The Fastest Ever White Man

Christophe Lemaitre - The first white man to run under 10s

Well, I said that it would never happen, and even that it could never happen, but on the afternoon of 9th July 2010 –  a white man broke the magic 10 second barrier in the 100m.

That man was 20 year old French Sprinter Christophe Lemaitre.

The 10 Second Barrier

Only 71 men had gone under 10s before him, the first being of course Jim Hines in 1968 when he ran 9.95s in the Olympic Final in Mexico City. Although it was run at altitude, where the air is thinner and constitutes an advantage in the sprints, the IAAF accepted the time, and would do the same today. To give you an idea of the difference it would make, had Bolt run his 9.58s time in Mexico City, he would have run 9.49s. Jim Hines adjusted time would be 10.03s, equaling his PB and World Record at the time.

Jim Hines, the first man to run the 100m in under 10 seconds, albeit at altitude.

Jim Hines ran under 10s in the 100m in 1968.

The next man to break 10 seconds, Silvio Leonard, did so nine years later, again at altitude in Guadalajara Mexico, his adjusted time would be 10.02s, which would have been a new World Record, were it not for the fact that Hines ran his at a higher altitude. Six years later, in 1983, it was broken again, but this time at low altitude by the great Carl Lewis with 9.97s. Discounting the high altitude runs, which sadly the IAAF does not do, that would be the first ever sub ten second run, and the world record.

Calvin Smith went on to be the fourth man to break ten seconds shortly afterward, with a world record time of 9.93s, again at altitude, adjusted it would have been 9.98s. After that the sub 10 second times came a little quicker, with four more men going under before 1990, one of whom was the first European – Linford Christie, although technically he was born in Jamaica. Between 1990 and 2000, 22 more men joined the exclusive sub ten seconds club, almost double the number of men ran sub 10s in the following decade (40),  and the 10s barrier went from being rarely broken, to expected.

In the 1984 100m Olympic Final only one man (Carl Lewis – 9.99s) ran  under 10s, by the 2004 final, only one man ran slower than 10s. Breaking the ten second barrier doesn’t hold the same prestige that it once did, but it is still an important barrier, particulary in Europe. Lemaitre is the first European to break the 10s barrier since his countryman, Ronald Pognon five years ago, and only the fifth European ever to have done it (Two Frenchmen, Three Britons).

The Fastest White Men

Technically, the first white man to run under 10s was actually Polish sprinter, Marian Woronin in 1984, whose time of 9.992s was rounded to 10.00s. Although there is quite a bit of doubt about this time as it was run on his home track, with the maximum allowed wind, and he had never run under 10.10s before, or since.

Indeed if you look at the top ten white sprinters list below, many of the top times are either at altitude, or lacking in credibility.

  1. 9.98 (+1.3) Christophe Lemaitre (FRA) 09.07.2010
  2. 10.00 (+2.0) Marian Woronin (POL) 09.06.1984 – Dubious
  3. 10.01A (0.0) Pietro Mennea (ITA) 04.09.1979 – Altitude
  4. 10.03A (0.0) Nicolas Macrozonaris (CAN) 03.05.2003 – Altitude
  5. 10.03 (-0.1) Matthew Shirvington (AUS) 17.09.1998
  6. 10.06A (+2.0) Johan Rossouw (RSA) 23.04.1988 – Altitude
  7. 10.06 (+1.2) Simone Collio (ITA) 27.01.2009
  8. 10.06 (+1.9) Frank Emmelmann (GDR) 22.09.1985
  9. 10.07 (±0.0) Valeriy Borzov (UKR) 31.08.1972
  10. 10.08 (+1.3) Ramil Guliyev (AZE) 13.06.2009

Valeriy Borzov beating American Bob Taylor into second place in the 1972 Olympic Final

Valeriy Borzov winning the 100m Olympic Final in 1972, American Bob Taylor was second.

For decades, the man most people considered to be the fastest white sprinter was Russian, Valeriy Borzov. Emmelmann may have run faster in 1985, but had Borzov had the same wind as Emmelmann, he’d have run 9.96s in 1972. Indeed had Borzov run his time in Mexico City, rather than in Munich, he’d have run 9.99s, as well as equalling Mennea’s 1979 World Record in the 200m (had Borzov run in Mexico City with the same wind as Mennea would later have, he’d have run an incredible 19.63s). Borzov truly was ahead of his time and unfortunate that he didn’t achieve more.

Then came Matt Shirvington in 1998, running under 10.1s three times in his career, the only white man to break the 10.1s barrier more than once. Until of course, Christophe Lemaitre, who now has more sub 10.1s times than any white sprinter, as well as the only sub 10s time, and who has also made Marian Woronin’s dubious time, irrelevant.

The World Record

As staggering achievement as it is for Lemaitre, the other top sprinters won’t be losing any sleep over it; as he said himself:

“This was my goal to break it of course. One has to run under 10 seconds in order to be part of the world’s best. I will be recognised as the first white man to run it, but today is mainly historical for myself!”

The likes of Bolt, Powell and Gay are still running nearly a quarter of a second faster (almost half a second faster in Bolts case), and so Lemaitre certainly won’t be challenging for medals any time soon. However the 10s barrier has long been more psychological  than physical barrier to most athletes, and once breached and out of the way, takes a little pressure off.  I don’t think that Lemaitre will go much faster however, he only has a couple more good years left in him, and I think it unlikely that he’ll break 9.9s, but then I said the same about the 10s barrier.

