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Annals of Noticing: Videos of the Last 8 Olympic 100 Meter Dash Finals Show 64 Out of 64 Finalists Were Black
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The most striking statistic in human biodiversity studies was, to the best of my knowledge, first pointed out by Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot in an article in the spring of 1992. He noted that in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, all eight finalists each time in the men’s 100 meter sprints were black. When you considered that people of substantial sub-Saharan descent only make up a modest fraction of the world’s population, then 16 out of 16 was extraordinary.

Typically, over 64 sprinters enter the Olympic 100m dash, from a huge range of countries around the world. To make it to the finals, you have to survive the octofinals, quarterfinals, and semifinals. So just making the Olympic finals is a major career accomplishment.

Astonishingly, however, the same thing has happened six more Olympics in a row since Burfoot’s observation, for a running total of 64 blacks out of the last 64 finalists.

You can see this stat for yourself in motion: for the record, here are videos of the last eight Olympics’ mens’ 100 meter finals.

1984 Olympics, Los Angeles

1988 Olympics, Seoul

1992 Olympics, Barcelona

1996 Olympics, Atlanta (only 7 men actually finished the 1996 final because 1992 gold medalist Linford Christie was disqualified for false starting).

2000 Olympics, Sydney

2004 Olympics, Athens

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F14EaVEDyUs

2008 Olympics, Beijing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O7K-8G2nwU

2012 Olympics, London

[I don’t know why the 2008 and 2012 videos didn’t embed and instead just show up as clickable links.]

This statistic is so unbelievably extreme that it must have multiple causes. Innate racial genetic differences in sprinting speed along don’t seem adequate.

This amazing racial disparity wasn’t always so clear. For example, here is video of the 1960 Olympics final (there were only six finalists back then), in which the 3 white guys in the field swept the medals:

(By the way, the American 1960 silver medalist Dave Sime is the grandfather of Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who is averaging 111 yards rushing per game so far this season. Christian’s father Ed McCaffrey was a Pro Bowl receiver in the NFL.)

One interesting theory that has been put forward by a commenter (unfortunately, I have forgotten his monicker) is that perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?

I don’t know how to test that theory, but it doesn’t sound implausible, either. This hypothesized interaction effect of nature and nurture might help explain why sports has become so much more segregated by position than anybody in, say, 1970 expected.

 
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  1. http://www.runnersworld.com/olympics/beijing-notebook-white-guys-still-cant-run?nopaging=1
    Beijing Notebook: White Guys Still Can’t Run
    Tuesday, August 12, 2008, 6:41 am
    by Amby Burfoot

  2. Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    If there actually exists a general factor of athletic ability, sprinting loads high on it. But is there such a factor? It seems to me that understanding the structure of athletic ability might help us understand that of intellectual ability. One can't assume there is a g factor for every conventional domain showing a positive manifold. More likely than not there isn't a g factor causally interpretable for athletics. (Rather, most sports simply demand running - to various degrees.) If it can be made to look as though there's an athletic g factor when we can't explain it, we should worry about whether the intellectual g factor is also illusory.
    , @Steve Sailer
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    In other countries, what Americans call "track & field" is called "athletics."

    But my impression is that Americans don't really think of track & field as being the definition of athleticism anymore. It's too cut and dried, pre-planned. Americans tend to associate "athleticism" with basketball and playing defense on football. That puts a high premium on reacting quickly, the ability to move your feet not necessarily in a straight line forward.

    There's a high correlation between sprinting speed and what an NFL cornerback or NBA guard defender does, but it's not 1.0.

    Sometimes, for example, you see running backs who are very fast in a straight line but aren't that shifty. Herschel Walker, for example, was unbelievably fast going forward for his size, but he wasn't particularly elusive like Barry Sanders was.
    , @jon
    Seems true for the Big 3 in the US, but not so much for all sports. I don't think there can be a g-factor in sports when, for example, triathlon and the 100 meter are both considered sports.
    , @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    I was actually being somewhat facetious/oversimplifying a bit when I wrote this. I think in the "Sports Gene" by Dave Epstein, he notes that over the past century, body types have been getting more specialized to their sport. Basketball players are getting taller; gymnasts younger, shorter, and more lithe. This would seem to be a strike against "the general factor athletic ability".

    In fact, in the track & field running events, competitors who compete well in shorter distances never do well in the long distances, and vice versa. Epstein attributes this partly to the ACTN3 gene, the non-mutated version of which is strongly associated with sprinting events in most populations.

    What's strange to me though is this: the non-mutated version is also predominant in East Africans, who dominate long distances. It's not until one leaves Sub-Saharan African that the mutated version suddenly becomes strongly associated with endurance running...

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986906

    , @Threecranes
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    Hogwash.

    Tell that to the wrestlers, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts, weight lifters, volleyball players, baseball players, high jumpers, cyclists….well you get the message (or more likely, you don't and won't as you won't admit any evidence that counters your "black men are superior athletes bias").
    , @Erik Sieven
    I would rather say it is amateur wrestling.
    , @Twinkie

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    No.

    Sprinting displays "explosiveness," which is a very useful athletic trait, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for many athletic endeavors.

    "Athletic ability" encompasses many physical factors (e.g. power, balance, coordination, endurance, etc.) as well as non-physical factors (e.g. distance-awareness/control, timing, grit, game/match/fight IQ, etc.). And then there are factors such as reaction time and accuracy that may be both physical and non-physical. Hence there is no one measure of athletic ability. The factors are specific to particular athletic endeavor or sport.

    It's obvious that West Africans excel in sprinting, but that does not necessarily translate to many other athletic endeavors.
  3. The theory of West Africans responding better to performance enhancing drugs is very interesting.

    I think this kind of theory is gaining popularity now in cases like autism, where multi factor causes are suspected to be involved.

    Genetic predisposition to an environmental trigger might explain many things in addition to autism.

    And not just alcoholism…

  4. Marty [AKA "wick"] says:

    Steve, remember when NBC aired a “White Paper” about black athletic superiority around 1987? The then-track coach for Stanford was interviewed, and he vowed to find the Great White Sprinter. I sent him a letter saying “good luck with that,” and he sent it back to me with a handwritten imprecation to “crawl back under the rock you came out from.”

  5. This amazing racial disparity wasn’t always so clear. For example, here is video of the 1960 Olympics final (there were only six finalists back then), in which the 3 white guys in the field swept the medals

    Easy. Nutrition. Especially child nutrition.

  6. I think some of this is due to the fact that whites really no longer engage in these types of sports as extensively as they once did.

    I’ve pointed out, and some people agreed, that when I was a teenager we were always goofing around shooting baskets or something.

    This new generation of kids… they don’t seem to know what to do. They look so clumsy shooting, have no idea how to dribble. Basketball isn’t the world of course, but to my eye there is no where near the engagement in this sport there was thirty or forty years ago.

    I’m not talking about kids you see in college, I’m talking about the kids you see on any street. Come to think of it, they aren’t outside at all much anymore, doing anything.

    I think the story is similar for other sports. For instance baseball has gone from something where pick up games occurred, to something that is totally organized and run by grownups.

    I also think there is another issue. When you have limited slots for competition, blacks tend to push other groups out of them when sprinting and explosiveness are involved. As a football watcher I can tell you that you have lower odds of seeing a white football player come out of the southern states, than from states like Utah, California, or even Ohio.

    Down south, unless you are at some funky private school, there is going to be no shortage of black athletes around. I think some kid that could perform at the level of the mentioned McCaffrey kid never even go out for the team.

    So yeah, I think that whereas in the past there may have been discrimination against blacks in a lot of sports in some areas of the country, the door is wide open now.

    • Replies: @Gaius Baltar

    I think some of this is due to the fact that whites really no longer engage in these types of sports as extensively as they once did.
     
    I think you are absolutely correct here. Although it is never stated out loud, what white boy in his right mind would even attempt to run the sprint events? They will be herded into the longer distances by coaches.

    A good way to control for the men may be to look at the women. I see that a white woman (Dafne Schippers, who is Dutch) came in 2nd in 2015 World Championships in the 100 meters. That is amazing. She is without a doubt currently the fastest European/white woman, alive. And arguably the second fastest woman alive. She consistently WINS in the 200 meters, where historically her time was only behind Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones (2 confirmed steroid users).

    Dafne Schippers is only 23 and you WILL see her next summer in 2016 (barring injury) and hear her name. I just hope that she is free of steroids.

    All of that said, she is the only one that is NOT of West African decent in either the 200 or 100 meter championships.

    She may give hope to other young white sprinters to compete again.

  7. Blacks are more sensitive to androgens since they average fewer CAG repeats on the androgen receptor gene, so the performance-enhancing drug hypothesis seems plausible. East Asians and Hispanics have longer repeats and are rarely competitive.

  8. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “I’m not talking about kids you see in college, I’m talking about the kids you see on any street. Come to think of it, they aren’t outside at all much anymore, doing anything.”

    It sometimes seems to me that white kids these days spend all their time shuffling along staring at rocks in their hands. I sometimes think I’m living in a world of monks who have taken vows of silence. Exertion would probably break their meditations. 😉

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “One interesting theory that has been put forward by a commenter (unfortunately, I have forgotten his monicker) is that perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?”

    That’s very interesting, because when I was looking at the runners in the videos to which you’ve linked, I was surprised that the runners all looked so large. I would have expected them to be thinner and have less bulky bodies (I do not follow track). Also, it’s a little hard for me to tell decisively, but the runners in the 1960s video appear to be of slighter build than the runners in the videos of more recent races.

  10. White kids in OC play hoops outside also street hickey but mostly skateboard. Lack of Black competition in skateboarding and bmx etc.

  11. One interesting theory that has been put forward by a commenter (unfortunately, I have forgotten his monicker) is that perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?

    That’s also the armchair scientific theory in professional bodybuilding. From reading various sources, professional body builders also need to have a natural ability to gain muscle easily(so they get early positive feedback for their efforts) and the ability to handle the massive amounts of foreign substances without breaking down. Occasionally HDB slips out and people talk about the advantages that blacks have.

  12. You don’t need PEDs to explain the difference. It’s probably just a matter of those with the best nature getting access to the best nurture.

    When I was in football camp in the late ’80s, one of the coaches talked about how the Russians did well in sprinting in some international competition due to plyometric training, but then everyone else started doing plyometrics and that edge went away.

    I don’t know if that was true, but I do now that Russians were ahead of the curve in strength training for a while.

    • Replies: @Twinkie

    When I was in football camp in the late ’80s, one of the coaches talked about how the Russians did well in sprinting in some international competition due to plyometric training, but then everyone else started doing plyometrics and that edge went away.

    I don’t know if that was true, but I do now that Russians were ahead of the curve in strength training for a while.
     
    In the early 1990's, I became a big fan of fitness guru Pavel Tsatsouline, whose claim to fame was that he was formerly a fitness trainer to the Soviet Spetsnaz before coming to the U.S. He opened my eyes to the Soviet-style performance-oriented strength and conditioning training that hadn't quite permeated the U.S. at the time (lots of Americans were wasting their time doing bench presses and bicep curls that created beach muscles but were not as functional for physical performance).

    I followed his advice, and my functional strength improved dramatically. There was indeed much plyometric training as well as high weight/low rep weight training, extreme range strength output training, including kettlebell exercises and one-handed military presses with barbells, and so on. They were all very different from what my previous trainers, coaches, and instructors taught me in the U.S.

    Back then, when I would do Judo and Jujitsu, some of my heavily muscular-looking training partners (they looked like bodybuilders) used to be surprised by my grip strength and the ability to generate power at the extreme outer edge of my range of motion. I had trained for what Pavel described as "wiry strength" (trim body, but functional strength specific to the sports) and when I sparred with these heavy-muscled guys, I was often able to overpower them (of course, I had my own comeuppance when training with the wrestlers from a major Midwestern powerhouse; they ragdolled me pretty easily and would often smash me with their superior athleticism and wrestling techniques).
  13. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    If there actually exists a general factor of athletic ability, sprinting loads high on it. But is there such a factor? It seems to me that understanding the structure of athletic ability might help us understand that of intellectual ability. One can’t assume there is a g factor for every conventional domain showing a positive manifold. More likely than not there isn’t a g factor causally interpretable for athletics. (Rather, most sports simply demand running – to various degrees.) If it can be made to look as though there’s an athletic g factor when we can’t explain it, we should worry about whether the intellectual g factor is also illusory.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    The meaning of the term "athleticism" has changed somewhat over my lifetime. It used to be associated at least somewhat with eye-hand coordination, but that has largely been dropped. Golfer Phil Mickelson or baseball slugger Miguel Cabrera might have been considered athletic 50 years ago, but now they are seen as being at the opposite pole from "athleticism."

    Now, pretty much like intelligence being whatever it is an IQ test measures, athleticism means whatever an NFL cornerback does.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the ability to run fast backwards correlates even higher with the current meaning of athleticism than the ability to run fast forwards.

    Anyway, the NFL Draft combine collects a lot of data on college football stars, so it would be interesting to see which subtests correlate best with success at cornerback in the NFL.

    , @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.
  14. Is “Amby Burfoot” an example of an aptronym or an inaptronym? (Or, to keep it Greek, a euonym or cacanym?)

  15. @Stephen R. Diamond

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    If there actually exists a general factor of athletic ability, sprinting loads high on it. But is there such a factor? It seems to me that understanding the structure of athletic ability might help us understand that of intellectual ability. One can't assume there is a g factor for every conventional domain showing a positive manifold. More likely than not there isn't a g factor causally interpretable for athletics. (Rather, most sports simply demand running - to various degrees.) If it can be made to look as though there's an athletic g factor when we can't explain it, we should worry about whether the intellectual g factor is also illusory.

    “Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.”

    The meaning of the term “athleticism” has changed somewhat over my lifetime. It used to be associated at least somewhat with eye-hand coordination, but that has largely been dropped. Golfer Phil Mickelson or baseball slugger Miguel Cabrera might have been considered athletic 50 years ago, but now they are seen as being at the opposite pole from “athleticism.”

    Now, pretty much like intelligence being whatever it is an IQ test measures, athleticism means whatever an NFL cornerback does.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ability to run fast backwards correlates even higher with the current meaning of athleticism than the ability to run fast forwards.

    Anyway, the NFL Draft combine collects a lot of data on college football stars, so it would be interesting to see which subtests correlate best with success at cornerback in the NFL.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    A rude fan once challenged John Kruk how he could call himself an athlete. He replied that he wasn't an athlete, but a baseball player.

    And, veering OT, today I discovered and visited a wine shop called the Cork Dork. Sounds like a good nickname for an Olympic swimmer.
    , @Steve Sailer
    In contemporary discussions of athleticism, eye-hand coordination is now treated a little bit like psychometricians treat 3-d cognitive skill: something more striking for being more orthogonal to the g-factor than most other cognitive skills.

    What about eye-foot coordination? Soccer player Lionel Messi has unbelievable eye-foot coordination, but I don't know enough about American responses to soccer to say whether that is treated as evidence of athleticism or of something else.
  16. ” perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?”

    Then they’ve been performance enhancing for a lot longer than 1980. I’d say a more plausible reason is that the Caribbean countries needed more time to build up their sports program–and blacks needed to be welcome emigrants in European countries in order to dominate their sprinting programs.

    The last white winner of the 100 in a fully competitive Olympics was Valeriy Borsov in 1972, and it’s pretty well-acknowledged that he wouldn’t have won if the US coach hadn’t used an old schedule. Only one of the Americans showed up at the quarterfinals, thanks to that screwup. The two favorites missed their event. The two who didn’t start were the ones favored to win; our 3rd best candidate came in second place. Valeriy wasn’t a slouch; he came in 3rd in 1976 to two black Caribbean runners.

    Allan Wells, the 1980 winner and the last white winner of the 100 in any Olympics, is the FloJo of his time; that is, people who don’t believe he wasn’t doping are just kidding themselves. The guy was originally a jumper who switched to sprinting late in his career and started beating everyone. And whispers of his doping have been going around for a while.

    Leaving aside those exceptions, black men have been dominating the Olympics despite fewer opportunities in America and far fewer predominantly black countries having the money for sports programs. 1968 looks like an all black final. 1964 was the year of Bob Hayes; according to Wikipedia, a Pole and a German were the only nonblacks in 1964 (I didn’t look them up, but am assuming).

