Genes, Olympic Medals and Civic Nationalism

Fri, 24/08/2012 - 05:00
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By Dr Phil Edwards-Competitive sport now involves much regulation, measurement, science and technology – indeed Sports Science can be part of a university study and there has been special equipment developed for cyclists and others to help performance in a variety of sports.

There’s medical intervention too, including clinical monitoring of fitness levels, dietary considerations, awareness of possible cheating through drug usage, and many other modern aspects designed to give precision to the selection of the best performing athletes.

But is it not strange that one factor which could affect an individual’s performance – their genetic ancestry – is totally ignored?

In competitive sport, an individual’s physique and psyche both compete with those of another individual – that is self evident.

Of course, both factors will be dependent to a certain extent upon each individual’s present environment, their access to training facilities, nutrition and other cultural factors.

But equally, their genetic ancestry may well play an important part in their outcomes, but this is never mentioned.

Some observers may notice a disproportionate number of athletes of sub Saharan (ie black) African ancestry amongst the best runners and all round athletes (and in top football clubs too) but mentioning this is taboo.

In his book “Race, Evolution and Behaviour”, J. Philippe Rushton PhD, DSc, professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario quotes from Jon Entine’s book “Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We Are Afraid to Talk About It”, reasoning that – and I quote:

“Compared to Whites, Blacks have narrower hips which gives them a more efficient stride.

They have a shorter sitting height which provides a higher centre of gravity and a better balance.

They have wider shoulders, less body fat, and more muscle.

Their muscles include more fast twitch muscles which produce power. Blacks have from 3 to 19% more of the sex hormone testosterone than Whites or East Asians.

The testosterone translates into more explosive energy”.

Entine points out that these physical advantages give Blacks the edge in sports like boxing, basketball, football, and sprinting. However, some of these race differences pose a problem for Black swimmers.

Heavier skeletons and smaller chest cavities limit their performance”.


There are many other physiological, non-sport related differences between racial groups which are at least part due to ancestral, or evolutionary, DNA differences – for example, Type 2 Diabetes which develops when the body makes insufficient insulin, is more prevalent amongst people of Indian Asian ancestry, resident in the UK, than with Europeans or indigenous Britons.

The NHS is also short of blood donations for this same group, and lactose intolerance, caused by a shortage of the natural enzyme lactase is more common in people with Asian, African, Native American, or Mediterranean ancestry than it is among northern and western Europeans, again, genetic factors.

Whilst many of the politicians and the rest of the politically correct establishment glory in the large number of Olympic medals awarded to “Team GB”, surely these comparisons of athletic prowess made between the various competing nations but with no consideration of genetics, are flawed and meaningless, just as they surely would be if, say, cheating had taken place?

I would not go so far as to say that the Australian Olympic team should have been composed entirely of Aborigines (indigenous Australians), but this topic exposes civic nationalism as lacking in substance and fraudulent.

To quote Anthony Brown in his excellent book “The Retreat Of Reason” (on political correctness and the corruption of public debate in modern Britain):

“In the topsy-turvy politically correct world, truth comes in two forms: the politically correct and the factually correct.

The politically correct truth is publicly proclaimed correct by politicians, celebrities and the BBC even if it is wrong, while the factually correct truth is publicly condemned as wrong even when it is right.

Factually correct truths suffer the disadvantage that they don’t have to be shown to be wrong, merely stated that they are politically incorrect”.

We shall see....


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