Sssh! Don’t Mention the Whites

Christophe Lemaitre running under 10s. Few people are likely to have noticed however, as it was barely reported outside of France.

It it worth noting that Lemaitre’s achievement has not even merited a mention in the press here, the BBC website’s latest story even mentioning Lemaitre is only a quick remark about him breaking the French record, and that has taken nearly a week to appear. Few other news articles mention anything other than the fact that he broke the French record, even the IAAF make no mention of the fact that he was the first white man to run under 10s.

This once again demonstrates the double standards that modern society seems to hold regarding race, a quick search of the IAAF site for ‘first black’ returns hundreds of results, from the first black African woman to win an Olympic title (Derartu Tulu – 1992) to the first black man to win an Olympic Medal (John Taylor – 1912), yet the same for ‘first white’, save for Lemaitre himself mentioning it, just returns lots of people named White, coming first.

It seems that the media falls over themselves to congratulate the first black (insert mediocre achievement here) on overcoming adversity, with regular stories on how tough ethnic minorities have had it really laid on thick. Take Obama for instance, if I’d had a pound for every mention of ‘the first black President’, I would be a billionaire. Yet it seems that no matter what the accomplishment, if it is made by a white man it is considered wrong to even mention it, as if by doing so we’d be at worst going back to the days of slavery and apartheid, at best demonstrating white racism.

The only example in the UK press that I could find any mention of Lemaitre being the fastest white man was at the Daily Mail site, yet even here they believe that merely by mentioning it they have sailed too close to the wind, and any congratulatory or joyful comments is a step too far and so they banned any comments.

This sickening self flagellation by well off, middle class, left leaning liberals is destroying community cohesion and driving disenfranchised white youths to people like the EDL and BNP, as that seems to be the only place they find any pride in being who they are.

This kind of ‘whites don’t matter’ attitude is the worst kind of double standard, ironically such double standards in regards to race is normally termed, racism.

125 responses to “The Fastest Ever White Man

  1. Bravo for Lemaitre and you too Charlie. I had just recalled your post and so came back to see whether you acknowledged that “it” has finally happeened.

    So Jim who had commented here picked the right man to watch. Good job.

    Now can Powell beat Bolt again. He only did it once. Today in Paris we will see. I doubt it though.

    • Thanks Dee.

      As predicted by Jim and others, Lemaitre certainly has turned into a sub 10s sprinter in just a couple of years. Bit of a disappointing run in Paris for him, but still yet another sub 10.1s run.

      Shame about Powell too, just never seems to have that little bit extra anymore.

  2. Charlie,
    That’s a very interesting and thorough analysis of whites and sprinting.
    However, with regards to whether white records should get more attention, file that under: Who cares? I get annoyed by the “first black” this, that or the other, too. But really, you’re just upping the ante in stupidity if this were too receive mass media attention.
    This issue should stay right where it is, a novelty for track nerds like us.
    Real, productive pride, comes from one’s personal values and achievements. It doesn’t come from something ginned up for a particular “community’s” benefit.

    • Thanks for commenting HDFOB.

      I take your point about going over the top and making too much of a big deal about it, but it does have to be weighed up against the positives of publicising these kinds of achievements, be it by blacks, whites, browns etc, and that is in inspiring the next generation of kids. School kids aren’t stupid, they would have seen that there are no white sprinters in the top flight (I think Lemaitre’s run in the Paris Diamond League meet is one of the few times I have seen a white sprinter in such events), and that means that 97% of Europeans kids would think that they could never be a sprinter, no matter how much Bolt achieves.

      So who cares? The next generation of potential sprinters.

      You can bet that once the first Asian sprinter (probably be Japanese) goes under 10s, it will be massive news in Asia, and rightly so, and they won’t feel guilty about it.

  3. “I don’t think that Lemaitre will go much faster however, he only has a couple more good years left in him”??? – the guy is only 20 years old and has an upright, herky-jerky style. With an American sprint and strength coach, I think he can definitely run 9.90 or better. So many other sprinters continued performing well into their early 30s (Surin, Christie, Fredericks). He’s got enough time to lower his times.

    • Hello Palos, thank you for commenting.

      So many other sprinters continued performing well into their early 30s (Surin, Christie, Fredericks). He’s got enough time to lower his times.

      This is going back to an earlier point covered in some of the other articles. Those sprinters you mention are black, black sprinters tend to peak at 25+ whilst white sprinters seem to peak before they are 25. Take the above list for example and discounting Woronin’s time and the altitude runs, Matthew Shirvington was 19 when he ran his PB, Nicolas Macrozonaris was 22, Emmelmann was 24, Borzov was 22 (and Johan Rossouw was 23). Only Collio (who was 29) is an exception to that rule.

      Hopefully Lemaitre will be an exception, but we thought the same about Borzov, Shirvington and Craig Pickering.

  4. I think Charlie is hedging his bets. He knows that Lemaitre has a lot left in him, but doesn’t want to come out and say it in case Christophe doesn’t reach his potential or he’s afraid the sons and grandsons of the bolsheviks who’ve created the whole anti-white mess in the West will call him a racist. As soon as we get the red diaper baby and grandbabies off our necks, the more honest things will be in all areas. Right now we’re ruled by the most odious old boy network ever created. A network run by the people who epitomize hypocrisy and evil. People so dedicated to brainwashing whites into believing themselves worthless that it took until 2010 for some white fella to break 10. Good thing he and guys like Jeremy Wariner still have some self confidence, not artificially induced self doubt.