    You’re correct that the three white guys swept the 1960 event, but Ray Norton and Frank Budd had beaten Sime in the trials. Norton was the overwhelming favorite and his fold during the finals is one reason that day is dubbed Black Thursday, an unexpectedly catastrophic day for US track & field at the Olympics. Norton had been considered the dominant US sprinting star for two or three years by that time. Frank Budd set the world record the next year; his poor performance is generally considered a case of nerves, as he’d never been in a major event before.

    But you can go back further. In 1956, the only black guy in the field, Ira Murchison, was also expected to win that year but also seemed to have a bad year. 1952, the winner was a white American, but bronze and silver went to black men. 1948 had black men going 1-2-3,two Americans and a Panamanian. And of course, 1936 had Jesse Owens and Frank Metcalf.

    In America, 100 meter Olympic finals have been all or mostly black for a long time. Here’s a special on Valeriy Borsov, and at the 4:14 mark there’s a clip from the US Olympic finals. I don’t see a white guy in it. Here’s a clip of the 1964 Olympic 100 finals, also just a couple whites.

    So no, I’m unconvinced that the explanation is anything other than some genetic fast-twitch thing, because from the moment they were given any opportunity at all, blacks dominated.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    A big question is that we have a very spotty the history of steroids in American sports before, say, the 1980s. We have weird bits and pieces of knowledge, like that the coaching staff of the 1963 San Diego Chargers handed out steroids at training camp. But then what happened? We have other evidence that suggests that steroids did not systematically sweep the major American spectator sports until later.

    My suspicion is that a lot of the iconic Southern California superstars of my late 1960s childhood were on the juice, such as The Juice and Wilt. O.J. was part of a record-setting sprint relay team at USC, and we know Olympic field guys were using steroids from the later 1950s onward. Wilt was a Muscle Beach regular soon after he was traded to the Lakers around 1968 and became the first NBA player to become ripped. O.J. was massively publicized at USC in 1967-68. There was a sort of sense at the time that he was the Football Player from the Future, and maybe he was.
    , @Anonymous
    It also has a lot to do with pelvis shape,trunk length, leg length, and the general build of the skeletal/muscular system, right down to the skull.
    Anyone who really believes that athletes are made and not born is kidcing themselves.
    Sprinters are born to be sprinters in the same way as little men are born to be horse jockeys.
  17. BTW, did Ron Unz take away the “edit” function or is there some other reason I can’t edit my comments anymore?

  18. @Steve Sailer
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    The meaning of the term "athleticism" has changed somewhat over my lifetime. It used to be associated at least somewhat with eye-hand coordination, but that has largely been dropped. Golfer Phil Mickelson or baseball slugger Miguel Cabrera might have been considered athletic 50 years ago, but now they are seen as being at the opposite pole from "athleticism."

    Now, pretty much like intelligence being whatever it is an IQ test measures, athleticism means whatever an NFL cornerback does.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the ability to run fast backwards correlates even higher with the current meaning of athleticism than the ability to run fast forwards.

    Anyway, the NFL Draft combine collects a lot of data on college football stars, so it would be interesting to see which subtests correlate best with success at cornerback in the NFL.

    A rude fan once challenged John Kruk how he could call himself an athlete. He replied that he wasn’t an athlete, but a baseball player.

    And, veering OT, today I discovered and visited a wine shop called the Cork Dork. Sounds like a good nickname for an Olympic swimmer.

  19. @Steve Sailer
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    The meaning of the term "athleticism" has changed somewhat over my lifetime. It used to be associated at least somewhat with eye-hand coordination, but that has largely been dropped. Golfer Phil Mickelson or baseball slugger Miguel Cabrera might have been considered athletic 50 years ago, but now they are seen as being at the opposite pole from "athleticism."

    Now, pretty much like intelligence being whatever it is an IQ test measures, athleticism means whatever an NFL cornerback does.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the ability to run fast backwards correlates even higher with the current meaning of athleticism than the ability to run fast forwards.

    Anyway, the NFL Draft combine collects a lot of data on college football stars, so it would be interesting to see which subtests correlate best with success at cornerback in the NFL.

    In contemporary discussions of athleticism, eye-hand coordination is now treated a little bit like psychometricians treat 3-d cognitive skill: something more striking for being more orthogonal to the g-factor than most other cognitive skills.

    What about eye-foot coordination? Soccer player Lionel Messi has unbelievable eye-foot coordination, but I don’t know enough about American responses to soccer to say whether that is treated as evidence of athleticism or of something else.

  20. Understanding why sports has become so much more segregated probably needs a concept like athletic innovation, though it would certainly be more useful to some sports more than others. I don’t know if you can exactly say that people are more athletic now than they were, but you can definitely say that styles of play are more athletic, and that such stylistic innovation is always widening the gap to the advantage of the rawest athletes. Basketball is probably the prime example, since the game’s fluidity leaves space to innovate that say baseball does not. As I said the other day, white men can dribble even less than they can jump, and it’s very apparent that the best ball handlers ever are playing today, with a style that is very much a bit of athletic evolution. I also recently watched the last twenty or so slam dunk contests, and the athletic innovation there is too obvious to mention, and the innovation could even be described as dribbling while jumping, so that’s whites are doubly disadvantaged.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Another subtest of what we think of as "athleticism" today in America is how high above your height you can get a hand. Being able to slam dunk is a proxy for this. One interesting aspect is that long arms are considered athletic, even though they are a fixed asset.
  21. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    “Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.”

    In other countries, what Americans call “track & field” is called “athletics.”

    But my impression is that Americans don’t really think of track & field as being the definition of athleticism anymore. It’s too cut and dried, pre-planned. Americans tend to associate “athleticism” with basketball and playing defense on football. That puts a high premium on reacting quickly, the ability to move your feet not necessarily in a straight line forward.

    There’s a high correlation between sprinting speed and what an NFL cornerback or NBA guard defender does, but it’s not 1.0.

    Sometimes, for example, you see running backs who are very fast in a straight line but aren’t that shifty. Herschel Walker, for example, was unbelievably fast going forward for his size, but he wasn’t particularly elusive like Barry Sanders was.

  22. @education realist
    " perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?"

    Then they've been performance enhancing for a lot longer than 1980. I'd say a more plausible reason is that the Caribbean countries needed more time to build up their sports program--and blacks needed to be welcome emigrants in European countries in order to dominate their sprinting programs.

    The last white winner of the 100 in a fully competitive Olympics was Valeriy Borsov in 1972, and it's pretty well-acknowledged that he wouldn't have won if the US coach hadn't used an old schedule. Only one of the Americans showed up at the quarterfinals, thanks to that screwup. The two favorites missed their event. The two who didn't start were the ones favored to win; our 3rd best candidate came in second place. Valeriy wasn't a slouch; he came in 3rd in 1976 to two black Caribbean runners.

    Allan Wells, the 1980 winner and the last white winner of the 100 in any Olympics, is the FloJo of his time; that is, people who don't believe he wasn't doping are just kidding themselves. The guy was originally a jumper who switched to sprinting late in his career and started beating everyone. And whispers of his doping have been going around for a while.

    Leaving aside those exceptions, black men have been dominating the Olympics despite fewer opportunities in America and far fewer predominantly black countries having the money for sports programs. 1968 looks like an all black final. 1964 was the year of Bob Hayes; according to Wikipedia, a Pole and a German were the only nonblacks in 1964 (I didn't look them up, but am assuming).

    You're correct that the three white guys swept the 1960 event, but Ray Norton and Frank Budd had beaten Sime in the trials. Norton was the overwhelming favorite and his fold during the finals is one reason that day is dubbed Black Thursday, an unexpectedly catastrophic day for US track & field at the Olympics. Norton had been considered the dominant US sprinting star for two or three years by that time. Frank Budd set the world record the next year; his poor performance is generally considered a case of nerves, as he'd never been in a major event before.

    But you can go back further. In 1956, the only black guy in the field, Ira Murchison, was also expected to win that year but also seemed to have a bad year. 1952, the winner was a white American, but bronze and silver went to black men. 1948 had black men going 1-2-3,two Americans and a Panamanian. And of course, 1936 had Jesse Owens and Frank Metcalf.

    In America, 100 meter Olympic finals have been all or mostly black for a long time. Here's a special on Valeriy Borsov, and at the 4:14 mark there's a clip from the US Olympic finals. I don't see a white guy in it. Here's a clip of the 1964 Olympic 100 finals, also just a couple whites.

    So no, I'm unconvinced that the explanation is anything other than some genetic fast-twitch thing, because from the moment they were given any opportunity at all, blacks dominated.

    A big question is that we have a very spotty the history of steroids in American sports before, say, the 1980s. We have weird bits and pieces of knowledge, like that the coaching staff of the 1963 San Diego Chargers handed out steroids at training camp. But then what happened? We have other evidence that suggests that steroids did not systematically sweep the major American spectator sports until later.

    My suspicion is that a lot of the iconic Southern California superstars of my late 1960s childhood were on the juice, such as The Juice and Wilt. O.J. was part of a record-setting sprint relay team at USC, and we know Olympic field guys were using steroids from the later 1950s onward. Wilt was a Muscle Beach regular soon after he was traded to the Lakers around 1968 and became the first NBA player to become ripped. O.J. was massively publicized at USC in 1967-68. There was a sort of sense at the time that he was the Football Player from the Future, and maybe he was.

    • Replies: @Marty
    MacArthur Lane once told a friend of mine that he had no trouble tackling OJ in junior college.
  23. One way to test the theory that blacks respond better to steroids is that we have a decent knowledge of baseball’s steroid history. No doubt some players had been quietly experimenting for years, but it seems pretty clear that Jose Canseco was the primary evangelist for steroids among big leaguers in the 1986-1992 era.

    During this period, we see a general decline in the number of African-American ballplayers, so that would be a strike against the theory. On the other hand, when the best African-American ballplayer, Barry Bonds, decided to get seriously into steroids, he hit 73 homers.

    It also seems likely that the over-the-counter availability of steroids in some Latin countries, especially the Dominican Republic played a role. It would seem like a great topic for some sabermetrician to research — steroid sales in the D.R. from 1970-2000 — but the stat guys seem amazingly averse to researching the general topic of What Just Happened?

    My impressions is that this era saw the end of the stereotype of the wiry Latin banjo hitting utility infielder to be replaced by the stereotype of the Dominican slugger, who tended to be very black, much blacker than Dominicans in general.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason

    It also seems likely that the over-the-counter availability of steroids in some Latin countries, especially the Dominican Republic played a role.
     
    I'm not so sure about this. I lived for a couple of years in the Dominican Republic, and while you can certainly buy many drugs there over the counter that require a doctor's prescription in the US , there are controls on narcotics and so on. The kind of steroids that are used to improve athletic performance are not stock items in Dominican Republic pharmacies. In fact it can be hard to even find prednisone in most pharmacies, a steroid that have multiple legitimate medical uses.

    Of course it is possible that certain pharmacies in the DR may have special ordered them for athletes, but then again it seems that illegal steroid use is extremely common in the USA, and one just has to look at well known cases like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Flo Jo (most likely), Marion Jones, and possibly a very well known golfer who bulked up tremendously and was known for temper tantrums and hypersexuality during the most successful period of his career to see that even if steroids were not on the shelves in Walmart, there were ways of obtaining them in the US. If people were getting performance enhancing steroids in the Dominican Republic, or indeed if sprinters are obtaining them in Jamaica, then it is probably through illegal or under-the-counter routes.
  24. @Pat Casey
    Understanding why sports has become so much more segregated probably needs a concept like athletic innovation, though it would certainly be more useful to some sports more than others. I don't know if you can exactly say that people are more athletic now than they were, but you can definitely say that styles of play are more athletic, and that such stylistic innovation is always widening the gap to the advantage of the rawest athletes. Basketball is probably the prime example, since the game's fluidity leaves space to innovate that say baseball does not. As I said the other day, white men can dribble even less than they can jump, and it's very apparent that the best ball handlers ever are playing today, with a style that is very much a bit of athletic evolution. I also recently watched the last twenty or so slam dunk contests, and the athletic innovation there is too obvious to mention, and the innovation could even be described as dribbling while jumping, so that's whites are doubly disadvantaged.

    Another subtest of what we think of as “athleticism” today in America is how high above your height you can get a hand. Being able to slam dunk is a proxy for this. One interesting aspect is that long arms are considered athletic, even though they are a fixed asset.

  25. “A big question is that we have a very spotty the history of steroids in American sports before, say, the 1980s”

    I agree. If Allan Wells of Scotland was doping in the 70s, then certainly it’s not outside the realm of reason that Americans were doping earlier. San Jose State had an unusual number of good runners in the 60s, and while I’ve never heard of any doping, I also think it’s kind of an oddball place to have a small pocket of good runners.

    But I got the impression from your post that as doping became more prevalent, blacks garnered more of the advantage for genetic reasons, and that this led to a dominance that began in the 80s. I was just saying that the dominance began much earlier. If doping also began earlier, of course, then that may explain the earlier dominance as well.

    However, blacks still needed more opportunities to use steroids to become dominant, which still needed better programs in the Caribbean and Europe.

    I’m…unconvinced, still, but I hadn’t really considered the impact of coordinated doping much earlier.

  26. A future famous Southern Californian who started using steroids when he was 17-years-old in 1964 or 1965 is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    My guess is that way back in the 1960s it usually took initiative and individuality to get into steroids, and Arnold, OJ, and Wilt would qualify under those categories.

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @education realist
    " perhaps men of West African descent tend to respond more strongly to performance-enhancing drugs than do men of other races?"

    Then they've been performance enhancing for a lot longer than 1980. I'd say a more plausible reason is that the Caribbean countries needed more time to build up their sports program--and blacks needed to be welcome emigrants in European countries in order to dominate their sprinting programs.

    The last white winner of the 100 in a fully competitive Olympics was Valeriy Borsov in 1972, and it's pretty well-acknowledged that he wouldn't have won if the US coach hadn't used an old schedule. Only one of the Americans showed up at the quarterfinals, thanks to that screwup. The two favorites missed their event. The two who didn't start were the ones favored to win; our 3rd best candidate came in second place. Valeriy wasn't a slouch; he came in 3rd in 1976 to two black Caribbean runners.

    Allan Wells, the 1980 winner and the last white winner of the 100 in any Olympics, is the FloJo of his time; that is, people who don't believe he wasn't doping are just kidding themselves. The guy was originally a jumper who switched to sprinting late in his career and started beating everyone. And whispers of his doping have been going around for a while.

    Leaving aside those exceptions, black men have been dominating the Olympics despite fewer opportunities in America and far fewer predominantly black countries having the money for sports programs. 1968 looks like an all black final. 1964 was the year of Bob Hayes; according to Wikipedia, a Pole and a German were the only nonblacks in 1964 (I didn't look them up, but am assuming).

    You're correct that the three white guys swept the 1960 event, but Ray Norton and Frank Budd had beaten Sime in the trials. Norton was the overwhelming favorite and his fold during the finals is one reason that day is dubbed Black Thursday, an unexpectedly catastrophic day for US track & field at the Olympics. Norton had been considered the dominant US sprinting star for two or three years by that time. Frank Budd set the world record the next year; his poor performance is generally considered a case of nerves, as he'd never been in a major event before.

    But you can go back further. In 1956, the only black guy in the field, Ira Murchison, was also expected to win that year but also seemed to have a bad year. 1952, the winner was a white American, but bronze and silver went to black men. 1948 had black men going 1-2-3,two Americans and a Panamanian. And of course, 1936 had Jesse Owens and Frank Metcalf.

    In America, 100 meter Olympic finals have been all or mostly black for a long time. Here's a special on Valeriy Borsov, and at the 4:14 mark there's a clip from the US Olympic finals. I don't see a white guy in it. Here's a clip of the 1964 Olympic 100 finals, also just a couple whites.

    So no, I'm unconvinced that the explanation is anything other than some genetic fast-twitch thing, because from the moment they were given any opportunity at all, blacks dominated.

