August 08, 2012


But nobody seems to care much. It’s hard to imagine corporate America pushing Galen Rupp as a role model the way they”€™ve pushed black swimmer Cullen Jones for a half-dozen years. It’s perfectly reasonable for corporate America to promote Jones to get the message out to black parents to get swim lessons for their kids to cut down on the horrific drowning rate among black boys. But it’s not as if whites are in such great shape these days that they don”€™t need role models, too. Wouldn”€™t it be great if increasingly obese and diabetic white kids from across America were inspired by Rupp’s achievement to try running? 

Q. Can Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre, who has the third-fastest time in the 200M this year (behind only Jamaican superstars Bolt and Blake), smash stereotypes by winning a medal in the 200?
A. Sure, Lemaitre is the first white man to run 100 meters under 10 seconds (and he did it without appearing to be massively juiced). But once again, that’s assuming anybody cares about a white guy doing anything because he’s white. And there doesn”€™t appear to be much evidence of that. 

If Lemaitre had entered the 100M, he likely would have been the first white to make the finals since 1980 (although he probably couldn”€™t have won a medal without a lot of doping). In theory, Lemaitre making the 100M finals would have allowed the world to celebrate diversity. For example, when Liu Xiang won a hurdling gold in Athens in 2004, he exclaimed (to no objections from the press):

It is unbelievable”€”a Chinese, an Asian, has won this event….It is a proud moment not only for China but for Asia and all people who share the same yellow skin color. Please pay attention to Chinese track and field. I think we Chinese can unleash a yellow tornado on the world.

Can you imagine if a Lemaitre or a Rupp said the equivalent? He”€™d be lynched from the nearest lamppost by an enraged mob of SWPLs. Everybody knows that celebrating diversity doesn”€™t apply to whites. 

Q. An NBC segment showed muscular American 100M silver medalist Carmelita Jeter working out under shadowy veteran coach John Smith on Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Is that a reassuring sign?
A. No. The Santa Monica-Venice area has been Muscle Beach since the 1930s and a hotbed of steroid use for a half-century or more. (In general, Southern California’s fabulous athletic history”€”such as O. J. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy and world record in a sprint relay”€”should come with a big asterisk.) 

Q. Why have long jumps gotten shorter over the years?
A. The most subtle reason might be that the Ben Johnson Revolution around 1987 drove a wedge between the 100-meter men and the long jumpers, who previously often did double duty. Before Ben Johnson, it was assumed that the best physique for both events was that of sprinter/long jumper Carl Lewis in the early 1980s: long and lean. But Johnson’s (later revoked) 100M world records in 1987-88 showed that lugging a seemingly absurd amount of upper-body musculature down the track paid off in the 100. Johnson got caught, but his lesson lived on.

Q. Why isn”€™t golf in the Olympics?
A. Professional golfers have traditionally been unenthusiastic about playing for free, unless it’s a time-honored team event such as the Ryder Cup, so repeated efforts to add golf failed.

Q. Why was golf added to the 2016 Rio Games?
A. Because before his troubles started back in 2009, Tiger Woods was feeling bored and patriotic and was thus up for the challenge of going for the gold.



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