Or perform at all (social consideration).
Talent identification in Cuba takes place in schools based on performance in testing sessions and competitions, and talented athletes are sent to “Escuelas de Iniciacion Deportiva Escolar” (EIDE), or Schools for Initiation into Scholastic Sport, to develop them as high performance athletes.
Here is what I think about this issue:
Physical traits that are determined by a number of interacting genetic and environmental factors (e.g. height, speed) are distributed normally (Gaussian) in biological populations. What we do know from historical evidence is that people of west African descent are much more likely to become world class sprinters than people of other ethnicities. In some cases, such as Nigeria, this is seen in spite of “less than optimal” training conditions, suggesting that genetics are more important than environmental factors here. This could either be due to the “mean speed” of this population being higher than that for, say, east African populations, or because there is more variability in these populations (e.g. the curve has a lower peak and broader shoulders). If the second was the case, there should also be more “super slow” people in the population that has a larger proportion of “super fast” people. I’m not sure which one is true, but my feeling would be that it is the first, because while they don’t seem to produce any world class short sprinters, east Africans are exceptionally good at endurance based events. I don’t think anyone here would question that a predisposition to speed events is mutually exclusive with a predisposition to endurance events.
In any case, none of these two options exclude the possibility of people of non-west African descent developing into sub-10s sprinters (see Patrick Johnson), it just makes it statistically less likely. I would thus echo Charlie’s and Pierrejean’s concern that people of any background should be allowed and supported to develop their talents rather than being excluded because they are not of the right ethnicity.
I appreciate the long and detailed post you have made. You do raise some good points.
Why Sharmer, do you feel the need to extensively study in literature, what your own eyes can tell you via basic observation and perception? What is your motive?
I simply seek what is true.
Usain Bolt has the hip width of a fourteen year old boy and the strength of an Olympian. Surely this gives him an allmighty advantage at controlling hip rotation than say; yourself. Look at black peoples’ noses. They tend to be wider. The theory is that the white person has had more time to adapt to the colder European environment, whereby a narrow nose warms up the air a little better as it passes through the nose…
Your pointing to athropometic variations. I don’t deny them, however biomechanical and physiological factors are just as important. Performance is mult-faceted.
why is that offensive to some people?
What is it you are concerned about? Political correctness?
I don’t have personal feelings on the issue of racial variations.I just think the arguements put forward are not really that strong.
You refer to Usain Bolt & there are other elite male sprinters that you could use as examples. This is 0.00001 % representation of the overall race. It’s not fair to draw conclusions about an entire race based on a few elite performers. On the balance of probabilities from the evidence available is race a factor in sport in general? no. Is it possible that small groups with a particular race may have genetic predisposition for certain sports ? This is much more probable, much like the Kalenjin dominance of middle distance running in Kenya & success of Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria in sprint events. Its not the entire race- just smaller groups within the race. But even this theory has it’s weak points.
Pierrejean-I would your to know your thoughts on this?
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA GROUP
I. Capoid or Khoisanid Subspecies of southern Africa
A. Khoid (Hottentot) race
B. Sanid (Bushmen) race
II. Congoid Subspecies of sub-Saharan Africa
A. Central Congoid race (Geographic center and origin in the Congo river basin)
1. Palaecongoid subrace (the Congo river basin: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Angola)
2. Sudanid subrace (western Africa: Niger, Mali, Senegal, Guinea)
3. Nilotid subrace (southern Sudan; the ancient Nubians were of this subrace)
4. Kafrid or Bantid subrace (east and south Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Natal)
B. Bambutid race (African Pygmies)
C. Aethiopid race (Ethiopia, Somalia; hybridized with Caucasoids)
Palaecongoid sub-race is the only sub-race we should take into account when discussing this subject.
Good posts- I will researching the information you have provided for a while.
There’s no such thing in Nigeria.