    It also has a lot to do with pelvis shape,trunk length, leg length, and the general build of the skeletal/muscular system, right down to the skull.
    Anyone who really believes that athletes are made and not born is kidcing themselves.
    Sprinters are born to be sprinters in the same way as little men are born to be horse jockeys.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn't been demonstrated yet.
    , @Anonymous
    I read somewhere that one reason that Michael Phelps is such a good swimmer is (if I recall correctly) the size of his hands and (I think) the size of his feet.
  28. “We are all susceptible to the pull of viral ideas. Like mass hysteria. Or a tune that gets into your head that you keep on humming all day until you spread it to someone else. Jokes. Urban legends. Crackpot religions. Marxism. No matter how smart we get, there is always this deep irrational part that makes us potential hosts for self-replicating information. ” Snow Crash

    A lie gets around the world before the truth gets its pants on in the morning. Russia had crappy snow which slowed down the skiers…” SOCHI, Russia — COLUMN | The snow around here looks like soup, a creamy … The combination of monstrously large jumps and bad snow put fear in the … Jacobellis had the second-fastest time in the snowboard cross …”WaPo
    “The snow looks like soup and the soup looks like…poop!” Poople-Search For Crap!
    ” Russian President Putin listens to a journalist’s question during a … There is no snow in the city of Sochi itself. … and spectators alike, the area also has a tragic and violent past. … And these types of toilets don’t come cheap.” Time on Sub Tropic Russian Winter Fever. These people are going to set Syria to rights?

    I have my doubts.
    Red

  29. Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    Undeniable. But not all sports require great athleticism. For many of the most popular sports, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition. In sprinting, the necessary is sufficient. Although we read puff pieces about how hard so-and-so ‘worked’ to win the 100m, we will always wonder whether so-and-so would have done just as well taking a nice nap before dinner.

    As in cerebral life, the necessary condition matters. Hence the preponderance of speedsters in every marginal sport, where speed counts but it isn’t everything. You can teach a man to catch, as long as he isn’t a total unco (Australian slang for unco-ordinated person, aka spaz) but you can’t teach him to run faster or jump higher.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Carl Lewis worked out 8 hours per week while training to win his 4 gold medals at the 1984 Olympics.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    Catching and middling a fast moving ball on a small racquet or bat have much in common. I know from experience and observation that natural ability at the kind of eye hand co-ordination required can allow A to beat B comfortably at some games where speed of movement is also important while B can at least hold his own against A at games where the speed is relatively more and the eye-hand coordination less important. I am not sufficiently expert in the relevant mathematics but I suspect that it makes little sense to calculate a general factor of athleticism. Maybe G1 for speed G2 for eye-hand co-ordination and, because speedy reactions would help catching or middling balls on bats or racquets (and controlling where they go next) there would be a small not very meaningful correlation between G1 and G2. Maybe there is a pretty unimportant G3 which is height and G4 muscle mass???
  30. @Anonymous
    It also has a lot to do with pelvis shape,trunk length, leg length, and the general build of the skeletal/muscular system, right down to the skull.
    Anyone who really believes that athletes are made and not born is kidcing themselves.
    Sprinters are born to be sprinters in the same way as little men are born to be horse jockeys.

    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

    • Replies: @res

    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.
     
    Rushton looked at this and found a correlation (mean r of 0.83) between brain size and pelvic measurements in his 2003 paper Brain size, IQ, and racial-group differences: Evidence from musculoskeletal traits. I found the discussion of thigh bone curvature interesting.

    You can find paper links and some discussion of that paper at https://abc102.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/brain-size-and-correlates-with-iq/
    , @Steve Johnson
    Steve Sailer -

    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.
     
    Fitting the skull through the pelvis in childbirth?
  31. @G pinfold

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    Undeniable. But not all sports require great athleticism. For many of the most popular sports, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition. In sprinting, the necessary is sufficient. Although we read puff pieces about how hard so-and-so 'worked' to win the 100m, we will always wonder whether so-and-so would have done just as well taking a nice nap before dinner.

    As in cerebral life, the necessary condition matters. Hence the preponderance of speedsters in every marginal sport, where speed counts but it isn't everything. You can teach a man to catch, as long as he isn't a total unco (Australian slang for unco-ordinated person, aka spaz) but you can't teach him to run faster or jump higher.

    Carl Lewis worked out 8 hours per week while training to win his 4 gold medals at the 1984 Olympics.

  32. This statistic is so unbelievably extreme that it must have multiple causes.

    La Griffe should run the numbers and tell us what the respective bell curves would have to look like to make this believable.

    when I was a teenager we were always goofing around shooting baskets or something.

    Still many countries where white kids play soccer all day long. Kids I know who love to play soccer for hours still hate gym class with a passion. They may dream of playing pro soccer, but no way they’d ever be interested in training to be a sprinter.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "They may dream of playing pro soccer, but no way they’d ever be interested in training to be a sprinter."

    For some reason, I think the sprint races are boring. They're so short, and it kind of seems like, "Who cares?" I can see why it would be meaningful to the runner, but why should the rest of us care about something that lasts such a short period of time, unless we're interested in what humans are capable of accomplishing. However, after a certain point, why does anyone care if someone can run .01 second faster, or so? It seems like there are more interesting areas in which to focus one's interests or to be entertained.

  33. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    Seems true for the Big 3 in the US, but not so much for all sports. I don’t think there can be a g-factor in sports when, for example, triathlon and the 100 meter are both considered sports.

  34. The 1968 US Olympic Team set all sorts of sprint records in the Mexico City Olympics that, typically, endured into the 1980s. For example, Jim Hines’ 9.95 in the 100m wasn’t broken until 1983.

    But the 1968 times have always been hard to deal with analytically because of two complicating factors:

    — introduction of electronic timing in 1968 caused a discontinuity with the hand-held previous times

    — the 7,300 foot altitude in Mexico City was good for sprinters, but bad for American distance runners like Jim Ryun who was runner up to a Kenyan in the 1500. There is less wind resistance at high altitudes. The Olympic Trials had been held at Lake Tahoe and they established lots of sprint records that were smashed in Mexico City.

    But, looking into it, it looks like it’s common knowledge that the throwing guys in the field events were on steroids. The name of Dr. H. Kay Dooley of Pomona, CA, the assistant coach at the Lake Tahoe trials, comes up a lot in the discussion of the history of steroids in sports.

    What about the American sprinters in 1968? I don’t know. But if you at least open the door to 1968 as a possibility, what about any American sprinters in 1964?

  35. It is worth mentioning that the current woman world champion at the 200m is a white Dutch girl named Dafne Schippers. She ran the third fastest race in recorded history.

    She finished second at the 100m though. She is rather tall for a sprinter giving her a slower start but making her faster in the last stretch of the race.

    • Replies: @S. Anonyia
    Also white American sprinter Jenna Prandini has been doing pretty well in the 100 and 200 meters at the college level these past couple of years.

    Maybe there is less of a racial gap in sprinting among women.
  36. The reason blacks dominate sprinting is easy: White Priveledge. Oppressive institutional racism from a structurally hostile patriachy forces black men to unconsciously sublimate the raw talent that would otherwise see their God-given talents – eg. as great doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, politicians etc… – into sprinting.

    If it was not for the structural racism and abusive post-colonial Western mind, Usain Bolt would have found a cure for cancer by now.

  37. The fastest white sprinter today and the only one to break the 10 sec barrier is Christophe Lemaitre.

    Shades of Serena/Federer there.

  38. McCaffrey is putting up ridiculous yards per game totals-for example 150+today-but only has one touchdown on the year because the black running back is given touches in all red zone situations. For example 3 touchdowns today vs 1 for McCaffrey.

  39. @Stephen R. Diamond

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    If there actually exists a general factor of athletic ability, sprinting loads high on it. But is there such a factor? It seems to me that understanding the structure of athletic ability might help us understand that of intellectual ability. One can't assume there is a g factor for every conventional domain showing a positive manifold. More likely than not there isn't a g factor causally interpretable for athletics. (Rather, most sports simply demand running - to various degrees.) If it can be made to look as though there's an athletic g factor when we can't explain it, we should worry about whether the intellectual g factor is also illusory.

    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL’s evolution. And indeed it’s probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don’t practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Maybe it's mirror neurons?

    A sense of rhythm seems to be crucial both to most sports and most performance arts, and certainly other arts, such as poetry, and maybe even painting. I have no sense of rhythm so I just skip over all the parts in literary criticism and the like that are devoted to praising the writer's rhythm.

    , @Steve Sailer
    A decade or so ago it was a big surprise when some beat-up retired black athlete like heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield would go on Dancing with the Stars and excel. But now it's expected.

    Are there any famous black athletes who can't dance? No doubt there are some who have kept it hidden, but I can't think of any, and I've had it in the back of my mind for decades to remember any anecdotes about black teammates who can't dance.

    I tried Googling athlete can't dance and the first one was NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt:

    https://ungeniusthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/today-in-white-athletes-that-cant-dance/

    But even though he's an awesome defensive player, he's white.

    , @Steve Sailer
    A decade or so ago it was a big surprise when some beat-up retired black athlete like heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield would go on Dancing with the Stars and excel. But now it's expected.

    Are there any famous black athletes who can't dance? No doubt there are some who have kept it hidden, but I can't think of any, and I've had it in the back of my mind for decades to remember any anecdotes about black teammates who can't dance.

    I tried Googling athlete can't dance and the first one was NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt:

    https://ungeniusthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/today-in-white-athletes-that-cant-dance/

    But even though he's an awesome defensive player, he's white.

    , @Andrew Jackson
    Even more than basketball, I think tennis represents pure athleticism.
    , @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing.

    Mark Changizi contends in "Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man" that music came from imitating human movement like walking and running. Music also enhances motor coordination. So maybe dancing came along with music from human movement, of which athleticism is a special variety.

  40. @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    Maybe it’s mirror neurons?

    A sense of rhythm seems to be crucial both to most sports and most performance arts, and certainly other arts, such as poetry, and maybe even painting. I have no sense of rhythm so I just skip over all the parts in literary criticism and the like that are devoted to praising the writer’s rhythm.

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    The mimetic talent:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uBfjh9013k

    But speaking of rhythm, that's not an irrelevant way to regard sprinting either I think. Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain. The motion of a world class sprinter's body during a race does not evoke the idea of rhythm so much as it might maybe because their movements are so furious, but certainly there movements are in sync, and maintain the exact same timing pattern.

  41. @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    A decade or so ago it was a big surprise when some beat-up retired black athlete like heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield would go on Dancing with the Stars and excel. But now it’s expected.

    Are there any famous black athletes who can’t dance? No doubt there are some who have kept it hidden, but I can’t think of any, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind for decades to remember any anecdotes about black teammates who can’t dance.

    I tried Googling athlete can’t dance and the first one was NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt:

    https://ungeniusthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/today-in-white-athletes-that-cant-dance/

    But even though he’s an awesome defensive player, he’s white.

  42. @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    A decade or so ago it was a big surprise when some beat-up retired black athlete like heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield would go on Dancing with the Stars and excel. But now it’s expected.

    Are there any famous black athletes who can’t dance? No doubt there are some who have kept it hidden, but I can’t think of any, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind for decades to remember any anecdotes about black teammates who can’t dance.

    I tried Googling athlete can’t dance and the first one was NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt:

    https://ungeniusthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/today-in-white-athletes-that-cant-dance/

    But even though he’s an awesome defensive player, he’s white.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Okay, the second "athlete can't dance" was NBA player Ron Artest, a.k.a. Metta World Peace, who is very black. He's always struck me as kind of not quite right in the head.

    http://www.themortonreport.com/entertainment/television/dancing-with-the-stars-season-13-premiere-the-athlete-cant-dance-while-the-war-hero-moves-fluidly/
  43. @Steve Sailer
    A decade or so ago it was a big surprise when some beat-up retired black athlete like heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield would go on Dancing with the Stars and excel. But now it's expected.

    Are there any famous black athletes who can't dance? No doubt there are some who have kept it hidden, but I can't think of any, and I've had it in the back of my mind for decades to remember any anecdotes about black teammates who can't dance.

    I tried Googling athlete can't dance and the first one was NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt:

    https://ungeniusthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/today-in-white-athletes-that-cant-dance/

    But even though he's an awesome defensive player, he's white.

    Okay, the second “athlete can’t dance” was NBA player Ron Artest, a.k.a. Metta World Peace, who is very black. He’s always struck me as kind of not quite right in the head.

    http://www.themortonreport.com/entertainment/television/dancing-with-the-stars-season-13-premiere-the-athlete-cant-dance-while-the-war-hero-moves-fluidly/

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    Ha! That's perfect. Ron Artest was always the most mechanical player in the league to make a starting lineup, minus the mechanical centers. He had decent foot speed for being incredibly strong and always played his heart out on defense. But he wouldn't dare dribble the ball up the court, especially when Kobe became his general.
  44. • Replies: @Pat Casey
    Actually he's pretty smooth for a big man, but definitely a big man, and a very bumbling kind of guy when he's being interviewed, and I think I remember them often mentioning some unheard-of growth spurt he had right before he got to college.
  45. @Sunbeam
    I think some of this is due to the fact that whites really no longer engage in these types of sports as extensively as they once did.

    I've pointed out, and some people agreed, that when I was a teenager we were always goofing around shooting baskets or something.

    This new generation of kids... they don't seem to know what to do. They look so clumsy shooting, have no idea how to dribble. Basketball isn't the world of course, but to my eye there is no where near the engagement in this sport there was thirty or forty years ago.

    I'm not talking about kids you see in college, I'm talking about the kids you see on any street. Come to think of it, they aren't outside at all much anymore, doing anything.

    I think the story is similar for other sports. For instance baseball has gone from something where pick up games occurred, to something that is totally organized and run by grownups.

    I also think there is another issue. When you have limited slots for competition, blacks tend to push other groups out of them when sprinting and explosiveness are involved. As a football watcher I can tell you that you have lower odds of seeing a white football player come out of the southern states, than from states like Utah, California, or even Ohio.

    Down south, unless you are at some funky private school, there is going to be no shortage of black athletes around. I think some kid that could perform at the level of the mentioned McCaffrey kid never even go out for the team.

    So yeah, I think that whereas in the past there may have been discrimination against blacks in a lot of sports in some areas of the country, the door is wide open now.

    I think some of this is due to the fact that whites really no longer engage in these types of sports as extensively as they once did.

    I think you are absolutely correct here. Although it is never stated out loud, what white boy in his right mind would even attempt to run the sprint events? They will be herded into the longer distances by coaches.

    A good way to control for the men may be to look at the women. I see that a white woman (Dafne Schippers, who is Dutch) came in 2nd in 2015 World Championships in the 100 meters. That is amazing. She is without a doubt currently the fastest European/white woman, alive. And arguably the second fastest woman alive. She consistently WINS in the 200 meters, where historically her time was only behind Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones (2 confirmed steroid users).

    Dafne Schippers is only 23 and you WILL see her next summer in 2016 (barring injury) and hear her name. I just hope that she is free of steroids.

    All of that said, she is the only one that is NOT of West African decent in either the 200 or 100 meter championships.

    She may give hope to other young white sprinters to compete again.

    • Replies: @Sunbeam
    You don't misunderstand my point, but I could have done a better job of stating something.

    In the US, at least in my section of it (South), they don't seem to be interested in any kinds of athletics anymore.

    More into video games and whatnot. You see a few kids that are genuinely interested, but more stuff like baseball and soccer where the parents seem to be the driving force more than the kids.
  46. @Steve Sailer
    Okay, the second "athlete can't dance" was NBA player Ron Artest, a.k.a. Metta World Peace, who is very black. He's always struck me as kind of not quite right in the head.

    http://www.themortonreport.com/entertainment/television/dancing-with-the-stars-season-13-premiere-the-athlete-cant-dance-while-the-war-hero-moves-fluidly/

    Ha! That’s perfect. Ron Artest was always the most mechanical player in the league to make a starting lineup, minus the mechanical centers. He had decent foot speed for being incredibly strong and always played his heart out on defense. But he wouldn’t dare dribble the ball up the court, especially when Kobe became his general.

  47. @Steve Sailer
    The third was Anthony Davis, the NBA player, not the 1972 USC running back.

    http://mweb.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/25250240/anthony-davis-turned-down-dancing-with-the-stars-invite-says-he-cant-dance

    Actually he’s pretty smooth for a big man, but definitely a big man, and a very bumbling kind of guy when he’s being interviewed, and I think I remember them often mentioning some unheard-of growth spurt he had right before he got to college.

  48. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    I was actually being somewhat facetious/oversimplifying a bit when I wrote this. I think in the “Sports Gene” by Dave Epstein, he notes that over the past century, body types have been getting more specialized to their sport. Basketball players are getting taller; gymnasts younger, shorter, and more lithe. This would seem to be a strike against “the general factor athletic ability”.

    In fact, in the track & field running events, competitors who compete well in shorter distances never do well in the long distances, and vice versa. Epstein attributes this partly to the ACTN3 gene, the non-mutated version of which is strongly associated with sprinting events in most populations.

