympic medals, and this seems to have been the first year that that idea has penetrated the general media consciousness. On the other hand, India is improving, from one medal per Olympics to a half dozen this year. In contrast, Finland, a... Read More
From my new column in Taki's Magazine:Read the whole thing there. My old articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
Here's the kind of statistic that nobody else counts: on NBC's list of 208 American Olympic medal winners, I find five Spanish surnames, or 2.4%. That's compared to approaching 20% of the relevant age cohort is Spanish-surnamed.1. Leo Manzano won the silver in the men's 1500m run, which is traditionally a glamor event2. Women's water polo... Read More
It's especially amazing that the American women's soccer team triumphed in its semifinal and final games over two countries with such long histories of soccer excellence, places where kids are dribbling soccer balls all over the favela from the time they can walk: Canada and Japan. The problem is that there's nobody left for our women... Read More
The Chinese public has recently begun to question its government's and media's emphasis on winning Olympic gold medals while ignoring or castigating silver and bronze medalists. Indeed, there's something bullying about the Go Gold or Go Home attitude. So, I've sorted the medal charts by percentage of non-gold medals won as one clue to which countries... Read More
Anecdata time:About 20 years ago, corporate America started experimenting with video-conferencing to cut down on its huge bills for travel. Face to face contact builds more camaraderie than phone contact, so why not have workers in remote offices communicate face to face via telescreen?The problem was that, 20 years ago, the people we were used to seeing... Read More
Q. What’s the oddest thing about Jamaican 100 meter sprinter Usain Bolt?A. Although Bolt epitomizes West African-descended sprinting talent, he has the face of an East African distance runner. (Here’s a picture of Bolt with his more conventional-looking Jamaican rival Yohan Blake.) Nobody seems to know why Bolt looks like an immense Kenyan.Q. How much... Read More
My new Taki's Magazine column consists of the answers to a bunch of made-up questions I asked myself about the Olympics.Read the whole thing there.By the way, Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard has been just about the only journalist interested in researching the pre-history
From the New York Times:The women’s soccer team does not, or at least it has not as often over the past few years. An Olympic team of veterans — only one player was not on the World Cup roster — the Americans are neither new blood nor the types who routinely bloody, and yet they... Read More
Economist Tyler Cowen has an article in Grantland predicting long-run trends in Summer Olympic medals totals based on population growth rates, age, and income. Cowen explains:"If athletic ability is roughly equally distributed around the globe" then Tyler must be watching different Olympics than I have been watching since the 1960s. (Here's my summary of the... Read More
India is off to a relatively good start in the 2012 summer Olympics, with a single bronze medal so far. Granted, the other giga-country, China, has 34 total medals. But that one bronze puts India roughly on pace to come close to its total of 3 medals in 2008 and beat its totals of one... Read More
Back in 2005, Michael Blowhard offered the best explanation I've heard in response to the perpetual heterosexual male question about why fashion models look like fashion models (i.e., tall, bony) rather than like strippers. All those 5'10" 120 pound Slovakians in the ads in women's magazines appeal to female readers' fantasies about being more gravity... Read More
Here's a 2010 study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine making the same point about a wide array of Olympic events that I made about track in my 1997 National Review article:Sex is a major factor influencing best performances and world records. Here the evolution of the difference between men and women's best performances... Read More
Back in the 1990s, I frequently read that women athletes were Closing the Gap with men; if trends continued, in the 21st Century Olympics, women would be just as fast as men. So, I did a big quantitative study on the size of the gender gap in track in all Olympics for a 1997 article... Read More
Nate Silver, a baseball statistics analyst turned electoral analyst, has an article in the NYT Magazine entitled "Let's Play Medalball."The underlying problem with Silver's suggestions is a lack of cynicism. Anybody familiar with Olympic history would realize that lots of countries have tried to maximize medals over the years, often with much success.The most obvious... Read More
From the L.A. Times:And so forth and so on.Americans aren't very censorious about sex anymore, so what we get titillated and censorious about now is talking about race. But, that keeps us from actually thinking much about race. Nobody has much investigated the Snyder-Johnson hypothesis.How much evidence is there for genetic selection of blacks in... Read More
Track and field is interesting because its demands are simple enough that human biodiversity stands out pretty clearly. But after awhile it gets kind of dull because the same old same old demographic patterns keep showing up. (Here's my VDARE article on human biodiversity in track up through the closse of the 2008 Olympics.)Hence, it's... Read More
Commenters ask why I haven't had anything to say about the U.S. gold medal in men's basketball. I haven't had anything new to say because I said it all in my American Conservative article right after the 2004 Athens Olympics:Perhaps the most important event of the [2004] Olympics will turn out to be the failure... Read More
Before everybody gets completely bored with track again for the next 3 years and 11.5 months, I'm putting out in public my Excel spreadsheet [LINK FIXED] listing the 200 fastest times ever for the ten main lengths with the race of each runner denoted. This database provided the basis for the graphs in last night's... Read More
It's conventional to complain about the ethnocentrism of American television coverage of the Olympics, but northeast Asian countries are much more monomaniacal about focusing on their own nationals. Japanese television, for example, devoted hours of coverage to Japanese athletes washing out in the preliminary rounds of obscure events. My man in Japan writes:My published articles... Read More
On VDARE.com tonight, I discuss the implications of the track and field results, including graphs of brand new data, up through yesterday's marathon, on the racial make-up of the top performances ever in each running event.My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
Why did Jamaicans, led by triple world record-setter Usain "Lightning"Bolt, dominate the 100 and 200 meter sprints in the 2008 Olympics? This question can be answered at two very different levels: the superficial and the fundamental. The former, the horserace type of question—i.e., Why did the Jamaicans surge ahead of the Americans between 2004 and... Read More