This is the list of sub10 Nigerian sprinters and their ethnic names
9.85 Fasuba : Yoruba + Jamaica
9.86 Obikwelu : Ibo (now running for Portugal)
9.92 Ogunkoya : Yoruba
9.94 Ezinwa : Ibo
9.95 Adeniken : Yoruba
9.95 Aliu : Edo + Yoruba
9.97 Emedolu : Ibo
9.98 Effiong : Calabar
9.99 Francis : can’t remember (now running for Qatar)
I don’t know, but I wonder if the number of white athletes who are paying lots of money for swim club at a young age is more than the number of black athletes who are paying lots of money for swim club at a young age.
Who knows why the Asians dominate chess. Is it because of cultural reasons or more opurtunity for education or perhaps they might have more of whatever you need, that can also help the game of chess.
They don’t. Check out the FIDE top lists and check the nationality of the two competitors contesting the WCs in the last 50 years. Check out who is doing well in the Olympiad. There is no Asian dominance, or even a particular strength. Except for Vishy, and China’s 2nd place finish a couple years ago at the Olympiad, most of the Asian results are from former USSR republics.
There are lots of high quality clubs (age-group level) that produce swimmers that go on to be All-Americans year after year that charge little to nothing if the kid does not have the means. On the other side, Pop Warner football (when I played at least) charged EVERYBODY, regardless of means, a substantial fee to participate and then more for uniforms, etc.
People are also forgetting that there are tons of black athletes that come from well-to-do backgrounds and never have had financial hardships to speak of. Xavier Carter, anybody?
I meant on a global scale. How many swimming pools are there in Africa? How many Ice Hockey rinks are there in the Caribbean?
That’s true, but you could say that for pretty much everywhere outside of the US and Australia. Europe on the whole does not exactly produce tons of WR caliber swimmers as compared to the US or Australia. There is a reason why the majority of elite athletes come to the NCAA for swimming (see the South Africans as a great example of this).
I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my post Sharmer.
I am also a seeker of truth. Here is my take and some of it comes from hunch and instinct (which the self should not completely ignore, as often the hunches and instincts are backed up and/or quantified at a later date.)
Though I deffinately believe some have a slight physical predisposition advantage, I still believe that the ‘potential’ of an athlete can be so very different to their starting point. We have heard of sprinters and athletes who barely improved at all from age fifteen onwards, and then their are others who improved several seconds, their hundred meter times.
Still the biggest influance in hundred meter speed is gravity. (people run slower on the moon, than on earth, infact, it is allmost impossible to run on the moon, because of its very low gravity. Ofcourse, you can jump very high on the moon.)
Slight adjustments in posture allow you to increase your speed as gravity takes a better hold of the diss-placed c.o.m. Now Joe Bloggs is working with the same gravity as Usain Bolt.
Joe has slightly differant anatomical proportions, and slightly different ratio of fast to slow fibers and MU recruitment, and slightly lower insertion points than the top sprinters. But the differance is only slight. Valery Borsov apparently had 65% fast twitch fiber. Most of his opponents had higher ratios of fast fiber to slow fiber, and still, he beat them. He was trained
smarter, and if the Munich track had cured better, and wasn’t so crap, he might have run 9.9 seconds. He allmost certainly had the capacity to do it. So I see the anatomical traits as only very slight advantages, and that they can just about be overcome, with serious training focuses.
I don’t rate the slightly longer achilles as being a huge advantage. Ofcourse, if your lower leg is especially short, like some 5 foot 6 inch white pro bodybuilders, then you probably aint ever going to bust a 9.9 second meters. But if you have longer lower leg than that amongst other factors, you don’t necesarily need the very high calf of say Francis Abikwelu.
The center of mass is moving forwards too quickly for the achilles to be responsible for that speed of plantar flexion. I don’t see the heel as pushing away from the ground, I see it as simply leaving the ground and being pulled away from the ground by the whole body which is being pulled along by gravity. Your achilles merely needs to be strong enough to not get injured, and not much else. I could babble on but I think you get my point. I personally feel that their are differences, but that the differances are only slight. One can not also overlook the ‘bias’ in athlete selection in different sports, as being yet another factor.
Here’s something interesting. A study was done, and was done cleverly in a way that the participants (judges) didn’t know the point of the study untill afterwards.