    What’s strange to me though is this: the non-mutated version is also predominant in East Africans, who dominate long distances. It’s not until one leaves Sub-Saharan African that the mutated version suddenly becomes strongly associated with endurance running…

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986906

  49. I remember some study showing that a certain percentage of men benefit from steroids even if they engage in absolutely no physical activity, while others must work out to do so. I can’t find it right now.

    But I’m willing to bet that blacks probably do benefit more from steroid use than other groups.

  50. @Steve Sailer
    Maybe it's mirror neurons?

    A sense of rhythm seems to be crucial both to most sports and most performance arts, and certainly other arts, such as poetry, and maybe even painting. I have no sense of rhythm so I just skip over all the parts in literary criticism and the like that are devoted to praising the writer's rhythm.

    The mimetic talent:

    But speaking of rhythm, that’s not an irrelevant way to regard sprinting either I think. Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain. The motion of a world class sprinter’s body during a race does not evoke the idea of rhythm so much as it might maybe because their movements are so furious, but certainly there movements are in sync, and maintain the exact same timing pattern.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, for example, are beautiful runners and their movies tended to feature scenes of them running. In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.
    , @Anonymous
    "Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain."

    Proper posture and form, including keeping ones face relaxed, seems to play a big role in running well and allowing the runner to be able to run with ease and the utmost coordination. A person who runs well with good form is really quite a beautiful thing to watch (even though I think watching sprints is boring).
  51. @Gaius Baltar

    I think some of this is due to the fact that whites really no longer engage in these types of sports as extensively as they once did.
     
    I think you are absolutely correct here. Although it is never stated out loud, what white boy in his right mind would even attempt to run the sprint events? They will be herded into the longer distances by coaches.

    A good way to control for the men may be to look at the women. I see that a white woman (Dafne Schippers, who is Dutch) came in 2nd in 2015 World Championships in the 100 meters. That is amazing. She is without a doubt currently the fastest European/white woman, alive. And arguably the second fastest woman alive. She consistently WINS in the 200 meters, where historically her time was only behind Florence Griffith Joyner and Marion Jones (2 confirmed steroid users).

    Dafne Schippers is only 23 and you WILL see her next summer in 2016 (barring injury) and hear her name. I just hope that she is free of steroids.

    All of that said, she is the only one that is NOT of West African decent in either the 200 or 100 meter championships.

    She may give hope to other young white sprinters to compete again.

    You don’t misunderstand my point, but I could have done a better job of stating something.

    In the US, at least in my section of it (South), they don’t seem to be interested in any kinds of athletics anymore.

    More into video games and whatnot. You see a few kids that are genuinely interested, but more stuff like baseball and soccer where the parents seem to be the driving force more than the kids.

  52. NY Times Sunday magazine today has an advertising insert: “Super Lawyers – Top Attorneys New York Metro 2015”. Each page is a different firm with a photo of the lawyers and their names. I count 121 lawyer photos. None black. Maybe 20% women. Estimate 50% have Jewish names. 25% Italian. A handful of Irish. More Greeks than Irish. No White Protestants – where did they go?

  53. My experience in playing sports for a racially mixed high school in NY was that Blacks seemed to hit puberty before Whites. Kids I played peewee football with were suddenly undersized by the time we reached 9th grade and once they stopped playing organized ball, they rarely came back. As one of only two White players on my high school basketball team, and the only White starter, I can tell you the height difference began by 8th grade and White kids usually avoided the local public courts because of the racial fights that would break out if we showed up to play.

  54. @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    Even more than basketball, I think tennis represents pure athleticism.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    Maybe movement wise it has athleticism and hand-eye coordination, but it is certainly one of the more cerebral sports. Where you hit to, how you hit the ball, the trade-offs you make, how you respond to a particular opponent, all impact your success to a great degree. The regular psychometric g factor is as much an essential factor as any other particular factor. If you listen to the top male players talking after a championship or commentating, it is obvious that all those who have won a few grand slams have a lot on the ball intellectually speaking.

    This is IMO why Serena does so well, the women's game is subject to physical limitations whereas the male game is not subject to physical limitations nearly as much. Monfils may be able to hit the ball very hard and run fast, but mentally he is out to lunch so often that he will never be a grand slam contender.
  55. @Pat Casey
    Interesting, very interesting. My opinion is that basketball is the be-all end-all of athletic sports. Since the NBA was founded in 1946, no other sport has seen the level of athleticism so conspicuously evolve. Watch a Bob Cousy highlight reel then an Allen Iverson highlight reel, or an Oscar Robertson highlight reel then a Michael Jordan highlight reel. Those are starker visual differences than even football has seen in terms of what we can only call athleticism, as though the NBA started out with mechanical dummies. And so the first thing I would say about a possible athletic g factor is that you know it when you see it. Which may suggest the key idea literally.

    No one ever mentions this, but learning how to play basketball well has less to do with good coaching or good competition than with endlessly and intensely watching the pros on TV and film, and being able to then go out and imitate their physical nuances. The stylistic innovations that have accentuated athleticism in the NBA are, I would argue, a matter of binging on game footage, a matter of mimicry and incorporation, and not a matter of fundamentals being better taught as has been the NFL's evolution. And indeed it's probably the intuition of this that explains why NBA practices among all pro-sports are notoriously non-intense. Perhaps, maybe, the athletic g factor then is the ability to internalize motion, and to demonstrate this internalization by aping it down to subtle rhythms, and moreover doing so without being able to gauge your own accuracy, since you don't practice in front of a mirror.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing. The fact that children will dance to music by sheer instinct before they can even walk would seem to say something fundamental about human motion and thus athleticism. And of course dancing in the purest sense is just mimicking the rhythm of the music by your movements. Thus would dancing be the general factor of athletic ability if I had to guess. And as musical ability does not correlate with IQ, perhaps athleticism does not correlate with strength, so that sprinting ability is misleading insofar as the speed is a matter of leg strength.

    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing.

    Mark Changizi contends in “Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man” that music came from imitating human movement like walking and running. Music also enhances motor coordination. So maybe dancing came along with music from human movement, of which athleticism is a special variety.

    • Replies: @Pat Casey
    Thanks much, very stimulating. I just read a WSJ review, and have to say it did stop me from ordering. The notion that music came from the sound of human movement is unintelligible to me, except as a poetic about music made for dancing, but dancing making music is absurd, right? Does he mean they were wearing instruments while dancing ? Yet still the instruments would be prior to the movement. I don't know. But anyways a thought I never had.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904583204576542654012458510

    I did not know that whether music or language came first was even up for debate. I could not be less versed, yet can think up several proofs for the primacy of music off the cuff. The noises of no animals are speech, but birds make the sound of music, anyways nature made music first. Irish Gaelic sounds to my ears more like song than clipped speech, and must have never not, so whether speaking a song or singing speech came first the sound was always music. T.S. Eliot famously figured out that poetry can communicate before being understood, and the English nonsense writers Lear and Carroll had been making that point all along. The idea has been connected to universal grammar, but it's perfectly elegant to simply think of some foreign song evoking a particular sentiment, and it's so easy to say that universal melody is more universal than universal grammar because of being intuitive. Music must come from animal spirits if it can make toddlers dance.

  56. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    That they’re pretty good at running has been a common observation for a long time even without checking the stats. When I was a kid it was thought that they got early training in running because they were always running from the cops. According to what’s shown on television and movies they’re also great scientists with Morgan Freeman being the greatest mind the world has ever known. Really just an awesome super-race. In reality they couldn’t even create the gym shoes they wear.

  57. @G pinfold

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.
     
    Undeniable. But not all sports require great athleticism. For many of the most popular sports, it is a necessary but not sufficient condition. In sprinting, the necessary is sufficient. Although we read puff pieces about how hard so-and-so 'worked' to win the 100m, we will always wonder whether so-and-so would have done just as well taking a nice nap before dinner.

    As in cerebral life, the necessary condition matters. Hence the preponderance of speedsters in every marginal sport, where speed counts but it isn't everything. You can teach a man to catch, as long as he isn't a total unco (Australian slang for unco-ordinated person, aka spaz) but you can't teach him to run faster or jump higher.

    Catching and middling a fast moving ball on a small racquet or bat have much in common. I know from experience and observation that natural ability at the kind of eye hand co-ordination required can allow A to beat B comfortably at some games where speed of movement is also important while B can at least hold his own against A at games where the speed is relatively more and the eye-hand coordination less important. I am not sufficiently expert in the relevant mathematics but I suspect that it makes little sense to calculate a general factor of athleticism. Maybe G1 for speed G2 for eye-hand co-ordination and, because speedy reactions would help catching or middling balls on bats or racquets (and controlling where they go next) there would be a small not very meaningful correlation between G1 and G2. Maybe there is a pretty unimportant G3 which is height and G4 muscle mass???

    • Disagree: Wizard of Oz
  58. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    “Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.”

    Hogwash.

    Tell that to the wrestlers, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts, weight lifters, volleyball players, baseball players, high jumpers, cyclists….well you get the message (or more likely, you don’t and won’t as you won’t admit any evidence that counters your “black men are superior athletes bias”).

    • Replies: @Psmith
    To be fair, I'm pretty sure it's a lot easier to make a good sprinter (or, even better--a guy with a huge standing vertical leap) into a good wrestler, swimmer, tennis player, etc., than vice versa. As I understand the argument, sprinting (and vertical leap, etc.) are expressions of one's general neuromuscular efficiency--that is, a largely unchanging quality highly correlated with success in basically every sport. "Sprinting is the G factor of athletics" does not mean "every sport requires you to run real fast in a straight line."
  59. I also find it interesting that Black athletes of West African are terrible at long distance events in track. They’re non-existent at the world class and even the national class level, even though East Africans, specifically the Kenyans, dominate. And even more specifically, the Kalenjin tribe from Kenya’s Rift Valley.

    West African-descended blacks dominate the 100, 200, and 400 meters, and have some success in the 800 meters, which has now become almost a sprint. At 1500 meters I can only remember one American black man, Steve Holman from the early 90’s, who might have West Afican ancestry, (he looks mixed) but nobody else.

    Past 1500 meters, in the longer races, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and the marathon, I can’t think of anyone of West African descent at a world class or even a national class level. They’re even absent at the top levels of high school long distance events.

  60. @Steve Sailer
    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn't been demonstrated yet.

    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

    Rushton looked at this and found a correlation (mean r of 0.83) between brain size and pelvic measurements in his 2003 paper Brain size, IQ, and racial-group differences: Evidence from musculoskeletal traits. I found the discussion of thigh bone curvature interesting.

    You can find paper links and some discussion of that paper at https://abc102.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/brain-size-and-correlates-with-iq/

  61. This all got me thinking about steroids in the 70s, and vague recollections, so I started googling. First question was why wasn’t there a dominant US sprinter in the 70s? And there was, of course, Steve Williams, whose injuries consistently kept him out of the Olympics. Williams said, back in 1989, that steroids were common back in the 70s, but they were primarily used to recover from injuries. Terry Bradshaw has said the same thing about the Steelers in the 70s, that players were put back on the field much sooner back then, and that steroids were necessary to recover. The first person I knew to say that he used steroids was Mark McGuire, who openly acknowledged using steroids in his 1998 run to the record. They weren’t banned. Since then, of course, McGuire has acknowledged using steroids back through the 80s–and again, he said consistently that he used them to recover.

    So was that true, or were they already coming up with stories?

    I can’t find any whisper of Bob Hayes using steroids, though. His problem was recreational drug use. Jim Hines, neither. And 1968 was an all black final, so were they all using steroids?

    I’m sure you know this, but Calvin Smith is probably the only clean male sprinter of the famed 1988 finals, and he finished 4th originally, then medaled when Johnson was dq’ed. Had Lewis been kicked out for clearly running outside the lanes, he’d have gotten second.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    In fact, I wonder if the theory doesn’t work even better with black women. They apparently had to bulk up far more from a far weaker position. Johnson, Lewis, and the rest were already top tier. But I’m just speculating.

    • Replies: @Steve Richter
    But why do the athletes who are clean not complain about those who are not? Or when a clean team loses to one that is not?
    , @Triumph104
    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don't think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWqZCOBp-nI
    , @Triumph104
    Sorry, I posted the wrong video.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don’t think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.


    https://youtu.be/PCKmGqQfxMk
  62. @Unzerker
    It is worth mentioning that the current woman world champion at the 200m is a white Dutch girl named Dafne Schippers. She ran the third fastest race in recorded history.

    She finished second at the 100m though. She is rather tall for a sprinter giving her a slower start but making her faster in the last stretch of the race.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM3SFQGYW1s

    Also white American sprinter Jenna Prandini has been doing pretty well in the 100 and 200 meters at the college level these past couple of years.

    Maybe there is less of a racial gap in sprinting among women.

  63. Nike developed the SPARQ score to measure athletic ability. According to “Seahawks sports scientist Dean Riddle”, who was involved in Nike’s SPARQ program, “The SPARQ rating is incredibly accurate… There’s a really strong correlation between a higher SPARQ rating score and success” in soccer, and “an incredibly high correlation [to success] in football, hockey, [and] basketball.”

    SPARQ score alone is not enough for success in professional football. Among the players with exceptional enough SPARQ scores to catch the Seahawks’ interest, “coachability” / “dedication” seems to matter a great deal — more than the apparent importance of IQ (as measured by Wonderlic scores). Some of the Seahawks’ most famous players are blacks with high SPARQ scores, Wonderlic scores of 24 – 28 (implying IQs of 108 – 116), excellent memories, and reputations for spending a lot of time in the film room. Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson both fit this pattern.

    Field Gulls is an excellent fan-journalism site that has reverse-engineered Nike’s SPARQ scores, and customized them for different football positions. They call the reverse-engineered scores rSPARQ, and the position-specific scores pSPARQ. They have a category of articles on the subject.

    Field Gulls explained how they reverse engineered the rSPARQ score. The rSPARQ score is calculated based on the player’s mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, number of times the athlete can bench press 225 pounds, and vertical leap. The pSPARQ scores also include measurements like the 10-yard split of the 40-yard dash and broad jump distance.

    Nike’s SPARQ score is calculated based on the player’s mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, kneeling powerball toss, and vertical leap. Nike has posted a U-Tube video showing the kneeling power ball toss. The NFL has posted brief explanations of the other tests.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "Coachability"

    A fair number of star Los Angeles Ram football players went on to have pretty successful acting careers: Merlin Olsen, Fred Dryer, and Bernie Casey. Olsen was first cast as a publicity stunt, but he insisted on the studio assigning him an acting coach on the grounds that one thing you can say about professional football players is that they are good at listening to coaches.

    , @Threecranes
    According to my old anatomy and physiology text, these are the elements of athleticism:

    speed (as measured over the ground)
    quickness (as in hand quickness e.g. a shortstop or ping pong player)
    strength
    endurance
    balance (a running back or gymnast on a balance beam).
    co-ordination (as in tumbling, diving or gymnastics)
    power (or explosiveness i.e. moving weight through a distance in the shortest time, can mean speed but also upper body stuff)
    heart (courage or indomitability)

    The best all-round athlete will be good in all of them but not the best in any of them.
  64. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:

    Is it possible that a very large percentage of the variance in fast-twitch muscle fiber is under the control of a single gene?

  65. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    I would rather say it is amateur wrestling.

  66. One under reported little factoid at the 2015 World Athletics Championship was that China managed to get silver for the Mens 4x100m Relay (originally bronze but Justin Gatlin was disqualified)

    It also did well by total medal count, with 7 silvers

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_World_Championships_in_Athletics#Medal_table

  67. @Steve Sailer
    A big question is that we have a very spotty the history of steroids in American sports before, say, the 1980s. We have weird bits and pieces of knowledge, like that the coaching staff of the 1963 San Diego Chargers handed out steroids at training camp. But then what happened? We have other evidence that suggests that steroids did not systematically sweep the major American spectator sports until later.

    My suspicion is that a lot of the iconic Southern California superstars of my late 1960s childhood were on the juice, such as The Juice and Wilt. O.J. was part of a record-setting sprint relay team at USC, and we know Olympic field guys were using steroids from the later 1950s onward. Wilt was a Muscle Beach regular soon after he was traded to the Lakers around 1968 and became the first NBA player to become ripped. O.J. was massively publicized at USC in 1967-68. There was a sort of sense at the time that he was the Football Player from the Future, and maybe he was.