    • But Paul, Wariner runs the 400 meters. Now, that IS outside of the usual range of white running prowess, that being the 800 to 1500, but it’s not like Wariner runs either the 200 or 100. I don’t know about all the nonsensical stuff about blaming the red diaper babies for holding down white people, but I do know there is nothing to be sad about. Evolution is a fact – and if there are difference in motor skills by race, then so be it. It is neither demoralizing nor emasculating.

  5. While it’s interesting to see someone of non west African decent break this momentus barrier in the 100m distance I’m curious to hear exactly what socioeconomic barriers were set in front of whites in the past that justify the sort of “first” accolades for any sort of accomplishment that minorities, in particular blacks, receive.

    If the peoples of the world had lived in complete equality for the last 5000 years nobody would really note the first [insert race here], other than possibly attributing something like “first American” or “first Brit”. However because minorities in general, and blacks in particular, have lived as second and third class citizens for much of our history it sometimes is a big deal that is worthy of noting when one of them does break down an additional barrier.

    • Thanks for commenting scH

      I’m curious to hear exactly what socioeconomic barriers were set in front of whites in the past that justify the sort of “first” accolades for any sort of accomplishment that minorities, in particular blacks, receive.

      Well, I would have thought that the social factors were pretty obvious. Firstly, there hasn’t been a white world record holder since Paul Nash, way back in 1968, nor a white man in an Olympic final since 1980, indeed I don’t remember the last white man in an Olympic semi final. 70 men have run under 10s, until Lemaitre, none of them were white. Alan Wells was the last white UK sprinting champion, in 1985 (and also the last white Olympic Champion). I don’t know of any white sprinter getting a decent sponsorship deal.

      You don’t have to be involved in athletics to see the adversity, and realise that most white potential sprinters are likely to be pushed into the 200m, 400m, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Decathlon etc, because they are perceived to be unlikely to make it in sprinting.

      However because minorities in general, and blacks in particular, have lived as second and third class citizens for much of our history it sometimes is a big deal that is worthy of noting when one of them does break down an additional barrier.

      That’s quite a stretch and a bit of misrepresentation of the facts. The slave trade ran from the 16th Century to the 19th Century, just 300 years, there were whole civilisations in Africa that rose and fell in the millennia before that. England for example suffered more than 1000 years of slavery, not including Serfage, in which most of the population were second or third class citizens.

      I don’t understand how you have formed the conclusion that:

      blacks in particular, have lived as second and third class citizens for much of our history

      So has every other race. Africa may have had many thousands of years of slavery, but by and large it was one black African Empire, enslaving another, just the same as everywhere else. You seem to be twisting a modern view of the world onto the whole of history, or at least the last 5000 years.

      Sure, blacks and other races may have suffered recently, but stating that it has been going on for most of your history, isn’t true. Most (if not all) races were dominated by people of the same race for the vast majority of their history, it is only in recent times that we’ve spread out enough to subjugate others.

      I understand what you’re saying about “First American”, “First Brit” etc, but it is not so easy to just cut off at a specific point. Whether we like it or not our idols represent communities and peoples from their families, right up to their nationalities. These communities can be made up of anything from geographical lines, skin colour, shared traits and myriad other reasons. I don’t think it is wrong to celebrate a first because of skin colour, anymore than it is a first for your hometown.

      • I think Charlie, you are missing ScH’s point about blacks being second-class citizens for much of our history. After Emancipation, the Black Codes, Jim Crow, and both de jure and de facto discrimination were major facets of racial discrimination in America. Blacks were not in the club. If they had been allowed in, they would have won the sprints back then too. I don’t understand what mechanism would have been in place to alter this given. It’s biological, and not about pride or humiliation.

      • I think, Charlie, that if young whites could sprint like the wind, they would be pushed into the 100 or 200 – but they don’t sprint well enough to compete at the elite level. They are then ‘pushed’ into other events where technique makes up a greater percentage of possible success. Technique,while certainly important in the sprints, is second to raw speed.

      • I think you underestimate how often this happens, and at what age. Take Greg Rutherford as an example, he is the current long jump Olympic champion, but it is a little know fact that he isn’t a bad sprinter.

        At aged 19 in 2005, his personal best was 10.38s at the 100m. That may not sound much, but he is the same age as Simeon Williamson, who had an almost identical personal best at that age but at that time Williamson was considered our top young sprinter. Rutherford made it to the final of the senior UK championship for the 100m in 2005 and finished last, Williamson didn’t even make it that far.

        Greg Rutherford, for whatever reason, didn’t run the 100m again for four years, by that time Simeon Williamson was the senior British number one with a PB of 10.03s. In 2010 Rutherford ran only his second 100m in five years and set a new PB of 10.26s. Again it may not sound much, but it put him in the top 10 UK sprinters for that year, and 42nd on the UK all time list. I don’t think he has run 100m since then, but one has to wonder what would have happened had he not decided (or been pushed) to stick solely to the long jump. Indeed, considering that he was equal to many of his peers who have gone on to be top sprinters for Britain, it begs the question why wasn’t he pushed into sprinting, if not instead of as well as, the long jump. It certainly didn’t do Carl Lewis any harm. Clearly it was decided he had no future in the 100m, the question is why?

        To throw some more stats at you; Rutherford is ranked 24th on Britain’s Under 20 all time list. Darren Campbell, former Olympic silver medallist (albeit at 200m) and former European gold medallist at the 100m is ranked 21st on that list. Tyrone Edgar (currently one of Britain’s top sprinters) is ranked 26th. Harry Aikines Areetey is ranked 20th (and another current top sprinter). James Dasaolu, who represented Britain at the 2012 Olympics in the 100m, doesn’t even make the U20 all time list as his PB at aged 19 was 10.75s.