In Gymnastics, the white girls were given a very slightly higher points in some categries of the ‘presentation’ aspect. Conversely, in Boxing,. the black boxers were awarded very slightly higher points, even though apon further examination , did not statistically fare any better than their white opponents in the particular boxing matches studied.
What happens, is that there may be slight advantages, but then people become biased and actually give momentum to these factors instead of finding ways to bridge the original (albeit very small) gap in genetic dispostion from one person/race, to another. However, I cannot pretend that there is absolutely no differances, because my eyes tell me there are. But the differances are acute, and do not account fully, for all the dominace of different races in different sports.
As a side note: one of the swimmers in the U.S.A record breaking swimming relay team was black. He had to be seriously fast to be on the same team as Michael Phelps. He obviously didn’t care that the slightly less dense white athletes body is maybe a few % more boyuant in the leg area. He still learnt to keep his whole body flat in the water, which some black athletes find a little challanging initially.
Goose your quote above intrigues me. What evidence is this based on? As far as I’m aware running races on the moon have been pretty scarce, and who is to say that athletes might not be able to cover the distance much faster than on earth as far few strides would be required? It might not look like running as we are used to but then again 10yrs ago I doubt many of us thought that an athlete would be running inside 9.70sec with less than 41 strides either. The line that “the biggest influence on 100m speed is gravity” needs to be backed up with evidence please…
When astronuats tried to run on the moon, they couldn’t. Gravity was not strong enough to pull them forwards. For that reason, they could not get to the next stride early enough, and it became hopping from one leg to the other, and was very slow.
If you stand something vertically on your desk, it should stay baanced, but if you tilt it enough to one side, it will have more weight on one side of the pivot point, than the other. And as gravity takes hold, there is nothing vertically under that side of the object to stop it from falling. It will fall over. If the leaning tower of Piza was not partially buried in the ground, it would fall over.
The above is what happens when we run. We slightly dissplace our weight, (especially in the acceleration phase) so that gravity can pull us forwards. What happens is that our reflexes are fast enough to catch us, by placing our feet on the ground, to stop us from loosing our balance. So our legs move backwards and forwards, ‘catching’ ourselves. It is safety reflexes, but also served a purpose to quickly escape things. If we put our feet too far in front, we will slow down (desireable if you want to avoid bumping in to something) , but if we dont put our feet in front of c.o.m, we can build the acceleration ( by not interfeering with gravity’s assertion on our momentum ).
There is no way we can create all of that acceleration momentum ourselves. Gravity is pulling us forwards, because we are allowing it to. (As a side note; this is why track athletes can ignore all the pilates and ‘balance’ exercises, that were designed for sedentry types.) If you had perfect balance, you would not go anywhere, and you would stay perfectly still. Fast running is “falling forwards quickly”, and I am not the first to describe it as thus.
Try the following experiment:Start in a standing potiion, and then jog forwards quickly, slow down quickly and imediately jog backward and then forwards. As you begin to jog forwards, it is much easier if you begin with a forwards lean, and when you try to de-accelerate, you will naturrally return to the upright position. If you try to stop very quickly, you will actually lean backwards. And if you try to reverse backwards quickly, you will also lean backwards in the first few strides of acceleration.
When you run, it is like your foot slipping on a banana skin (liek a in a cartoon) but the ground is the banana skin. So what happens is that the free leg swings forwards very quickly so that you can ‘catch’ yourself for the next propulsive stride. This is possibly the single most important action in sprinting as compared to other athletic endeavors. And so therefor; the hip flexor muscles, especially the psoas are of crucial importance to sprinting speed.
The ‘speed’ at which your leg pushes backwards on the ground is miss-understood. It is not realy pushing, so much as keeping you up, while gravity pulls you forwards. The speed at which your swing leg drives forwards, really influances the angle of support hip and leg and also its speed. It is not easy to describe. Charlie once said that jogging is running ON the ground whilst sprinting is running OVER the ground. The glutimus maximus muscles are not necesarily pushing your legs back against the ground. The gluteals are holding your torso upright (but not bolt upright like a soldier), otherwise you would lean forwards to much and hunch over. The hamstrings are not driving the leg backwards once foot is on the ground, so much as preventing the knee from buckling, so that you can quickly go in to the next stride.