    MacArthur Lane once told a friend of mine that he had no trouble tackling OJ in junior college.

  68. @Anonymous
    It also has a lot to do with pelvis shape,trunk length, leg length, and the general build of the skeletal/muscular system, right down to the skull.
    Anyone who really believes that athletes are made and not born is kidcing themselves.
    Sprinters are born to be sprinters in the same way as little men are born to be horse jockeys.

    I read somewhere that one reason that Michael Phelps is such a good swimmer is (if I recall correctly) the size of his hands and (I think) the size of his feet.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    Certainly Phelps' hand and foot size is a factor in his success. The biomechanics of swimming takes a lot of concentration and a lot of very detailed coaching; I'm not aware of another individual racing-type sport where coaching makes such a difference.

    The extreme lack of success of blacks in swimming is crying out for an explanation. My personal theory is lack of interest and lack of opportunity. Swimming at the elite level - being able to qualify for the US Olympic trials is a good benchmark - takes a year-round commitment at an elite swim club (high school coaches, and to some degree most college coaches, are vastly inferior to the elite club coaches; the exceptions are the elite college teams like USC, Stanford, Texas, etc., and you can't get on those teams unless you have the elite club coaches as a teenager). Typically only one or at most two elite clubs can make it in a large metro area: Orange County has one elite club team, San Diego has one, Seattle has one, LA has maybe two or three, etc. They are not cheap, the parents are expected to do lots of volunteer work and come up with money for travel meets, the logistics of two-per-day practices are difficult unless the team's main practice facility is right around the corner, etc. (I've seen a high school senior move in with a fellow swimmer and her family 40 miles from home so that she could be on the area's elite club team, and it paid off - she missed the Olympic team by a whisker, but got a full ride swim scholarship to an major university. Wouldn't have happened if she had stayed at her former team - the improvement from the elite coaching was that dramatic.)

    So my hypothesis is that there just aren't enough blacks who (a) have the athletic ability, (b) are interested in swimming, and (c) have the logistical support to get on the local elite club team. But it's just a hypothesis.

    And on the topic of athleticism: the 400 meter individual medley at the world class level is one of the most grueling tests of athleticism I've ever seen...
  69. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Harry

    This statistic is so unbelievably extreme that it must have multiple causes.
     
    La Griffe should run the numbers and tell us what the respective bell curves would have to look like to make this believable.

    when I was a teenager we were always goofing around shooting baskets or something.
     
    Still many countries where white kids play soccer all day long. Kids I know who love to play soccer for hours still hate gym class with a passion. They may dream of playing pro soccer, but no way they'd ever be interested in training to be a sprinter.

    “They may dream of playing pro soccer, but no way they’d ever be interested in training to be a sprinter.”

    For some reason, I think the sprint races are boring. They’re so short, and it kind of seems like, “Who cares?” I can see why it would be meaningful to the runner, but why should the rest of us care about something that lasts such a short period of time, unless we’re interested in what humans are capable of accomplishing. However, after a certain point, why does anyone care if someone can run .01 second faster, or so? It seems like there are more interesting areas in which to focus one’s interests or to be entertained.

  70. OT: NYT, 10/04/15 – Staub Has Heart Attack

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/sports/baseball/staub-has-heart-attack.html?ref=todayspaper

    The former Mets star Rusty Staub was resting comfortably in a hospital in Ireland after a heart attack on an overseas flight, the team said.

  71. @Jasper
    Nike developed the SPARQ score to measure athletic ability. According to "Seahawks sports scientist Dean Riddle", who was involved in Nike's SPARQ program, "The SPARQ rating is incredibly accurate... There's a really strong correlation between a higher SPARQ rating score and success" in soccer, and "an incredibly high correlation [to success] in football, hockey, [and] basketball."

    SPARQ score alone is not enough for success in professional football. Among the players with exceptional enough SPARQ scores to catch the Seahawks' interest, "coachability" / "dedication" seems to matter a great deal -- more than the apparent importance of IQ (as measured by Wonderlic scores). Some of the Seahawks' most famous players are blacks with high SPARQ scores, Wonderlic scores of 24 - 28 (implying IQs of 108 - 116), excellent memories, and reputations for spending a lot of time in the film room. Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson both fit this pattern.

    Field Gulls is an excellent fan-journalism site that has reverse-engineered Nike's SPARQ scores, and customized them for different football positions. They call the reverse-engineered scores rSPARQ, and the position-specific scores pSPARQ. They have a category of articles on the subject.

    Field Gulls explained how they reverse engineered the rSPARQ score. The rSPARQ score is calculated based on the player's mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, number of times the athlete can bench press 225 pounds, and vertical leap. The pSPARQ scores also include measurements like the 10-yard split of the 40-yard dash and broad jump distance.

    Nike's SPARQ score is calculated based on the player's mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, kneeling powerball toss, and vertical leap. Nike has posted a U-Tube video showing the kneeling power ball toss. The NFL has posted brief explanations of the other tests.

    “Coachability”

    A fair number of star Los Angeles Ram football players went on to have pretty successful acting careers: Merlin Olsen, Fred Dryer, and Bernie Casey. Olsen was first cast as a publicity stunt, but he insisted on the studio assigning him an acting coach on the grounds that one thing you can say about professional football players is that they are good at listening to coaches.

  72. @Pat Casey
    The mimetic talent:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uBfjh9013k

    But speaking of rhythm, that's not an irrelevant way to regard sprinting either I think. Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain. The motion of a world class sprinter's body during a race does not evoke the idea of rhythm so much as it might maybe because their movements are so furious, but certainly there movements are in sync, and maintain the exact same timing pattern.

    Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, for example, are beautiful runners and their movies tended to feature scenes of them running. In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    "In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well."

    What I've noticed is that a lot of women who are very pretty and sexy (not slutty) seem to tend to be well-coordinated and generally athletic (not necessarily possessing jock level athleticism, but a general overall athleticism).
    , @Anonym
    Something of an exception to that rule (at least as far as running) was Patrick McGoohan. Although he was good at boxing, and did his own stunts including Judo throws and such, running was definitely not his forte. But as brilliant as Gibson, if not more so. Consider that he created the concept, wrote many of the scripts for, and was the lead actor in "The Prisoner".

    I remember reading the autobiography of Charleton Heston. I remember one of the three things he said were key for doing well at acting was physical ability/keeping in good physical condition. I think another may have been in selecting good parts.
  73. Response to PEDs is a very unlikely reason. Blacks work vastly harder at their athleticism than do any other race. Couple this with the clear genetic advantage and you have all you need to know.
    Athleticism is basically just the inverse of the IQ by race charts that are so familiar. The median black guy will be more athletic than median white, the median white guy will be more athletic than the median asian etc. There are athletic smart people but they are unusual enough that they get pointed out.
    This seems like a lazy argument. It suggests blacks are essentially cheating to win. Virtually everyone that is working out is using PEDs these days so to suggest that drugs interact with black genetics sounds a lot like the magical thinking common in sociological circles.
    Let’s stay focused on actual science.

  74. @Jasper
    Nike developed the SPARQ score to measure athletic ability. According to "Seahawks sports scientist Dean Riddle", who was involved in Nike's SPARQ program, "The SPARQ rating is incredibly accurate... There's a really strong correlation between a higher SPARQ rating score and success" in soccer, and "an incredibly high correlation [to success] in football, hockey, [and] basketball."

    SPARQ score alone is not enough for success in professional football. Among the players with exceptional enough SPARQ scores to catch the Seahawks' interest, "coachability" / "dedication" seems to matter a great deal -- more than the apparent importance of IQ (as measured by Wonderlic scores). Some of the Seahawks' most famous players are blacks with high SPARQ scores, Wonderlic scores of 24 - 28 (implying IQs of 108 - 116), excellent memories, and reputations for spending a lot of time in the film room. Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson both fit this pattern.

    Field Gulls is an excellent fan-journalism site that has reverse-engineered Nike's SPARQ scores, and customized them for different football positions. They call the reverse-engineered scores rSPARQ, and the position-specific scores pSPARQ. They have a category of articles on the subject.

    Field Gulls explained how they reverse engineered the rSPARQ score. The rSPARQ score is calculated based on the player's mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, number of times the athlete can bench press 225 pounds, and vertical leap. The pSPARQ scores also include measurements like the 10-yard split of the 40-yard dash and broad jump distance.

    Nike's SPARQ score is calculated based on the player's mass, 40 yard dash time, short shuttle time, kneeling powerball toss, and vertical leap. Nike has posted a U-Tube video showing the kneeling power ball toss. The NFL has posted brief explanations of the other tests.

    According to my old anatomy and physiology text, these are the elements of athleticism:

    speed (as measured over the ground)
    quickness (as in hand quickness e.g. a shortstop or ping pong player)
    strength
    endurance
    balance (a running back or gymnast on a balance beam).
    co-ordination (as in tumbling, diving or gymnastics)
    power (or explosiveness i.e. moving weight through a distance in the shortest time, can mean speed but also upper body stuff)
    heart (courage or indomitability)

    The best all-round athlete will be good in all of them but not the best in any of them.

  75. If you categorize it as “actors who many don’t know were once success pro football players”, then Alex Karras is up there. Fred Williamson, Bernie Casey. Merlin Olsen, maybe. Was he in much besides LHOP? Ed Marinaro, definitely–I didn’t even know he played football until recently. Woody Strode, who broke all sorts of color barriers in both athletes and movies.

    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    ...actors who many don’t know were once success pro football players...

    Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy from "Married with Children) played defensive line for Youngstown State and was drafted in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, though cut in training camp. O'Neill has been nominated for three primetime Emmys for his role in "Modern Family," and according to Wikipedia, has a black belt Jiu-Jitsu.

  76. @Threecranes
    "Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability."

    Hogwash.

    Tell that to the wrestlers, swimmers, tennis players, gymnasts, weight lifters, volleyball players, baseball players, high jumpers, cyclists….well you get the message (or more likely, you don't and won't as you won't admit any evidence that counters your "black men are superior athletes bias").

    To be fair, I’m pretty sure it’s a lot easier to make a good sprinter (or, even better–a guy with a huge standing vertical leap) into a good wrestler, swimmer, tennis player, etc., than vice versa. As I understand the argument, sprinting (and vertical leap, etc.) are expressions of one’s general neuromuscular efficiency–that is, a largely unchanging quality highly correlated with success in basically every sport. “Sprinting is the G factor of athletics” does not mean “every sport requires you to run real fast in a straight line.”

    • Replies: @Anonym
    I think that's more because of the nature of sprinting, fast twitch, body type etc. In that it's hard to make a random person into a good sprinter.

    However, from what I have seen, sprinting is quite a specific ability. The ability to run fast in a straight line, especially over 100m+, is quite a specific ability. Particularly the examples you mention, such as wrestling and weight lifting, do not necessarily favor the sort of build that is good at running in a straight line at the expense of having good lateral strength and balance.

    To be good at wrestling requires quickness, power, strength, grip strength, strong hips (thighs, hips, core), balance, coordination, lots of determination, never quit attitude, desire to dominate, and coachability. Top end speed in a straight line doesn't come into it. In fact, if that is a trade-off at the expense of lateral stability and strength, it's a downside. Someone who comes at you from only the front is going to get their balance shifted and all that forward force used against them by someone who is strong laterally.

    And swimming is another strange example to cite because low bodyfat high bone density is not conducive to swimming, where a less dense build that can maintain neutral buoyancy without wasting energy to generate lift. How many West Africans dominate at swimming?

    I would think a 10m-40m sprint (i.e. acceleration ability) would have more general application to most sports than the ability to be fast in a straight line for 100m.
  77. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Pat Casey
    The mimetic talent:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uBfjh9013k

    But speaking of rhythm, that's not an irrelevant way to regard sprinting either I think. Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain. The motion of a world class sprinter's body during a race does not evoke the idea of rhythm so much as it might maybe because their movements are so furious, but certainly there movements are in sync, and maintain the exact same timing pattern.

    “Something I noticed in college for the first time was how bad a lot of people are running, quite aside from their lack of speed; a lot of students jogging around campus were an ungainly sight, and it was definitely a disconnect between the rhythm of each one of their limbs, and they often looked be pain.”

    Proper posture and form, including keeping ones face relaxed, seems to play a big role in running well and allowing the runner to be able to run with ease and the utmost coordination. A person who runs well with good form is really quite a beautiful thing to watch (even though I think watching sprints is boring).

  78. I remember in the mid ’70s, the Oakland A’s brought up a 19-year old speedster, Claudell Washington, mostly, if I recall correctly, as a bit of a media attraction but also for his great speed on the basepaths. I think at that time, Washington’s primary athletic success was as a track & field sprinter. Anyway, he went on to have a decent 16-year MLB career: .278 BA/164 HR/824 RBI/312 SB. Though, according to Wikipedia, in 1985, Washington was among a number of players caught up in the Pittsburgh drug trials scandal. In 1986, he was given a 60-day suspension but was allowed to continue playing if he donated five percent of his base salary and contributed 50 hours of drug-related community service.

    • Replies: @Wolfe
    Right team, wrong Washington. It was Herb Washington who was the "designated runner." Claudell Washingon was a real baseball player, while Herb was a track athlete and the world record holder in the 50 and 60 yard dashes. He never did make an Olympic team, however. One of his most well-known moments was getting picked off in the 1974 World Series. His Topps baseball card called his position "pinch runner."
  79. @Steve Sailer
    Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, for example, are beautiful runners and their movies tended to feature scenes of them running. In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.

    “In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.”

    What I’ve noticed is that a lot of women who are very pretty and sexy (not slutty) seem to tend to be well-coordinated and generally athletic (not necessarily possessing jock level athleticism, but a general overall athleticism).

    • Replies: @Anonym
    Women who are great in bed are generally excellent dancers.

    I wonder if part of the jock's search for a woman who is fantastic in bed is a way to select a mate who has similar coordination levels so as to produce similar children. I.e. are they/we really looking for great sex (something fairly shallow) or is it a search for a desirable male quality expressed in a different way in a female?
  80. What about racial differences in terms of the placebo effect – are Blacks more or less influenced by it than Whites?

    Studies show women are more vulnerable to placebos than men, so maybe there are racial and IQ-related differences as well.

  81. @education realist
    If you categorize it as "actors who many don't know were once success pro football players", then Alex Karras is up there. Fred Williamson, Bernie Casey. Merlin Olsen, maybe. Was he in much besides LHOP? Ed Marinaro, definitely--I didn't even know he played football until recently. Woody Strode, who broke all sorts of color barriers in both athletes and movies.

    …actors who many don’t know were once success pro football players…

    Ed O’Neill (Al Bundy from “Married with Children) played defensive line for Youngstown State and was drafted in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, though cut in training camp. O’Neill has been nominated for three primetime Emmys for his role in “Modern Family,” and according to Wikipedia, has a black belt Jiu-Jitsu.

    • Replies: @EriK
    I was a big fan of Chuck Connors growing up. Couldn't get enough of those Rifleman reruns.
  82. Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, for example, are beautiful runners and their movies tended to feature scenes of them running. In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.

    I agree with the first, not necessarily the last. Clooney has an odd squat body that doesn’t move well and you rarely see him walking in a movie. He banks on his terrific still presence. Likewise, Julia Roberts walks so weirdly I’m amazed she’s ambulatory. You can see both behaviors on display in Ocean’s 11. Can’t find the Clooney in a prison uniform bit, but Julia walking by Brad and Matt is a classic case. Here’s Clooney in Out of Sight (towards end of clip) same issue.

  83. Having just wrote on this matter and being a runner I’d like to posit the following:

    Lets assume no doping. Having made that assumption, lets also look at WHO is winning. It is not simply “West Africans” but West Africans of the diaspora. West Africans also compete under France and England (among others) but do not usually WIN much less set records.

    My hypothesis is that the trans-Atlantic slave trade gave the diaspora a founder effect. Composed of West Africans from the Senegambia down to the Ngolans.

    That experience also acted as a brutal un-natural selector for certain genes such that their combination comes at a higher frequency among that population.

    I think this would probably also explain why it is certain Kenyans and probably certain Ethiopians who do extremely well in the distance races. If it were simply about technique, Europeans and Europeans descended Americans would KILL in the long distance races (and short ones) because without a doubt there is far more science here than Kenya , Jamaica, Trinidad, etc.

    Oh and Jamaicans absolutely SUCK at long distance races.