        They all went on to become sprinters, but Rutherford did not.

      • I think it has happened (pushing whites into other events), but that can happen for a variety of reasons having to do with speed, skills, coaching quality…lots of things. It likely happens to blacks to some degree as well. But blacks are what, 2.5% of Britain’s population, and 13% of the US population? Yet blacks dominate – totally – a number of sports in the US, and are very very important on UK track teams – and football. This is no accident – this has to do with an inborn motor skill difference of long-standing. Is Poland, or France, or Germany, the Scandinavian countries, or Italy or Russia, Japan or China (let’s recall the racial pride of Asians discussion) diverting their fastest runners into the triple-jump? I hardly think so – they would give most anything to have the world’s fastest sprinters. Actually, we did see their best sprinters – they were almost all eliminated in the first round of heats. Who moved on? African and African-descended populations – whether from Grenada or the Netherlands, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic or where ever West Africans live. Wasn’t there an Ecuadorian in the 200 final? He was black. Actually, to be fair, I am exaggerating here – some of these countries were likely represented in the 400 or in hurdles. But I am sure if I go back and look at the 100 and 200 male or female sprinters, I will see a similar demography.

        Speaking of football (soccer that is), who makes up the bulk of the players from Persian Gulf states? The descendants of African slaves. Because of their advanced motor skills. I fully expect to see a time that both the British and French football teams are 90% African-descended – for this same reason. I look at the Latin American football teams at the Olympics – countries that have even moderate populations of Africans, have them on the team.

        So I think the Rutherford case, very fast he may be – or have been – is for the most part, anecdotal. It does remind me of an altogether different story. Back in the late 1950s, Mickey Mantle (perhaps the most potent combination of speed and power every seen in baseball, certainly among whites) remarked upon the acquisition of Elston Howard to play at the catching position for the Yankees. Baseball had begun integrating in 1946 but the Yanks were among the last to do so. Mantle said, “We finally get our first black player, and wouldn’t you know we get the only slow one.” Mantle was only half-jesting. (The catcher’s position is notorious for sapping the speed out of legs.) So this was understood in some circles six decades ago. In fact, anyone that followed boxing already knew this. And with each passing year, this fact became more obvious to all.

        The dominance of West Africans in running has its counterpart in the dominance of non-Africans in swimming. This too is biological. To the extent blacks are successful in swimming, it’s all in – you guessed it – free style sprints, the one event that depends most on raw speed and less on swimming technique.

        So I say, why resort to convoluted reasons as to why blacks excel in sprints and whites don’t? The real answer is in our genes – they do run faster than the rest of us – same as it ever was.

        It would be nice if we could find a conspiracy somewhere – but I hardly think we will. I think innate difference at the subspecies level is the natural condition of humanity.

      • So I say, why resort to convoluted reasons as to why blacks excel in sprints and whites don’t? The real answer is in our genes – they do run faster than the rest of us – same as it ever was.

        I used to subscribe to this theory and I suppose to a degree, I still do. Blacks are faster at a genetic level, but then if you follow this logically it starts to make less and less sense, for example, why are Jamaicans almost exactly the same amount faster than other blacks, than blacks are to whites? That seems illogical to me. Moreover if this sprinting ability is due to West African genetic heritage, why are West Africans so poorly represented? A Gambian made the 100m semi-final and set a new national record. He finished last, his time 10.18s, a pretty poor time for a white European but a West African nation’s national record! The fastest African (10.11s) was ironically a South East African (Zambian) born, British raised and based Gerald Phiri. If this dominance is really due to West African genetics, why are we not seeing more West Africans doing better. I remember when Olapade Adeniken, David Ezinwa and Frankie Fredericks all made it to the 1992 Olympic final in the 100m, all the talk was of an emerging era of dominance from the African nations. It never happened. Aside from the above three men, only one African has made an Olympic final since.

        One theory for the USA Caribbean/West Indian dominance over other blacks is that slavery bred in the best traits, but even that argument doesn’t hold water. Jamaica has a population of just 2 million, there are far more descendants of slaves in the US than in Jamaica (40 million), yet the US is barely getting a look in. Unless the British slavers had a far superior breeding program (although interracial breeding and marriage was surprisingly common!) it doesn’t explain the modern disparity between the US and Jamaica. Furthermore there are more Jamaican descended blacks in Britain, than in Jamaica, yet British blacks (of whom almost all are of Jamaican descent) have had practically zero success in the sprints, indeed the majority of blacks are running almost identical speeds to the few whites in the British team.

        More interesting still is that this era of Jamaican dominance, in which we have come to accept that the Jamaicans will always produce the best sprinters almost like a production line, didn’t begin until 2004. If this dominance, and clearly the 100m 1-2 (with a fit Powell it may well have been 1-2-3) and the 1-2-3 in the 200m has demonstrated that it isn’t down to just one or two athletes, is down to genetics, ergo being Jamaican, why can I only think of one Jamaican champion prior to Bolt? Don Quarrie, didn’t display this kind of overriding superiority. He did equal the 8 year old world record in 1976, and that Jamaican record stood for 13 years until broken by Ray Stewart, whose own Jamaican record set in 1991 (9.96s) stood for 13 years until broken by Asafa Powell.