Power is a factor. The more powerfull you run, the greater hip hieght, the less likely your foot will land in front of center of mass, and so the less you will interefere with gravities forwards pull on your deleiberately dissplaced body. Also, the more MU recruitment, the more musculoskeletal stiffness, and so the less ‘collapse’ when your feet strike the ground. But more than anything, the faster your forwards knee swing, the more you are being pulled forwards by gravity, rather than just driving away from it via hip extensors (vertical jump.)
If you were fifty times stronger, you would be able to run faster on Jupiter (if its surface was hard enough) than on earth.
So why don’t we maintain a constant and great forwards lean? Well for a number of reasons.
Firstly: the more the forwards lean, the less free you hips are, and the harder it is to have an open and ‘free’ long stride. And therefor: less chance of develpoing the level of musculoskeletal stiffness in the hamstrings required.
Also,there is slighltly less ability to cpe with and generate the required forces with a very pronounced lean, ad your foot will eventually return to striking in front of c.o.m and slowing you back down.
Top end speed, amongst other things, is using motor skills, to provide as little interferance on gravities forwards pull, as possible.
To get there, you need high accel, when feet can land behind the center of mass. In the first few strides of the race, the feet are landing obviously behind the body, and this ofcourse is where G-force is highest in the race. (Mass times acceleration.)
If you were to fall off a mountain, your first second of falling would be slower than the next second of falling, even though you are doing nothing physically to increase the speed.
When you accelerate in sprinting, especially at the beginning, gravity is taking hold of you and you have to do all you can to allow its own ability to accelerate your body forwards. (with power, quickness, spinal posture, hip rotation and its timing, relaxation, motor skills, physiology - energy etc…) otherwise you’ll collapse in a heap and you’ll ed up doing pilates or breakdancing on your ass on the ground.
You could write a whole book on this one concept, because everything feeds of everything else.
Just visualize Ben Johnsons first 60 meters in Korea. He ran like a propellar. Now imagine that propellar is being pulled along by an invisible cord (gravity) and this might be close to the feeling he had and also what I am trying to describe.
This is just how i ran my tempo runs tonight - before i read your post. I was visualizing a cord pulling my hips forward, creating neutral hip alignment, and doing so, it sucked me along so much easier, and like you said makes you feel like your being pulled along with the help of gravity. 100m tempo’s felt at least 20% easier and were 1sec faster
I don’t agree. Gravity does not pull us forward. Gravity pulls us down, which, due to having our foot firmly held on the ground and a pronounced forward lean, acts to rotate the body “forward” about the foot. The reason astronauts couldn’t run on the moon, I think, was due to the gravity not putting them back on the ground quickly enough for the next stride and friction problems (feet slipping on the ground when adjusting the stride), not because the gravity wasn’t pulling them forward. The stride frequency is atrocious, and so they couldn’t accelerate.
The main problem as I see it, is that the Normal force is too small for there to be a sufficient Friction force to keep the foot in place while pushing off. The forward momentum generated comes from the forward component of the strides in the accelerating steps. If a sprinter were to lean forward enough (at some ridiculous angle where their face is almost at the ground), they could still push forward without lifting too much off the ground, but their foot would slip because there isn’t enough gravity, so there isn’t enough friction. With spikes, a track, and no 100lb suit, it wouldn’t be as bad, but I still there there would be a lot of slipping.
For a distance race, I think the times could be considerably faster. While their acceleration would be pretty bad, their top speed would be higher. The stride frequency would be lower, but the stride length would be gargantuan. The runners have to adapt a stride that allows for a low and fast flight path, with what I envision being a nearly straight-legged ‘pawing’ of the ground.
I would be interested in seeing a bio mechanical study of the direction and magnitude of force applied to the ground over the course of a 100m race, in addition to the body angle during these foot strikes. I don’t agree with what you are saying (I think it’s close), but I don’t have anything to support it beyond my intuition.
Gravity has no horizontal component. It does not pull anything forward. Actually, both the earth and the athlete pull each other towards each other, but since the earth’s mass is infinitely (almost) greater than the athlete, the athlete moves toward the earth.