I don't see why Americans don't give the women-only sport of rhythmic gymnastics any respect. It looks like an excellent way to keep your daughter off the pole, a classy way for show-offy pretty girls to dance for the admiration of the crowd.Wilt Chamberlain suggested a couple of decades ago that rather than try to... Read More
Gina Kolata writes in the NYT:Men, Women and Speed. 2 Words: Got TestosteroneBEIJING — No matter what happens in the men’s marathon here Sunday, one thing is all but certain. The winner will run the 26.2-mile course faster than the winner of the women’s marathon last Sunday. The woman who won, Constantina Tomescu of Romania,... Read More
The International Olympic Committee today announced that the Modern Pentathlon -- an Olympic event that tests five skills a young officer would have needed to succeed as a courier during the Napoleonic Wars: fencing, shooting, swimming, horseback riding, and running -- will be replaced at the 2012 London Summer Games by the Postmodern Pentathlon, which... Read More
One contributor to the unwieldy giganticism of the Olympics is the perceived need to hold a women's event for every men's event, no matter how unpopular the sport is with women, or, in many cases, with both sexes. For example, modern pentathalon (in which you pretend to be a courier during the Napoleonic Wars and... Read More
For years, I've been idly wondering what happened to all the tall white Americans, the kind who used to play basketball. There are lots of tall white Europeans doing well in the NBA these days, such as Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol, but few white Americans at the All Star Game level. Granted, there are... Read More
From 1960-1984, Japan was a solid medal producer at the Olympics, but from 1988-2000 its athletes tended to crumble under the incredible pressure exerted by the Japanese media to win one for the nation. A friend who lives in Japan wrote before the 2004 Olympics:In 2004, Japan bounced back, increasing its total medal haul from... Read More
Over the last seven Olympics, from 1984 through 2008, the 56 men's 100m finalists have all been of West African descent. The 56 have consisted of 17 African-Americans, 17 black West Indians, 8 West Africans (all from former British colonies, including one Nigerian running for Portugal), 7 black Britons, 6 black Canadians (1 a Haitian... Read More
I posted this in August 2004:My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
Simon Barnes of the London Times on men's synchronized pairs diving: My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer
Here's my favorite Olympic sprinting picture: Barcelona in 1992, the 4x100 meter relay, Carl Lewis followed by the Nigerian anchorman and the little Cuban anchorman who looked like Super Mario, all celebrating their medals after they crossed the finish line, not 30 meters before it as Jamaican Usain Bolt did tonight. With the race barely... Read More
One interesting development I've noticed is the growing prominence of whites representing black countries, most notably swimmer Kirsty Coventry, who represents Zimbabwe (she's lived in America since college, although she retains a slight Rhodesian accent -- she pronounces her American college Auburn as OW-burn). She's won seven of Zimbabwe's eight medals in history. Last night... Read More
The Olympics are always a festival of human biodiversity, with each sport having its ideal body-type. The Chinese Olympic team flagbearer Yao Ming, the enormously tall Houston Rockets center who memorably led the Chinese in during the Opening Ceremonies next to the tiny hero boy who rescued two classmates buried in the recent earthquake, is... Read More
As I've often mentioned, the most remarkable streak in sports is in the Olympic men's 100 meter dash. The 100m competition typically starts off with about 80 entrants from around the world. After the first round, the top 40 move on to the quarterfinals, then 16 to the semifinals, and ultimately 8 to the finals.Over... Read More
My favorite part of David Wallechinsky's quadrennially indispensable The Complete Book of the Olympics are the discontinued sports and events, such as Motor Boating (1908 London games), Tug of War (1900-1920), Croquet (1900 Paris) and Jeu de Paume (or real tennis, which was won in Paris in 1900 by robber barron Jay Gould's son Jay... Read More
When I was a kid, you heard more about the Tarahumara Indian runners of Copper Canyon in Mexico than you heard about the Kalenjin of Kenya. The Tarahumara were supposed to be the great runners of the world, able to run a hundred miles without stopping. But Tarahumara runners have only competed once in the... Read More
A half dozen or so years ago, during the debate over which city should host the 2008 Olympics, I was against China getting it, for all the reasons being bandied about today -- lack of free speech, lack of democracy, oppression of Tibet, and air pollution. If the Chinese government wanted the Olympics so much,... Read More
With the Summer Olympics starting a month from now in Athens, it might be fun to look at some of the more enduring patterns in this global pageant of nationalism and human biodiversity. For the casual fan who can't remember the names of individual athletes, it's alwaysenjoyable to check in to see if old trends... Read More
Why were the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah a triumph of efficiency, while the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics were plagued by snafus? Here's just a part of Olympics spectator Ronald DuPont Jr.'s hilarious account of his experience in Atlanta: “On my first night at the [1996 Atlanta] Olympics, the bus driver taking me and about... Read More
The Olympics are the world's festival of human biodiversity. And the medallists in Sydney largely followed established racial patterns. In men's track, the most universally-contested, most equal opportunity sport in the world, East Africans dominated the distance races. From 800 meters through the marathon, highlanders from the adjoining countries of Kenya and Ethiopia won 12... Read More
Natalie Angier recently wrote a major article in The New York Timesproving that the races don't really differ genetically. Although watching the Olympic track & field competition is guaranteed to shake your faith in Ms. Angier, just repeat to yourself, "Who am I going to believe: The Newspaper of Record or my lying eyes?" So,... Read More
The nation-state may be "finished" (R. Bartley, Editor, Wall Street Journal). But you sure wouldn't know watching the Olympics. In Sydney, old-fashioned nationalism reigns. The collapse of the transnational communism has allowed the modern Olympics to getback to its original purpose: Like the Daily Beast newspaper in Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, the games once again stand... Read More
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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