        Are we really to believe that this amazing sprinting ability of the small Caribbean nation has lain virtually dormant all this time, until awakened by Asafa Powell? If so, why the 30 year stagnation? There has to be a reason for why Jamaica is producing so many sub 9.9s sprinters one after another, and why their sprinters are one or two tenths faster than their genetic twins.

        I am not saying that this is down to drugs, it is too simple, it may be a combination of factors, training methods, supplements, youth program etc. But something must account for the sudden dominance, I’ve only seen its like twice before, the East Germans in the 80s, and the Chinese middle distance runners in the 90s, both of whose records still stand and both of whose dominance ended very swiftly.

        Which leads me back to the point about genetic superiority, if genetically the Americans and Jamaicans are identical, why are the Jamaicans so much faster? Clearly it isn’t genetics and if the Jamaicans can find one or two tenths extra where they shouldn’t be able to, why therefore can’t whites, or Asians?

        As I say, I still lean towards blacks being faster due to genetics, but clearly genetics isn’t the whole picture.

      • I don’t believe that the Jamaicans are actually faster than other West African descended blacks. They’ve got the best times for now – and they have been extraordinary, but I would not dismiss doping as a possibility. Lax drug testing aside, sprinting is clearly the national sport for both men and women. And they apparently are receiving expert training and up to date equipment. I think, as you have suggested re Whites, that American blacks are diverted into other sports. I notice few to no Jamaicans outside of the men’s and women’s 100 and 200. Not even hurdles or the 400, nor the long-jump. I think West African countries are poorly represented because their training, techniques, conditioning, equipment – and diets are inferior. As well as being debilitated by tropical disease. Put them in Europe or America and they shine. We use the term West African as if Africa could be divided up neatly so that geography equals population group. There was a great Niger-Congo linguistic family migration out of West Africa maybe a millennia ago – Bantu speakers being the key group. These West Africans migrated down and across Africa replacing extant groups or intermarrying with them. Today’s Zambians are merely West Africans that migrated out long ago (plus some likely other genetic input from previous populations). I think Gerald Phiri is a West African with First World training and lifestyle – a potent combo.

        Yeah, I don’t quite buy the slave selection theory. If anything, to be flip about it, I would have thought it would be the slow ones that were caught and kidnapped into slavery. Right you are about Jamaica’s small population – almost a dead ringer genetically with the 80 times larger US black population, if perhaps marginally less European in genetics. I do think the Jamaican phenomenon is somewhat suspect. If it’s not due to drugs, then more power to them, but if it’s not due to drugs then it will blow over at some point. Indeed, Jamaican dominance is a recent thing – it may just be a blip. I see the Bahamas won the 4×400 relay, Jamaica no where to be found – the US beaten for second. So sprinting prowess is not just confined to Jamaica. Saw some runner from St. Kitts and Nevis – and then there was the Grenadan. Seems we are seeing the same things and interpreting them differently. The long ‘stagnation’ in Jamaica, I believe, was not so much a stagnation but a late awakening due to the some of the same reasons West Africans in Africa have not performed as well – training and technique deficiencies.

        I believe both the East Germans and Chinese were on steroids. That may be a factor – a quintessential difference here. Witness Flo-Jo, her running record still stands. I remember when she used to finish third – and then she vaulted to unbreakable record running.

        In sum, I’d say Jamaica’s success is due to genetics plus drugs or genetics plus running mania and improved training programs possibly coming out of attendance at US colleges.
        I think this is the simplest explanation inasmuch as the rest of the world is trying its darndest to fun their fastest.

  6. Lemaitre’s belly button must be higher up on his torso than most white mens.

  7. Borzov, correctly identified as Ukrainian in the “top 10 list” above, represented the Soviet Union in ’72 but was not Russian. It’s of interest to note that Borzov grew up in a far western part of Ukraine which formerly was part of Poland, the land that produced Marian Woronin. Belittling Woronin is ridiculos because he won several Euro sprint titles over a lenghty period. Like Borzov, Woronin won big meet races. Timing devices are subject to human error; head to head matchups deliver our great champions, and Borzov stands with the all-time greats!

    • Thanks Bill, but old habits die hard. When he was running for the Soviet Union, he was a Russian, as all Soviets were (did anyone ever call them Soviets?), so I still think of him as Russian. But agree, he was one of the all time greats.

      Interesting point about where he was born though, had he been born just a few years earlier he would have been Polish, I didn’t know that. I wasn’t belittling Woronin, he was a great sprinter, but I was casting doubt on his one-off sub 10.1s time of 10.00s. He was a top class sprinter but like most white sprinters, only ever went under 10.1s windy or at altitude.

  8. I agree that this great achievement should be celebrated. However, one only has to briefly look at the anti-migrant and anti-ethnic minorities rhetoric that’s pumped out by the tabloids (including the Mail) on a daily basis to see that your conclusion is complete nonsense. The blog tabloidwatch makes this point explicit.

    • Thanks for commenting Tony S.

      So you’re saying that one form of racism is OK, because someone else is being racist? Racism is either wrong, or its not, you can’t say its OK in retaliation, or OK for one race, as that in itself is racist.

      Also, Tabloid Watch is a waste of space. It’s just a forum where the well off liberal idiots can mock those who are worried about encroaching immigration, loss of community and who feel disenfranchised, but may not be able to articulate those feelings clearly. So the well educated buffoons call those that actually live amongst ethnic minorities, racists, intolerant and total fools, when ironically the closest most of the ‘know betters’ get to immigrants and ethnic minorities is when they order take out, or call someone in to fix their drains. It’s sick.

      Just because Tabloid Watch is the polar opposite (in your view) of the tabloids, doesn’t make it any more right.