ALL horizontal propulsion comes from the athlete, unless you’re doing overspeed training.
Its not gravity pulling you forward its gravity pulling you down, and when you’re in proper hip alignment your foot acts as a lever to tilt you forward.
Take a hammer hold it by its base and allow it to fall. It would appear as if the hammer is falling forward but in reality its rotating towards the ground.
I believe, or at least I’ve been instructed, that proper hip alignment creates the sensation of being rotated forward, or even falling forward. This movement is by far the most efficient since gravity is helping in some capacity.
I think the three of you have miss-interpreted me. Ofcourse, even a six year old knows that gravity pulls downwards. You must think I’m still in nursery school. But if there was no gravity, you would not be able to run at all. Peeps are being pedantic about my phrasing.
If you lean your biro pen over, it crashes down to one side, and the longer the pen, the faster the velocity of the other end of pen as it falls. And how does it fall? Downwards? No, it falls in an arch. There is no way in hell we can generate all the force for 12meters per second velocity on our own. Gravity can only pull down things that don’t have a base underneath them. IF you accelerate with a forwards lean, you are going to accelerate quicker because gravity rotates you forwards, and if you get the right posture and feeling, you actually feel like you are falling forwards quickly. My phrasing is a simplification.
“Rainy”, you are correct, but I still prefer my phrasing, because without gravity, you’d not be able to run forwards. There is a huge amount of momentum, that simply wouldn’t be so huge without gravity. I think we are both correct, but we are using different phrasing. Ofcourse when you stand still, there is no forwards pull from gravity, but as soon as you start to lean forwards, you do not have to apply any force to fall further forwards with the rotation. If you catch yourself so that you don’t fall down, you will fall forwards instead (running.) Ofcourse, we are applying force as we run, so that we don’t collapse.
Unless you are the average child in America with a disproportionally large mass situated on their anterior midsection who is fed too much sugar and fast food as they sit complacently on the couch playing their video games as they’re PE department in school is being closed down in favor of holding more classes on how to speak about your feelings.
Just before the foot strikes the ground, the hips rotate away from posterior pelvic tilt, in to anterior pelvic tilt, and move even further in to anterior pelvic tilt when the foot is on the ground. I can only describe it as a cartoon character slipping on a banana skin, but where the ground has friction, we end up moving forwards. And with our diliberately dissplaced c.o.m and sprint posture, gravity is contributing a hell of a lot to the forwards speed. We are not pushing forwards when we get past the first several strides.
From there it is an act of simultainiously doing all we can to decrease braking forces by not interfering with gravity’s contribution to momentum, and creating the musculoskeletal stiffnes to prevent collapse.
The feeling should be of ‘catch up’. If the feeling was ‘push’, we would slow down and tense up right away. The hip flexors have a great deal to do with ‘meeting the invisible target’ ( up in front high -where you want your c.o.m to move ) and preventing drag by throwing the knee forwards after rear foot leaves ground. This helps the hip alignment so that our support leg can move backwards quickly amongst other things. The mass of the body above the knee and the speed at which you are allready moving will allways have far far more influance on the speed of plantar flexion, than the strength of the gastroc muscle. Even the achilles tendon is only developing to the level of sprint speeds you have worked at allready. It provides some elastic rebound, but not enough to account for all the speed. Once your c.o.m moves significantly in front of the foot, your heel is being pulled away from the ground, the calf MTU is not creating all of that plantar flexion speed.
I once ran in an 80m.p.h hurricane with the wind blowing me forwards. (for the sheer mad fun of it, in the middle of an empty road) I don’t know what the ground reaction forces were, but I did not get injured running at probably above world record pace.
I believe that most of us allready have the plantar flexion strength and achiles reflex speed to cope with world record pace, and possibly the hamstring strength, but we haven’t adequately developed all the other ingrediants. (I digress, but this is a reason why I am not a big believer in depth jumps and box jumps, as I think that type of strength is allready there.) I know we are steering off topic here, the main feature of the thread is an interseting and mature debate on white and black athletes and varying influances.
You are absolutely correct though, that hip alignment causes musch of the rotation and is of huge importance to sprint speed.