    Now we know full well about fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. But running fast is also about mitochondria, which is entirely separate from “Chromosomal genes”. It is about respiration. Lactate threshold and a whole host of physiological things that have to go “right”.

    We’ll note that in the World Championships that just passed there was A Chinese who made the finals and medaled because someone else was disqualified. I’m certain that the Chinese have “techniqued” the hell out of the short distance running yet still barely medalled in a race that was not even world record pace.

    • Replies: @gcochran
    "gave the diaspora a founder effect."


    Almost certainly not, to any significant degree.
  84. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Somehow, it seems like athleticism must have essentially been born from dancing.

    Mark Changizi contends in "Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man" that music came from imitating human movement like walking and running. Music also enhances motor coordination. So maybe dancing came along with music from human movement, of which athleticism is a special variety.

    Thanks much, very stimulating. I just read a WSJ review, and have to say it did stop me from ordering. The notion that music came from the sound of human movement is unintelligible to me, except as a poetic about music made for dancing, but dancing making music is absurd, right? Does he mean they were wearing instruments while dancing ? Yet still the instruments would be prior to the movement. I don’t know. But anyways a thought I never had.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904583204576542654012458510

    I did not know that whether music or language came first was even up for debate. I could not be less versed, yet can think up several proofs for the primacy of music off the cuff. The noises of no animals are speech, but birds make the sound of music, anyways nature made music first. Irish Gaelic sounds to my ears more like song than clipped speech, and must have never not, so whether speaking a song or singing speech came first the sound was always music. T.S. Eliot famously figured out that poetry can communicate before being understood, and the English nonsense writers Lear and Carroll had been making that point all along. The idea has been connected to universal grammar, but it’s perfectly elegant to simply think of some foreign song evoking a particular sentiment, and it’s so easy to say that universal melody is more universal than universal grammar because of being intuitive. Music must come from animal spirits if it can make toddlers dance.

  85. @sondjata
    Having just wrote on this matter and being a runner I'd like to posit the following:

    Lets assume no doping. Having made that assumption, lets also look at WHO is winning. It is not simply "West Africans" but West Africans of the diaspora. West Africans also compete under France and England (among others) but do not usually WIN much less set records.

    My hypothesis is that the trans-Atlantic slave trade gave the diaspora a founder effect. Composed of West Africans from the Senegambia down to the Ngolans.

    That experience also acted as a brutal un-natural selector for certain genes such that their combination comes at a higher frequency among that population.

    I think this would probably also explain why it is certain Kenyans and probably certain Ethiopians who do extremely well in the distance races. If it were simply about technique, Europeans and Europeans descended Americans would KILL in the long distance races (and short ones) because without a doubt there is far more science here than Kenya , Jamaica, Trinidad, etc.

    Oh and Jamaicans absolutely SUCK at long distance races.

    Now we know full well about fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. But running fast is also about mitochondria, which is entirely separate from "Chromosomal genes". It is about respiration. Lactate threshold and a whole host of physiological things that have to go "right".

    We'll note that in the World Championships that just passed there was A Chinese who made the finals and medaled because someone else was disqualified. I'm certain that the Chinese have "techniqued" the hell out of the short distance running yet still barely medalled in a race that was not even world record pace.

    “gave the diaspora a founder effect.”

    Almost certainly not, to any significant degree.

    • Agree: Steve Sailer
    • Replies: @sondjata
    I would think that carrying away a couple million people out of say 100 million with a mortality rate probably exceeding 20% in transit, a 10% mortality rate upon arrival and maybe a 1% mortality rate in the work, would give a good argument for a founder effect.

    But since you disagree, please do point out why.
  86. How’re you feeling?

    • Replies: @gcochran
    Not too bad. Tired.
  87. @E. Rekshun
    I remember in the mid '70s, the Oakland A's brought up a 19-year old speedster, Claudell Washington, mostly, if I recall correctly, as a bit of a media attraction but also for his great speed on the basepaths. I think at that time, Washington's primary athletic success was as a track & field sprinter. Anyway, he went on to have a decent 16-year MLB career: .278 BA/164 HR/824 RBI/312 SB. Though, according to Wikipedia, in 1985, Washington was among a number of players caught up in the Pittsburgh drug trials scandal. In 1986, he was given a 60-day suspension but was allowed to continue playing if he donated five percent of his base salary and contributed 50 hours of drug-related community service.

    Right team, wrong Washington. It was Herb Washington who was the “designated runner.” Claudell Washingon was a real baseball player, while Herb was a track athlete and the world record holder in the 50 and 60 yard dashes. He never did make an Olympic team, however. One of his most well-known moments was getting picked off in the 1974 World Series. His Topps baseball card called his position “pinch runner.”

    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Yes, Herb Washington; and it was around the same year. Thanks.
  88. @education realist
    This all got me thinking about steroids in the 70s, and vague recollections, so I started googling. First question was why wasn't there a dominant US sprinter in the 70s? And there was, of course, Steve Williams, whose injuries consistently kept him out of the Olympics. Williams said, back in 1989, that steroids were common back in the 70s, but they were primarily used to recover from injuries. Terry Bradshaw has said the same thing about the Steelers in the 70s, that players were put back on the field much sooner back then, and that steroids were necessary to recover. The first person I knew to say that he used steroids was Mark McGuire, who openly acknowledged using steroids in his 1998 run to the record. They weren't banned. Since then, of course, McGuire has acknowledged using steroids back through the 80s--and again, he said consistently that he used them to recover.

    So was that true, or were they already coming up with stories?

    I can't find any whisper of Bob Hayes using steroids, though. His problem was recreational drug use. Jim Hines, neither. And 1968 was an all black final, so were they all using steroids?

    I'm sure you know this, but Calvin Smith is probably the only clean male sprinter of the famed 1988 finals, and he finished 4th originally, then medaled when Johnson was dq'ed. Had Lewis been kicked out for clearly running outside the lanes, he'd have gotten second.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn't juice.

    In fact, I wonder if the theory doesn't work even better with black women. They apparently had to bulk up far more from a far weaker position. Johnson, Lewis, and the rest were already top tier. But I'm just speculating.

    But why do the athletes who are clean not complain about those who are not? Or when a clean team loses to one that is not?

  89. It’s the big, muscular glutes, thighs and quads west Africans tend to have.

    Notice how they are not really good at medium and long distance events.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
    An incredibly common feature for people of African descent is to have large thighs, but very slender, almost atrophied calves, unless they are race cyclists. I don't know if this has anything to do with speed, but it is a very noticeable phenomenon when you look for it.
  90. @Steve Sailer
    How're you feeling?

    Not too bad. Tired.

  91. The ongoing Rugby World Cup competition, which continues through the end of October, offers some interesting observations on the racial makeup of a sport that’s a relatively unusual combination of strength and endurance. It’s basically a white sport with a significant Pacific Islander (mainly Polynesian with some Melanesian) minority. Not too many blacks, even the Namibian and South African squads are mainly white. As I noted in a prior thread, the Japanese squad, mostly comprised of ethnic Japanese), is still in the mix.

    Peter

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Any sport calling for burly strong men will have a substantial Pacific Islander component. Look at how many Samoans play in the NFL.
  92. @E. Rekshun
    ...actors who many don’t know were once success pro football players...

    Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy from "Married with Children) played defensive line for Youngstown State and was drafted in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, though cut in training camp. O'Neill has been nominated for three primetime Emmys for his role in "Modern Family," and according to Wikipedia, has a black belt Jiu-Jitsu.

    I was a big fan of Chuck Connors growing up. Couldn’t get enough of those Rifleman reruns.

  93. For most popular sports, vertical leap (or its close cousin, sprinting ability) would be a good “g” measure of athletic ability if you had to pick a single trait. It is the ability to exert power relative to body mass. And yes, it is a combination of inborn traits, everything from muscle pennation to lever lengths to the ability to generate ATP, and very trainable components. It is easy to improve someone’s power ability but they will have a genetically determined ceiling.

    Having said that, there are many types of sports that are not power predominant. In order to account for these endeavors, it is helpful to think of a triangle, with the points being power, strength, and endurance. Various sports will land on different areas of that triangle. Olympic weightlifting (clean and jerk, snatch) and sprinting are almost purely power sports. Volleyball is not far away. Basketball and soccer are both more like 60/40 power/endurance. Marathons are, of course, almost purely endurance. And a bench press contest would be a pure strength test.

  94. @prosa123
    The ongoing Rugby World Cup competition, which continues through the end of October, offers some interesting observations on the racial makeup of a sport that's a relatively unusual combination of strength and endurance. It's basically a white sport with a significant Pacific Islander (mainly Polynesian with some Melanesian) minority. Not too many blacks, even the Namibian and South African squads are mainly white. As I noted in a prior thread, the Japanese squad, mostly comprised of ethnic Japanese), is still in the mix.

    Peter

    Any sport calling for burly strong men will have a substantial Pacific Islander component. Look at how many Samoans play in the NFL.

  95. @Steve Sailer
    One way to test the theory that blacks respond better to steroids is that we have a decent knowledge of baseball's steroid history. No doubt some players had been quietly experimenting for years, but it seems pretty clear that Jose Canseco was the primary evangelist for steroids among big leaguers in the 1986-1992 era.

    During this period, we see a general decline in the number of African-American ballplayers, so that would be a strike against the theory. On the other hand, when the best African-American ballplayer, Barry Bonds, decided to get seriously into steroids, he hit 73 homers.

    It also seems likely that the over-the-counter availability of steroids in some Latin countries, especially the Dominican Republic played a role. It would seem like a great topic for some sabermetrician to research -- steroid sales in the D.R. from 1970-2000 -- but the stat guys seem amazingly averse to researching the general topic of What Just Happened?

    My impressions is that this era saw the end of the stereotype of the wiry Latin banjo hitting utility infielder to be replaced by the stereotype of the Dominican slugger, who tended to be very black, much blacker than Dominicans in general.

    It also seems likely that the over-the-counter availability of steroids in some Latin countries, especially the Dominican Republic played a role.

    I’m not so sure about this. I lived for a couple of years in the Dominican Republic, and while you can certainly buy many drugs there over the counter that require a doctor’s prescription in the US , there are controls on narcotics and so on. The kind of steroids that are used to improve athletic performance are not stock items in Dominican Republic pharmacies. In fact it can be hard to even find prednisone in most pharmacies, a steroid that have multiple legitimate medical uses.

    Of course it is possible that certain pharmacies in the DR may have special ordered them for athletes, but then again it seems that illegal steroid use is extremely common in the USA, and one just has to look at well known cases like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Flo Jo (most likely), Marion Jones, and possibly a very well known golfer who bulked up tremendously and was known for temper tantrums and hypersexuality during the most successful period of his career to see that even if steroids were not on the shelves in Walmart, there were ways of obtaining them in the US. If people were getting performance enhancing steroids in the Dominican Republic, or indeed if sprinters are obtaining them in Jamaica, then it is probably through illegal or under-the-counter routes.

  96. @Anonymous
    It's the big, muscular glutes, thighs and quads west Africans tend to have.

    Notice how they are not really good at medium and long distance events.

    An incredibly common feature for people of African descent is to have large thighs, but very slender, almost atrophied calves, unless they are race cyclists. I don’t know if this has anything to do with speed, but it is a very noticeable phenomenon when you look for it.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Horses and deer are built like that too. It makes for more speed than having more weight further out on the limb.
  97. @Jonathan Mason
    An incredibly common feature for people of African descent is to have large thighs, but very slender, almost atrophied calves, unless they are race cyclists. I don't know if this has anything to do with speed, but it is a very noticeable phenomenon when you look for it.

    Horses and deer are built like that too. It makes for more speed than having more weight further out on the limb.

    • Replies: @Ola
    Yes, small calves with high insertions and slender tibia are very advantageous for sprinting - and for running in general of course.

    The qualities of an optimal sprinter are typical of blacks, less common among whites and very rare among asians:

    Slender hips – Cause less body rotation around the vertical axis and as a result a more efficient running stride.

    Wide shoulders – Neutralize body rotation more efficiently.

    Particularly well-developed proximal leg muscles (seat and thigh) – On the one hand they contribute the major force of the running stride, on the other hand their location on the lever arm minimizes the disadvantage of large mass.

    Relatively small or at least highly located distal leg muscles (calves) – On the one hand they contribute a minor force of the running stride, on the other hand their location on the lever arm maximize the disadvantage of large mass.

    A large amount of muscle mass evenly distributed all over the body – Large cross-sectional muscles with a high share of fast muscle fibres (type II a and II x) are the most fundamental requirements to get a body to move as fast as possible. The muscles in the lower part of the body generate the majority of the force of the movement, but powerful arm action is needed to counteract the rotation that arises. Other, not yet well understood, advantages of a well-developed upper body are in my opinion likely.

    (Arms also contributes force during acceleration when posture is more horizontal and arms generate force in other directions when running with an upright posture)

    Very little fat mass – Fat tissue diminishes relative strength and is thus particularly detrimental to acceleration.

    Legs that are long in proportion to the rest of the body – gaining you longer levers without depriving you of relative strength.
    (Merely being tall provides longer levers, but also reduces your relative strength.)
  98. “But why do the athletes who are clean not complain about those who are not?”

    They do. And the press universally nails them as bad sports. Cf Greg LeMond re Lance Armstrong, Janet Evans re Molly Smith, Shirley Babashoff re the entire East German swim team, Joaquin Cruz re FloJo, and so on. It’s utterly unacceptable to question an athlete’s victory.

  99. @education realist
    This all got me thinking about steroids in the 70s, and vague recollections, so I started googling. First question was why wasn't there a dominant US sprinter in the 70s? And there was, of course, Steve Williams, whose injuries consistently kept him out of the Olympics. Williams said, back in 1989, that steroids were common back in the 70s, but they were primarily used to recover from injuries. Terry Bradshaw has said the same thing about the Steelers in the 70s, that players were put back on the field much sooner back then, and that steroids were necessary to recover. The first person I knew to say that he used steroids was Mark McGuire, who openly acknowledged using steroids in his 1998 run to the record. They weren't banned. Since then, of course, McGuire has acknowledged using steroids back through the 80s--and again, he said consistently that he used them to recover.

    So was that true, or were they already coming up with stories?

    I can't find any whisper of Bob Hayes using steroids, though. His problem was recreational drug use. Jim Hines, neither. And 1968 was an all black final, so were they all using steroids?

    I'm sure you know this, but Calvin Smith is probably the only clean male sprinter of the famed 1988 finals, and he finished 4th originally, then medaled when Johnson was dq'ed. Had Lewis been kicked out for clearly running outside the lanes, he'd have gotten second.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn't juice.

    In fact, I wonder if the theory doesn't work even better with black women. They apparently had to bulk up far more from a far weaker position. Johnson, Lewis, and the rest were already top tier. But I'm just speculating.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don’t think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Not to say anything about these individuals, but it was not uncommon for athletes to resist juicing for awhile, pay a major price for their principled behavior, and then eventually throw in the towel when nobody was doing anything about maintaining a level playing field.
    , @Wolfe
    Steroid accusations back then seemed to be aimed at Coach Bobby Kersee's athletes, such as his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Flo-Jo. I think Gail Devers was also coached by Kersee.
  100. @Andrew Jackson
    Even more than basketball, I think tennis represents pure athleticism.

    Maybe movement wise it has athleticism and hand-eye coordination, but it is certainly one of the more cerebral sports. Where you hit to, how you hit the ball, the trade-offs you make, how you respond to a particular opponent, all impact your success to a great degree. The regular psychometric g factor is as much an essential factor as any other particular factor. If you listen to the top male players talking after a championship or commentating, it is obvious that all those who have won a few grand slams have a lot on the ball intellectually speaking.

    This is IMO why Serena does so well, the women’s game is subject to physical limitations whereas the male game is not subject to physical limitations nearly as much. Monfils may be able to hit the ball very hard and run fast, but mentally he is out to lunch so often that he will never be a grand slam contender.

  101. @Triumph104
    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don't think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWqZCOBp-nI

    Not to say anything about these individuals, but it was not uncommon for athletes to resist juicing for awhile, pay a major price for their principled behavior, and then eventually throw in the towel when nobody was doing anything about maintaining a level playing field.