  9. Interesting. Nothing to be hyped, but interesting none-the-less. Why? Because I believe there are a lot of “whites” who have the fast twitch fibers to run 9.9 but there is so much stereotyping, that white kids get sent off to run cross-country or play futbol while black kids are put in the sprints and American football.
    I do think the commenter above is correct that this should not be made into a big deal, but it is worth noting.

    • Thanks Anthony.

      I agree, it shouldn’t be made into a huge deal, but it should be noted nonetheless and any mention of it was conspicuously absent, at least from the UK press. Indeed even though Lemaitre is to be the biggest challenge to UK sprinter Dwain Chambers at the European Championships (to be shown on the BBC), the BBC didn’t mention it at all at the British Grand Prix the next day. It was only mentioned one week later by Jonathan Edwards and Colin Jackson, and I am guessing their mention was only sanctioned because the meeting was in Paris and Lemaitre was there.

  10. I find Anthony B’s comment interesting. In my experience here in the states, there is a lot of stereotyping regards race,sex a socio-economics in school/youth athletics.

    • Hello Alfie, I’ve heard that a lot about athletics in the US, it isn’t so bad here in the UK, but having said that, I can only think of two white sprinters from about the past decade.

      A shame really but I guess it can be justified until someone proves the stereotypes wrong.

  11. Thanks, Charlie,

    Just to clarify, I think this achievement should be celebrated because it helps dispel the claim that this apparent disparity in speed is due to biological differences between blakes and whites. Who’s to say whites won’t reguarly be dipping under 10 seconds in a few years from now?

    Furthermore, what I am saying is that a cursory look at the right wing tabloids proves that your conclusion is wrong. The Mail etc. feel no compunction about reguarly pumping out vile racist and xenophobic lies.

    It is these lies that destroy social cohesion. Without them, the BNP et al. would have little to feed on. Unless, of course, you really do believe that migrants and ethnic minorities are the main cause of crime, poverty and disease!

    When I read your article, I assumed that you were a rational and thoughtful person. After reading your silly attack on Tabloid Watch, however, I now have serious doubts. Can you provide any evidence to support your obloquy?

    • Hello Tony, thanks again for commenting.

      Just to clarify, I think this achievement should be celebrated because it helps dispel the claim that this apparent disparity in speed is due to biological differences between blakes and whites.

      So you don’t think that there are biological differences between whites and blacks, at least in terms of speed?

      The Mail etc. feel no compunction about reguarly pumping out vile racist and xenophobic lies.

      Or at least what you perceive to be racist and xenophobic lies, you offer no support for your calumny.

      It is these lies that destroy social cohesion.

      I disagree, it isn’t the ‘lies’ that destroy social cohesion, but the facts and reality. Take the Muslim Pool story on Tabloid Watch, the Council and the local Muslim association have admitted that it was their own suggestion to add screens to the pool to protect the modesty of Muslim women. The council didn’t have to, but they pandered, and it is this indulgence (upsetting or inconveniencing the majority in order to indulge a small minority) that destroys the cohesion.

      Unless, of course, you really do believe that migrants and ethnic minorities are the main cause of crime, poverty and disease!

      Not all, obviously but it would be naive to ignore their (migrants) impact on the NHS, schools system and welfare system as well as their impact on crime. One in five prisoners is a foreign born immigrant, far, far out of proportion.

      Can you provide any evidence to support your obloquy?

      Sure. The website is basically just re-published headlines that people twist to mean whatever they wish and then the commenters make fun of the Daily Mail commenters:

      Stop buying the Mail then you racist twat.

      Someone bravely anonymous claims “The fact is that non-British people are being given too many privileges in this country” Honestly? Which special privileges are people receiving that British people don’t? Can you name a single one? A single law that gives any privilege to non-British people?

      Ferryman, of course it’s racist. Fortunately, in 2010, racists are easily recognised by most people as the idiots they are whenever they open their mouths and letters like this one do more damage to the reputation of idiot racists than to any race relations.

      And on and on and on, where any contrary view is racist, or idiotic, misinformed or torn apart by the ‘know betters’ with excessive use of derogatory adjectives.

      Don’t tell me you read Tabloid watch and take it as gospel? No sane or rational person would ever take one, obviously biased, website as the only truth.

  12. Good for him but can he jump? Seriously though. This is newsworthy and we should leave politics out of it. If he was the fastest jew, transgender or fastest anything else he would be worthy of a mention. How about we just let whitey have his moment?

  13. hi Charlie – I am not very interested in sporty stuff, but my take on this is that by trumpeting too much about first white to do this (after 70 blacks – is that it?) is not really reasonable white pride but instead is merely drawing attention to possible genetic superiority of blacks, in this area anyway. You probably do have a point about inverse racism, but I also agree with scH about blacks being underprivileged, at least in the early days of the Olympics and so on. And while blacks did enslave each other it was not quite on the mammoth scale of the organised slave trade, with the concomitant later colour bar, KKK and other things that put inverse racism into perspective. We still live in a white-dominated society, so it does not bother me about a bit of imbalance to make up for the old big imbalances. Has anyone noticed that in the parallel area of sexism, about 10 years ago there were huge numbers of TV ads making men look stupid and women smart? I think it has diminished now, but obviously the intention was to make up for the “even my wife” jokes and attitudes of the so-called good old days.

    • Hello Peter, thanks for commenting.

      is not really reasonable white pride but instead is merely drawing attention to possible genetic superiority of blacks, in this area anyway.

