The London Olympics are around the corner. Gold medalist and former world-class sprinter Michael Johnson has chimed in on why he thinks so many black athletes dominate track and field’s sprint races. In a word – slavery. Johnson told the Daily Mail’s Sally Beck he believes there is a “superior” athletic gene in the descendants of slaves. Johnson, who’s best remembered for his gold medal victories at the ’96 Atlanta Games, runs the Michael Johnson Performance Center, where he helps athletes train in track and field events. The comments, published last week, have the sports blogosphere buzzing:
Olympic legend Michael Johnson says a ‘superior athletic gene’ in the descendants of West African slaves means black American and Caribbean sprinters will command the sport at the London Games.
The Olympic gold medallist and BBC commentator said: ‘Over the last few years, athletes of Afro- Caribbean and Afro-American descent have dominated athletics finals.
‘It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?’
Reigning Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt was born in Trelawny Parish, Jamaica, where British Olympic boss Lord Coe’s plantation-owning ancestor George Hyde Park had 297 slaves.
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