  102. @education realist
    This all got me thinking about steroids in the 70s, and vague recollections, so I started googling. First question was why wasn't there a dominant US sprinter in the 70s? And there was, of course, Steve Williams, whose injuries consistently kept him out of the Olympics. Williams said, back in 1989, that steroids were common back in the 70s, but they were primarily used to recover from injuries. Terry Bradshaw has said the same thing about the Steelers in the 70s, that players were put back on the field much sooner back then, and that steroids were necessary to recover. The first person I knew to say that he used steroids was Mark McGuire, who openly acknowledged using steroids in his 1998 run to the record. They weren't banned. Since then, of course, McGuire has acknowledged using steroids back through the 80s--and again, he said consistently that he used them to recover.

    So was that true, or were they already coming up with stories?

    I can't find any whisper of Bob Hayes using steroids, though. His problem was recreational drug use. Jim Hines, neither. And 1968 was an all black final, so were they all using steroids?

    I'm sure you know this, but Calvin Smith is probably the only clean male sprinter of the famed 1988 finals, and he finished 4th originally, then medaled when Johnson was dq'ed. Had Lewis been kicked out for clearly running outside the lanes, he'd have gotten second.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn't juice.

    In fact, I wonder if the theory doesn't work even better with black women. They apparently had to bulk up far more from a far weaker position. Johnson, Lewis, and the rest were already top tier. But I'm just speculating.

    Sorry, I posted the wrong video.

    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don’t think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.

  103. @Steve Sailer
    Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson, for example, are beautiful runners and their movies tended to feature scenes of them running. In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well.

    Something of an exception to that rule (at least as far as running) was Patrick McGoohan. Although he was good at boxing, and did his own stunts including Judo throws and such, running was definitely not his forte. But as brilliant as Gibson, if not more so. Consider that he created the concept, wrote many of the scripts for, and was the lead actor in “The Prisoner”.

    I remember reading the autobiography of Charleton Heston. I remember one of the three things he said were key for doing well at acting was physical ability/keeping in good physical condition. I think another may have been in selecting good parts.

  104. @Triumph104
    Evelyn Ashford is the only woman sprinter of the past 30 years I am pretty sure didn’t juice.

    I don't think Gwen Torrence juiced. She complained throughout the 90s that several other women were doing drugs, in particular Gail Devers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWqZCOBp-nI

    Steroid accusations back then seemed to be aimed at Coach Bobby Kersee’s athletes, such as his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Flo-Jo. I think Gail Devers was also coached by Kersee.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    What's the relationship between Bobby Kersee and John Smith?

    In general, in track history, UCLA and Santa Monica are warning signs.

    , @Brutusale
    They were also directed at Marion Jones' coach, Trevor Graham. Hey, where's Graham from?
  105. @Anonymous
    I read somewhere that one reason that Michael Phelps is such a good swimmer is (if I recall correctly) the size of his hands and (I think) the size of his feet.

    Certainly Phelps’ hand and foot size is a factor in his success. The biomechanics of swimming takes a lot of concentration and a lot of very detailed coaching; I’m not aware of another individual racing-type sport where coaching makes such a difference.

    The extreme lack of success of blacks in swimming is crying out for an explanation. My personal theory is lack of interest and lack of opportunity. Swimming at the elite level – being able to qualify for the US Olympic trials is a good benchmark – takes a year-round commitment at an elite swim club (high school coaches, and to some degree most college coaches, are vastly inferior to the elite club coaches; the exceptions are the elite college teams like USC, Stanford, Texas, etc., and you can’t get on those teams unless you have the elite club coaches as a teenager). Typically only one or at most two elite clubs can make it in a large metro area: Orange County has one elite club team, San Diego has one, Seattle has one, LA has maybe two or three, etc. They are not cheap, the parents are expected to do lots of volunteer work and come up with money for travel meets, the logistics of two-per-day practices are difficult unless the team’s main practice facility is right around the corner, etc. (I’ve seen a high school senior move in with a fellow swimmer and her family 40 miles from home so that she could be on the area’s elite club team, and it paid off – she missed the Olympic team by a whisker, but got a full ride swim scholarship to an major university. Wouldn’t have happened if she had stayed at her former team – the improvement from the elite coaching was that dramatic.)

    So my hypothesis is that there just aren’t enough blacks who (a) have the athletic ability, (b) are interested in swimming, and (c) have the logistical support to get on the local elite club team. But it’s just a hypothesis.

    And on the topic of athleticism: the 400 meter individual medley at the world class level is one of the most grueling tests of athleticism I’ve ever seen…

    • Replies: @Anonym
    To me, the buoyancy argument makes a lot more sense. Blacks typically sink in pools. They often drown in hotel pools. The reason is higher bone density and lower bodyfat percentage.

    People who don't have to fight sinking all the time have a far easier time both learning to swim and swimming in the first place. I say this as a white guy with high bone density and a propensity to sink. Swimmers have the same equations to deal with as do airplanes - Lift-induced drag and parasitic drag. Lift-induced drag doesn't just disappear because the swimmer moves forward. It decreases as a percentage of the overall drag but is not eliminated.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_drag
  106. @Wolfe
    Steroid accusations back then seemed to be aimed at Coach Bobby Kersee's athletes, such as his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Flo-Jo. I think Gail Devers was also coached by Kersee.

    What’s the relationship between Bobby Kersee and John Smith?

    In general, in track history, UCLA and Santa Monica are warning signs.

  107. @Psmith
    To be fair, I'm pretty sure it's a lot easier to make a good sprinter (or, even better--a guy with a huge standing vertical leap) into a good wrestler, swimmer, tennis player, etc., than vice versa. As I understand the argument, sprinting (and vertical leap, etc.) are expressions of one's general neuromuscular efficiency--that is, a largely unchanging quality highly correlated with success in basically every sport. "Sprinting is the G factor of athletics" does not mean "every sport requires you to run real fast in a straight line."

    I think that’s more because of the nature of sprinting, fast twitch, body type etc. In that it’s hard to make a random person into a good sprinter.

    However, from what I have seen, sprinting is quite a specific ability. The ability to run fast in a straight line, especially over 100m+, is quite a specific ability. Particularly the examples you mention, such as wrestling and weight lifting, do not necessarily favor the sort of build that is good at running in a straight line at the expense of having good lateral strength and balance.

    To be good at wrestling requires quickness, power, strength, grip strength, strong hips (thighs, hips, core), balance, coordination, lots of determination, never quit attitude, desire to dominate, and coachability. Top end speed in a straight line doesn’t come into it. In fact, if that is a trade-off at the expense of lateral stability and strength, it’s a downside. Someone who comes at you from only the front is going to get their balance shifted and all that forward force used against them by someone who is strong laterally.

    And swimming is another strange example to cite because low bodyfat high bone density is not conducive to swimming, where a less dense build that can maintain neutral buoyancy without wasting energy to generate lift. How many West Africans dominate at swimming?

    I would think a 10m-40m sprint (i.e. acceleration ability) would have more general application to most sports than the ability to be fast in a straight line for 100m.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    How fast is Lionel Messi? He's plenty fast dribbling a soccer ball, but how would he do in a 40 yard sprint at an NFL combine?
  108. @Anonymous
    "In general, movie stars are really good at doing physical things well."

    What I've noticed is that a lot of women who are very pretty and sexy (not slutty) seem to tend to be well-coordinated and generally athletic (not necessarily possessing jock level athleticism, but a general overall athleticism).

    Women who are great in bed are generally excellent dancers.

    I wonder if part of the jock’s search for a woman who is fantastic in bed is a way to select a mate who has similar coordination levels so as to produce similar children. I.e. are they/we really looking for great sex (something fairly shallow) or is it a search for a desirable male quality expressed in a different way in a female?

  109. @Anonym
    I think that's more because of the nature of sprinting, fast twitch, body type etc. In that it's hard to make a random person into a good sprinter.

    However, from what I have seen, sprinting is quite a specific ability. The ability to run fast in a straight line, especially over 100m+, is quite a specific ability. Particularly the examples you mention, such as wrestling and weight lifting, do not necessarily favor the sort of build that is good at running in a straight line at the expense of having good lateral strength and balance.

    To be good at wrestling requires quickness, power, strength, grip strength, strong hips (thighs, hips, core), balance, coordination, lots of determination, never quit attitude, desire to dominate, and coachability. Top end speed in a straight line doesn't come into it. In fact, if that is a trade-off at the expense of lateral stability and strength, it's a downside. Someone who comes at you from only the front is going to get their balance shifted and all that forward force used against them by someone who is strong laterally.

    And swimming is another strange example to cite because low bodyfat high bone density is not conducive to swimming, where a less dense build that can maintain neutral buoyancy without wasting energy to generate lift. How many West Africans dominate at swimming?

    I would think a 10m-40m sprint (i.e. acceleration ability) would have more general application to most sports than the ability to be fast in a straight line for 100m.

    How fast is Lionel Messi? He’s plenty fast dribbling a soccer ball, but how would he do in a 40 yard sprint at an NFL combine?

    • Replies: @Anonym
    That's a very good question, Steve. To my way of thinking, the ability to move, the coordination etc. as exhibited by Messi is more what I think of when it comes to athleticism than a 100m sprint for example. My guess is that Messi would do better in a 10m sprint than in a 40m sprint, and better in a 40m sprint than a 100m sprint relative to the general population.

    Sprinting does have more of a place in some sports. Wings in soccer and Australian football are the classic positions for guys who have great speed over 40-100m. But it's not the be-all and end-all. I am not sold on sprinting ability, especially of the 100m variety, as some sort of g factor for athleticism.
  110. I don’t know how to test that theory
    Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs are used to treat various illnesses and for rehabilitation in hospitals. Must be some (non-athletic) studies somewhere that can be used as a control.

  111. @cthulhu
    Certainly Phelps' hand and foot size is a factor in his success. The biomechanics of swimming takes a lot of concentration and a lot of very detailed coaching; I'm not aware of another individual racing-type sport where coaching makes such a difference.

    The extreme lack of success of blacks in swimming is crying out for an explanation. My personal theory is lack of interest and lack of opportunity. Swimming at the elite level - being able to qualify for the US Olympic trials is a good benchmark - takes a year-round commitment at an elite swim club (high school coaches, and to some degree most college coaches, are vastly inferior to the elite club coaches; the exceptions are the elite college teams like USC, Stanford, Texas, etc., and you can't get on those teams unless you have the elite club coaches as a teenager). Typically only one or at most two elite clubs can make it in a large metro area: Orange County has one elite club team, San Diego has one, Seattle has one, LA has maybe two or three, etc. They are not cheap, the parents are expected to do lots of volunteer work and come up with money for travel meets, the logistics of two-per-day practices are difficult unless the team's main practice facility is right around the corner, etc. (I've seen a high school senior move in with a fellow swimmer and her family 40 miles from home so that she could be on the area's elite club team, and it paid off - she missed the Olympic team by a whisker, but got a full ride swim scholarship to an major university. Wouldn't have happened if she had stayed at her former team - the improvement from the elite coaching was that dramatic.)

    So my hypothesis is that there just aren't enough blacks who (a) have the athletic ability, (b) are interested in swimming, and (c) have the logistical support to get on the local elite club team. But it's just a hypothesis.

    And on the topic of athleticism: the 400 meter individual medley at the world class level is one of the most grueling tests of athleticism I've ever seen...

    To me, the buoyancy argument makes a lot more sense. Blacks typically sink in pools. They often drown in hotel pools. The reason is higher bone density and lower bodyfat percentage.

    People who don’t have to fight sinking all the time have a far easier time both learning to swim and swimming in the first place. I say this as a white guy with high bone density and a propensity to sink. Swimmers have the same equations to deal with as do airplanes – Lift-induced drag and parasitic drag. Lift-induced drag doesn’t just disappear because the swimmer moves forward. It decreases as a percentage of the overall drag but is not eliminated.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_drag

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Last time I checked, Michael Jordan, with his super low body fat percentage, hadn't learned how to swim yet. He's been around swimming pools and golf courses a lot in his adult life: he loves golf but seems to find pools uncomfortable.
  112. @Lion of the Judah-sphere
    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    Sprinting is the general factor of athletic ability.

    No.

    Sprinting displays “explosiveness,” which is a very useful athletic trait, but it is neither necessary nor sufficient for many athletic endeavors.

    “Athletic ability” encompasses many physical factors (e.g. power, balance, coordination, endurance, etc.) as well as non-physical factors (e.g. distance-awareness/control, timing, grit, game/match/fight IQ, etc.). And then there are factors such as reaction time and accuracy that may be both physical and non-physical. Hence there is no one measure of athletic ability. The factors are specific to particular athletic endeavor or sport.

    It’s obvious that West Africans excel in sprinting, but that does not necessarily translate to many other athletic endeavors.

  113. @Anonym
    To me, the buoyancy argument makes a lot more sense. Blacks typically sink in pools. They often drown in hotel pools. The reason is higher bone density and lower bodyfat percentage.

    People who don't have to fight sinking all the time have a far easier time both learning to swim and swimming in the first place. I say this as a white guy with high bone density and a propensity to sink. Swimmers have the same equations to deal with as do airplanes - Lift-induced drag and parasitic drag. Lift-induced drag doesn't just disappear because the swimmer moves forward. It decreases as a percentage of the overall drag but is not eliminated.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_drag

    Last time I checked, Michael Jordan, with his super low body fat percentage, hadn’t learned how to swim yet. He’s been around swimming pools and golf courses a lot in his adult life: he loves golf but seems to find pools uncomfortable.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    I don't blame him. I think most buoyant white people (and they are the rule, not the exception) just don't get how difficult it is to swim for those who are not naturally buoyant, or even those who are neutrally buoyant. For me, with a moderate inhale I will be buoyant but if I exhale I sink. I will swim sometimes because it is about the best exercise for long term health one can do - it won't wear out your knees and hips like jogging.

    I can only imagine how even less enjoyable swimming would be if I was that little less buoyant. The other problem with low bodyfat is that with no insulation, unless you are in the tropics, the water is freezing.

    However, I enjoy sports and generally have a power/strength/quickness advantage over most people my size. My educated guess is that the physiology that makes me a poor swimmer is part of what makes me a good general athlete.
  114. @Steve Sailer
    How fast is Lionel Messi? He's plenty fast dribbling a soccer ball, but how would he do in a 40 yard sprint at an NFL combine?

    That’s a very good question, Steve. To my way of thinking, the ability to move, the coordination etc. as exhibited by Messi is more what I think of when it comes to athleticism than a 100m sprint for example. My guess is that Messi would do better in a 10m sprint than in a 40m sprint, and better in a 40m sprint than a 100m sprint relative to the general population.

    Sprinting does have more of a place in some sports. Wings in soccer and Australian football are the classic positions for guys who have great speed over 40-100m. But it’s not the be-all and end-all. I am not sold on sprinting ability, especially of the 100m variety, as some sort of g factor for athleticism.

  115. @Dave Pinsen
    You don't need PEDs to explain the difference. It's probably just a matter of those with the best nature getting access to the best nurture.

    When I was in football camp in the late '80s, one of the coaches talked about how the Russians did well in sprinting in some international competition due to plyometric training, but then everyone else started doing plyometrics and that edge went away.

    I don't know if that was true, but I do now that Russians were ahead of the curve in strength training for a while.

    When I was in football camp in the late ’80s, one of the coaches talked about how the Russians did well in sprinting in some international competition due to plyometric training, but then everyone else started doing plyometrics and that edge went away.

    I don’t know if that was true, but I do now that Russians were ahead of the curve in strength training for a while.

    In the early 1990’s, I became a big fan of fitness guru Pavel Tsatsouline, whose claim to fame was that he was formerly a fitness trainer to the Soviet Spetsnaz before coming to the U.S. He opened my eyes to the Soviet-style performance-oriented strength and conditioning training that hadn’t quite permeated the U.S. at the time (lots of Americans were wasting their time doing bench presses and bicep curls that created beach muscles but were not as functional for physical performance).

    I followed his advice, and my functional strength improved dramatically. There was indeed much plyometric training as well as high weight/low rep weight training, extreme range strength output training, including kettlebell exercises and one-handed military presses with barbells, and so on. They were all very different from what my previous trainers, coaches, and instructors taught me in the U.S.

    Back then, when I would do Judo and Jujitsu, some of my heavily muscular-looking training partners (they looked like bodybuilders) used to be surprised by my grip strength and the ability to generate power at the extreme outer edge of my range of motion. I had trained for what Pavel described as “wiry strength” (trim body, but functional strength specific to the sports) and when I sparred with these heavy-muscled guys, I was often able to overpower them (of course, I had my own comeuppance when training with the wrestlers from a major Midwestern powerhouse; they ragdolled me pretty easily and would often smash me with their superior athleticism and wrestling techniques).