      But isn’t precisely that why we should be trumpeting the achievement, do we not normally cheer on the underdog, applaud accomplishments made in the face of adversity? Clearly blacks have a genetic advantage in the sprints, it would be silly not to acknowledge this, so surely that makes it all the more important when something is acheived by a non black?

      Take swimming for instance, where blacks appear to be at a disadvantage, the BBC falls over itself to mention landmarks such as the first black women to make the US swimming team! And Anthony Ervin being the first black US swimmer to gain an Olympic medal, yet doesn’t mention Lemaitre’s mark at all? To me that is double standards.

      but I also agree with scH about blacks being underprivileged, at least in the early days of the Olympics and so on.

      True, but I don’t think that is the case now, indeed the opposite is true.

      And while blacks did enslave each other it was not quite on the mammoth scale of the organised slave trade

      A popular misconception, but the image of white men, leaping from ships, running ashore into the jungle and kidnapping black natives to take them to a life of slavery is just fantasy. White slave traders bought slaves from black Kings, who they had already captured from neighbouring, weaker tribes. Sure the white slave market fuelled demand and the black Kings and civilisations were just filling that demand, but blaming slavery only on whites is wrong and inaccurate. Slavery persisted in Africa long after it was ended in Europe and the US.

      We still live in a white-dominated society, so it does not bother me about a bit of imbalance to make up for the old big imbalances.

      It does me, the imbalance is either right, or wrong. It can’t be tipped in one favour and be OK to make up for mistakes that were made by others. All that does is add fuel to the white far right fire. After all, if it is OK to tip it one way, why not the other for a time?

      Equality is just that, everyone is equal, none are more equal than others.

      Has anyone noticed that in the parallel area of sexism, about 10 years ago there were huge numbers of TV ads making men look stupid and women smart?

      Did you also notice that during the same period, exam results for boys tumbled and girls rose? Now girls average better results than boys for the first time since schooling began. Such imbalances have huge effects that rarely seem to be considered.

      I don’t know that it has diminished, I saw an advert a few weeks ago that went something along the lines of ‘Women have it tough, women have to put up with men, and men are useless….’ great message to be sending out to young boys and girls. You can’t experiment with a new generation to make up for the previous generation’s mistakes, especially if the new generation were never exposed to them.

  14. Charlie – when you mention “overcoming adversity” it is as though being a member of the white race, which maybe statistically is inferior to the black race in a relatively trivial way, ie running fast, is some sort of stigma – most of us can barely run anyway and don’t even want to. Sorry if I am frivolous about this, but as I said, I do not think sport is important, in fact it gives me the pip because of all the hypesteria and pseudo-patriotism, and I have to confess I am always glad when England lose at soccer or whatever (if I lived abroad, of course, I would be glad if my abroad-team lost).

    On the rather more important issue of slavery, I suppose that what makes white liberals (and I think even you are quite liberal by most standards because you value fairness) feel bad about it is that we were a so-called Christian and civilised country which had already produced the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Newton etc etc, yet were prepared to transport these poor people in unspeakable conditions over thousands of miles in order to make us cheap goods – and what is almost worse, we managed to get them to accept our own Christian religion as their own (Negro spirituals etc) while totally betraying its principles. You simply cannot morally compare these actions with those of benighted and animistic Senegambian kinglets who were constantly fighting each other and were forced by the slave-traders to exchange people for guns in order that they themselves would survive.

    • Hello Peter,

      Charlie – when you mention “overcoming adversity” it is as though being a member of the white race, which maybe statistically is inferior to the black race in a relatively trivial way, ie running fast, is some sort of stigma.

      But isn’t being the underdog in anything a stigma for that particular event? I am not saying that being white is a hindrance in every day life, but for a sprinter I think it very much is. I am sure that white sprinters would have more difficulty getting sponsorship and lottery funding than black sprinters, and to be honest I can understand that, no one wants to put money on an also-ran.

      I suppose that what makes white liberals (and I think even you are quite liberal by most standards because you value fairness) feel bad about it is that we were a so-called Christian and civilised country which had already produced the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Newton etc etc, yet were prepared to transport these poor people in unspeakable conditions over thousands of miles in order to make us cheap goods

      Exactly. But we shouldn’t really but surprised, after all the Church had spent centuries bolstering what was slavery by another name Serfage. The Church twisted its own teachings to ensure the status quo, by convincing the villeins and serfs that they’d be rewarded in the after life, all whilst being treated as sub human in this one. Those on the top rung of the ladder in this country had spent centuries committing unspeakable acts on their own people, we really shouldn’t be surprised that when this became untenable, they’d look elsewhere.

      You simply cannot morally compare these actions with those of benighted and animistic Senegambian kinglets who were constantly fighting each other and were forced by the slave-traders to exchange people for guns in order that they themselves would survive.

      Oh, but you can. Just like those in power here, they were ensuring their own power remained untouchable, and they were doing it long before the white man came along to give them further justification. In modern times people seem to assume that when the white man reached Africa that it was something akin to the white man meeting the Indians in North America, but it wasn’t, Africa was not in the stone age. It was more a meeting of equals (as many of the treaty’s of the time affirm) than we are led to believe.

      They also didn’t, or at least rarely, traded for guns ‘to survive’, it was much more likely to be salt, or some other commodity. Slavery wasn’t forced on the African kingdoms by white traders, indeed it was observed by them in the African kingdoms and then copied; and it was the powerful kingdoms treatment of their lesser neighbours as sub human, that was also copied.