    • Replies: @midtown
    I generally agree with your assessment of functional strength vs "show" strength. However, show strength does have one advantage, and that is simply that it is a show of strength. People are less likely to mess with you. Much less likely. I believe that many of these Michael Brown-style attacks on police would be avoided if the police had identifiable muscle on them. Many people respect muscle at an instinctual level. So some combination of functional and show strength is ideal for the real world.
  116. @Steve Sailer
    Last time I checked, Michael Jordan, with his super low body fat percentage, hadn't learned how to swim yet. He's been around swimming pools and golf courses a lot in his adult life: he loves golf but seems to find pools uncomfortable.

    I don’t blame him. I think most buoyant white people (and they are the rule, not the exception) just don’t get how difficult it is to swim for those who are not naturally buoyant, or even those who are neutrally buoyant. For me, with a moderate inhale I will be buoyant but if I exhale I sink. I will swim sometimes because it is about the best exercise for long term health one can do – it won’t wear out your knees and hips like jogging.

    I can only imagine how even less enjoyable swimming would be if I was that little less buoyant. The other problem with low bodyfat is that with no insulation, unless you are in the tropics, the water is freezing.

    However, I enjoy sports and generally have a power/strength/quickness advantage over most people my size. My educated guess is that the physiology that makes me a poor swimmer is part of what makes me a good general athlete.

    • Replies: @cthulhu
    All of the elite swimmers I've seen in person while they were in training (I've known several Olympic trials qualifiers and one swimming gold medalist) had very low body fat percentage. But I am not a good swimmer myself so I can't discount your buoyancy theory. I'm confident that access to good coaching plays a significant role though.

    As far as I can tell from observing a lot of pretty successful swimmers over several years, the formula at the elite level is about 50% genes, 30% coaching, and 20% other factors like nutrition, training program specifics (the best swimmers seem to have a good dry land strength training program), and the mental toughness to handle adversity.
    , @midtown
    This seems correct. Some people can practically float on top of the water. Both my wife and I sink like stones and have to constantly exert a lot of effort to stay afloat, although my current paunch is helping in that regard. But when I was in peak condition for dry land purposes (vertical about 35 inches, low body fat), I would struggle to complete a few laps in the pool -- and then the 65-year-old guy in the lane next to me would just keep going and going.
  117. @Anonym
    I don't blame him. I think most buoyant white people (and they are the rule, not the exception) just don't get how difficult it is to swim for those who are not naturally buoyant, or even those who are neutrally buoyant. For me, with a moderate inhale I will be buoyant but if I exhale I sink. I will swim sometimes because it is about the best exercise for long term health one can do - it won't wear out your knees and hips like jogging.

    I can only imagine how even less enjoyable swimming would be if I was that little less buoyant. The other problem with low bodyfat is that with no insulation, unless you are in the tropics, the water is freezing.

    However, I enjoy sports and generally have a power/strength/quickness advantage over most people my size. My educated guess is that the physiology that makes me a poor swimmer is part of what makes me a good general athlete.

    All of the elite swimmers I’ve seen in person while they were in training (I’ve known several Olympic trials qualifiers and one swimming gold medalist) had very low body fat percentage. But I am not a good swimmer myself so I can’t discount your buoyancy theory. I’m confident that access to good coaching plays a significant role though.

    As far as I can tell from observing a lot of pretty successful swimmers over several years, the formula at the elite level is about 50% genes, 30% coaching, and 20% other factors like nutrition, training program specifics (the best swimmers seem to have a good dry land strength training program), and the mental toughness to handle adversity.

  118. @Wolfe
    Right team, wrong Washington. It was Herb Washington who was the "designated runner." Claudell Washingon was a real baseball player, while Herb was a track athlete and the world record holder in the 50 and 60 yard dashes. He never did make an Olympic team, however. One of his most well-known moments was getting picked off in the 1974 World Series. His Topps baseball card called his position "pinch runner."

    Yes, Herb Washington; and it was around the same year. Thanks.

  119. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6650717

    This was in 1983 but 12% for males is not a low bf% for an athlete. It may be lower now. Perhaps bone density also plays a part in being buoyant or not at low bf %.

    That being said, having to work hard just to tread water and being too cold is a major barrier to learning swimming. I can see that if you were naturally buoyant with some insulation, you could be comfortable enough to get good enough at swimming where being neutrally or negatively buoyant was less an issue.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's probably a cultural thing for blacks: the boys sink (Joe Frazier almost drowned in an early episode of "Superstars" on ABC Sports), the girls mess up their hair-dos, it's not as fun as it is for others. It's precisely because black youths tend to sink that they especially need swimming lessons, but it's because they need them that they don't find them as cool.
  120. @Anonym
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6650717

    This was in 1983 but 12% for males is not a low bf% for an athlete. It may be lower now. Perhaps bone density also plays a part in being buoyant or not at low bf %.

    That being said, having to work hard just to tread water and being too cold is a major barrier to learning swimming. I can see that if you were naturally buoyant with some insulation, you could be comfortable enough to get good enough at swimming where being neutrally or negatively buoyant was less an issue.

    It’s probably a cultural thing for blacks: the boys sink (Joe Frazier almost drowned in an early episode of “Superstars” on ABC Sports), the girls mess up their hair-dos, it’s not as fun as it is for others. It’s precisely because black youths tend to sink that they especially need swimming lessons, but it’s because they need them that they don’t find them as cool.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    That's interesting, and makes sense.

    https://depts.washington.edu/bonebio/bonAbout/race.html

    I was about 1std dev higher in bone density than other males of my demographic, or about 100 of whatever units in the linked graph are. That places me somewhat below the black mean. If I found swimming tough, most black kids would find it tougher than I did.

    One other factor is the bone mass or volume itself. My bones are fine. If someone had thick, dense bones it would be a recipe for sinking. But I don't know how that proportion maps out for races.
    , @Anon
    Culture has little to do with it. Black kids love pools, I see lots of them in hotel and resort pools.
    But when you are talking about elite swimming, the critical variables that determine speed in water are buoyancy, length of torso (the longer the "hull", the speedier the boat, ceteris paribus) , size of the hands and feet, technique, and, for distances beyond sprint (roughly 50 M), endurance. Most great swimmers (e.g. Phelps) are relatively tall with disproportionately long torsos, broad/large hands and feet, do not have very low bodyfat %, and have both power and endurance (and great technique, of course, which is a must).
    West Africans, boys especially, tend not to have good buoyancy because of extremely low BF% (just check out the NBA and NFL predraft combine measurables), high bone density (measured by DEXA scans), narrow hips, and relatively short torsos and long legs. Their hands tend to be long, but not broad. And, as is well known, they tend not to have great endurance because of adaptations related to malaria resistance. These are not qualities favorable to elite swimming. Though there is currently an elite female black swimmer - perhaps she has an atypical body type and/or is not West African.
    These same West African physical characteristics lend themselves to sprinting and sports requiring short bursts of power, such as basketball and the defensive positions in American football.
    In soccer, they tend to excel in positions that require sprinting, such as center forward or left/right back, and less in midfield, which requires a lot of middle-distance running,

    Someone mentioned their skinny calves - this is the result of having extremely long Achilles tendons, which, combined with fast-twitch gastrocnemius, quad, and hamstring muscles, give them the springiness necessary for jumping and sprinting (the lower bodyweight relative to height also helps, of course). Anyone who has played basketball against players of West African heritage knows how quickly they can get up for a rebound or block, and how they can do it repeatedly (an ability one basketball analyst called "rejumpability"). This is a sign that much of the rebound is generated by springy tendons.
  121. @Steve Sailer
    It's probably a cultural thing for blacks: the boys sink (Joe Frazier almost drowned in an early episode of "Superstars" on ABC Sports), the girls mess up their hair-dos, it's not as fun as it is for others. It's precisely because black youths tend to sink that they especially need swimming lessons, but it's because they need them that they don't find them as cool.

    That’s interesting, and makes sense.

    https://depts.washington.edu/bonebio/bonAbout/race.html

    I was about 1std dev higher in bone density than other males of my demographic, or about 100 of whatever units in the linked graph are. That places me somewhat below the black mean. If I found swimming tough, most black kids would find it tougher than I did.

    One other factor is the bone mass or volume itself. My bones are fine. If someone had thick, dense bones it would be a recipe for sinking. But I don’t know how that proportion maps out for races.

  122. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    It's probably a cultural thing for blacks: the boys sink (Joe Frazier almost drowned in an early episode of "Superstars" on ABC Sports), the girls mess up their hair-dos, it's not as fun as it is for others. It's precisely because black youths tend to sink that they especially need swimming lessons, but it's because they need them that they don't find them as cool.

    Culture has little to do with it. Black kids love pools, I see lots of them in hotel and resort pools.
    But when you are talking about elite swimming, the critical variables that determine speed in water are buoyancy, length of torso (the longer the “hull”, the speedier the boat, ceteris paribus) , size of the hands and feet, technique, and, for distances beyond sprint (roughly 50 M), endurance. Most great swimmers (e.g. Phelps) are relatively tall with disproportionately long torsos, broad/large hands and feet, do not have very low bodyfat %, and have both power and endurance (and great technique, of course, which is a must).
    West Africans, boys especially, tend not to have good buoyancy because of extremely low BF% (just check out the NBA and NFL predraft combine measurables), high bone density (measured by DEXA scans), narrow hips, and relatively short torsos and long legs. Their hands tend to be long, but not broad. And, as is well known, they tend not to have great endurance because of adaptations related to malaria resistance. These are not qualities favorable to elite swimming. Though there is currently an elite female black swimmer – perhaps she has an atypical body type and/or is not West African.
    These same West African physical characteristics lend themselves to sprinting and sports requiring short bursts of power, such as basketball and the defensive positions in American football.
    In soccer, they tend to excel in positions that require sprinting, such as center forward or left/right back, and less in midfield, which requires a lot of middle-distance running,

    Someone mentioned their skinny calves – this is the result of having extremely long Achilles tendons, which, combined with fast-twitch gastrocnemius, quad, and hamstring muscles, give them the springiness necessary for jumping and sprinting (the lower bodyweight relative to height also helps, of course). Anyone who has played basketball against players of West African heritage knows how quickly they can get up for a rebound or block, and how they can do it repeatedly (an ability one basketball analyst called “rejumpability”). This is a sign that much of the rebound is generated by springy tendons.

  123. @Steve Sailer
    Horses and deer are built like that too. It makes for more speed than having more weight further out on the limb.

    Yes, small calves with high insertions and slender tibia are very advantageous for sprinting – and for running in general of course.

    The qualities of an optimal sprinter are typical of blacks, less common among whites and very rare among asians:

    Slender hips – Cause less body rotation around the vertical axis and as a result a more efficient running stride.

    Wide shoulders – Neutralize body rotation more efficiently.

    Particularly well-developed proximal leg muscles (seat and thigh) – On the one hand they contribute the major force of the running stride, on the other hand their location on the lever arm minimizes the disadvantage of large mass.

    Relatively small or at least highly located distal leg muscles (calves) – On the one hand they contribute a minor force of the running stride, on the other hand their location on the lever arm maximize the disadvantage of large mass.

    A large amount of muscle mass evenly distributed all over the body – Large cross-sectional muscles with a high share of fast muscle fibres (type II a and II x) are the most fundamental requirements to get a body to move as fast as possible. The muscles in the lower part of the body generate the majority of the force of the movement, but powerful arm action is needed to counteract the rotation that arises. Other, not yet well understood, advantages of a well-developed upper body are in my opinion likely.

    (Arms also contributes force during acceleration when posture is more horizontal and arms generate force in other directions when running with an upright posture)

    Very little fat mass – Fat tissue diminishes relative strength and is thus particularly detrimental to acceleration.

    Legs that are long in proportion to the rest of the body – gaining you longer levers without depriving you of relative strength.
    (Merely being tall provides longer levers, but also reduces your relative strength.)

  124. @Anonym
    I don't blame him. I think most buoyant white people (and they are the rule, not the exception) just don't get how difficult it is to swim for those who are not naturally buoyant, or even those who are neutrally buoyant. For me, with a moderate inhale I will be buoyant but if I exhale I sink. I will swim sometimes because it is about the best exercise for long term health one can do - it won't wear out your knees and hips like jogging.

    I can only imagine how even less enjoyable swimming would be if I was that little less buoyant. The other problem with low bodyfat is that with no insulation, unless you are in the tropics, the water is freezing.

    However, I enjoy sports and generally have a power/strength/quickness advantage over most people my size. My educated guess is that the physiology that makes me a poor swimmer is part of what makes me a good general athlete.

    This seems correct. Some people can practically float on top of the water. Both my wife and I sink like stones and have to constantly exert a lot of effort to stay afloat, although my current paunch is helping in that regard. But when I was in peak condition for dry land purposes (vertical about 35 inches, low body fat), I would struggle to complete a few laps in the pool — and then the 65-year-old guy in the lane next to me would just keep going and going.

  125. @Twinkie

    When I was in football camp in the late ’80s, one of the coaches talked about how the Russians did well in sprinting in some international competition due to plyometric training, but then everyone else started doing plyometrics and that edge went away.

    I don’t know if that was true, but I do now that Russians were ahead of the curve in strength training for a while.
     
    In the early 1990's, I became a big fan of fitness guru Pavel Tsatsouline, whose claim to fame was that he was formerly a fitness trainer to the Soviet Spetsnaz before coming to the U.S. He opened my eyes to the Soviet-style performance-oriented strength and conditioning training that hadn't quite permeated the U.S. at the time (lots of Americans were wasting their time doing bench presses and bicep curls that created beach muscles but were not as functional for physical performance).

    I followed his advice, and my functional strength improved dramatically. There was indeed much plyometric training as well as high weight/low rep weight training, extreme range strength output training, including kettlebell exercises and one-handed military presses with barbells, and so on. They were all very different from what my previous trainers, coaches, and instructors taught me in the U.S.

    Back then, when I would do Judo and Jujitsu, some of my heavily muscular-looking training partners (they looked like bodybuilders) used to be surprised by my grip strength and the ability to generate power at the extreme outer edge of my range of motion. I had trained for what Pavel described as "wiry strength" (trim body, but functional strength specific to the sports) and when I sparred with these heavy-muscled guys, I was often able to overpower them (of course, I had my own comeuppance when training with the wrestlers from a major Midwestern powerhouse; they ragdolled me pretty easily and would often smash me with their superior athleticism and wrestling techniques).

    I generally agree with your assessment of functional strength vs “show” strength. However, show strength does have one advantage, and that is simply that it is a show of strength. People are less likely to mess with you. Much less likely. I believe that many of these Michael Brown-style attacks on police would be avoided if the police had identifiable muscle on them. Many people respect muscle at an instinctual level. So some combination of functional and show strength is ideal for the real world.

  126. @gcochran
    "gave the diaspora a founder effect."


    Almost certainly not, to any significant degree.

    I would think that carrying away a couple million people out of say 100 million with a mortality rate probably exceeding 20% in transit, a 10% mortality rate upon arrival and maybe a 1% mortality rate in the work, would give a good argument for a founder effect.

    But since you disagree, please do point out why.

  127. @Wolfe
    Steroid accusations back then seemed to be aimed at Coach Bobby Kersee's athletes, such as his wife, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Flo-Jo. I think Gail Devers was also coached by Kersee.

    They were also directed at Marion Jones’ coach, Trevor Graham. Hey, where’s Graham from?

  128. I generally agree with your assessment of functional strength vs “show” strength. However, show strength does have one advantage, and that is simply that it is a show of strength. People are less likely to mess with you. Much less likely. I believe that many of these Michael Brown-style attacks on police would be avoided if the police had identifiable muscle on them. Many people respect muscle at an instinctual level. So some combination of functional and show strength is ideal for the real world.

    In my experience, “show” muscles don’t dissuade attacks. A certain “vibe” does. Even little guys who have that “fierce” look (“Sure, go ahead and kill me, I’ll make sure you never walk again before I die”) don’t attract attacks. As Napoleon allegedly said, “the moral (morale/psychological) is to physical as three is to one.”

    In the Michael Brown case, he attacked the police officer who was in his vehicle originally. I doubt Brown saw Officer Wilson’s musculature before he started the attack.

  129. @Steve Sailer
    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn't been demonstrated yet.

    Steve Sailer –

    My guess is that there is some relationship between skulls and pelvises, but that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

    Fitting the skull through the pelvis in childbirth?

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