  15. ”I have a dream .. that one day down little black boys and little black girls will join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers…” a few words stolen (abridged) from the late great, MARTIN LUTHER KING”

    Is this about Christophe Lamaitre becoming the fastest white sprinter in the world or the fastest sprinter in the word? I don’t know the young man but would like to think he just wants to be the best he can be…

  16. when the missionaries came to Africa they had the bible and we had the land. they said lets pray, we closed our eyes when we opened them we had the bible and they had the land

  17. Leon’s comment is brilliant, I assume it is a quote? Anyway, it does seem apt. Charlie, your view of history is not mine, as it seems to make Africans more “advanced” (this is not meant to sound racist, but it is a fact that the whities dominated the rest by being more advance in killing efficiency etc ) than the native north Americans (and I know that the newly independent USA did make treaties with the Indian tribes, only in fact to break them when it suited them, ie the Yanks). What are the treaties between the Europeans and Africans that you refer to? Your other comments re serfs and villeins – they were indeed at the bottom of the feudal system but they were not slaves in the way that the Africans were; for one thing, they could not simply be sold to the highest bidder and be removed from the land they tilled.

    • Anyway, it does seem apt. Charlie, your view of history is not mine, as it seems to make Africans more “advanced” (this is not meant to sound racist, but it is a fact that the whities dominated the rest by being more advance in killing efficiency etc )

      It is racist, but then it was meant to be (not by you), but you cannot dominate nor enslave a race that is seen as equal. This inferiority was peddled by those at the top, those who benefited from slavery, but it was not the reality. A similar thing was done with India, which, when the Europeans arrived, was one of the richest and most powerful nations on earth, and the Europeans had to beg for trading rights. Yet these days we are taught to think of India as some backward, impoverished nation, that was taken advantage of, rather than the powerful Empire (albeit in decline) that it really was.

    • Sorry Peter, I got carried away with talking about India and neglected to answer your questions.

      What are the treaties between the Europeans and Africans that you refer to?

      I don’t know specifics, but I know that the Benin Empire had an ambassador in Portugal (as did other powerful African states, such as the Mali Empire), not the sort of thing that is done with lesser, or subjugated nations. The Portuguese and later the English had many trade agreements with them and traded in goods (including slaves) for centuries. The British may well have eventually dominated the Benin Empire, but it took some 350 years of trading as equals before the British saw an opportunity (or weakness).

      whities dominated the rest by being more advance in killing efficiency etc

      Again, I think this is a misrepresentation of the facts. Sure, by the end of the 19th Century Europe was certainly dominating Africa and in the main due to better weaponry, but the slave trade had ended by then, it was a different story much earlier. Take the Kingdom of Dahomey, which was once known as the black Sparta, they managed to kick out the French and Portuguese from their coastal trading posts in the early 18th Century (and didn’t pay for it) and made agreements on their own terms, including lucrative slave trade agreements. The Kingdom of Dahomey got fat on slavery making millions and paying for the expansion of its army and ironically was only conquered when the Europeans stopped buying slaves, and the Kingdom declined.

      When the British were trying to force them to abandon slavery one of the Kings of Dahomey famously said:

      “The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth…the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery…”

      The Africans were advanced, they lived in huge cities, had great Empires and early on, dictated terms to the Europeans. You’d think that this myth that they lived in mud huts and were just waiting around to be conquered would have been dispelled by the discovery of Great Zimbabwe, but it still persists.

      but they were not slaves in the way that the Africans were; for one thing, they could not simply be sold to the highest bidder and be removed from the land they tilled.

      Whilst that’s technically true, we should remember that slavery was common in Europe and Britain right up until after the Norman Conquest, and it was only then that it was replaced with serfdom, which was slightly better, in the same way that getting shot in the head is slightly better than getting caught in a combine harvester, but either way you’re dead.

      Serfdom was just slavery with pretend freedoms. Sure, technically the serf couldn’t be sold like a slave could (at least in Western Europe, they could in Eastern Europe), but he could still be sold with the land and end up with a new master. Also a serf may not have been easily moved from the land he worked for his lord (but they frequently were), but nor could he himself move off to seek his fortune elsewhere he was bound to it, and his lord, and so were all his descendants.

      Serfs could also be legally mutilated and killed on the flimsiest of pretences, and escape was near impossible and pointless. Serfdom may not have been precisely slavery, but it was still bondage.

  18. Pingback: Fastest White Man | Charlie's Space

  19. Hey guys I am from JAMAICA and I want to say congrats to Christophe. He wont be beating Bolt anytime soon but excellent job on being the first white man to go under 10. It was long overdue. I too thought I would never live to see the day. Glad I was proven wrong though.
    Wonder how he would do against Yohan?

    • Thanks for commenting Rae.

      I have to agree, Yohan Blake is frightening, already running 9.89s and 19.78s at 20 years old, at which point Bolt was running 10.03s and 19.75s respectively. So Jamaica already has a replacement for Bolt waiting in the wings.

  20. Great Job Charlie

  21. “had Borzov run in Mexico City with the same wind as Mennea would later have, he’d have run an incredible 19.63s”

    Mennea run 19.96 at low in 1980, so he was effectively faster than Borzov even in those conditions (naturally, nobody prevented Borzov to reach an altitude and try tu run 200m in 19.63 if he was able. The fact is that, obviously, altitude alone is not a guarantee of a record) . Of his 19.72 run at altitude, Mennea ever said that he went bad in the first 100m , otherwise he could have beat the 19.70 barrier.

    • Thanks for commenting Andrea.

      Mennea run 19.96 at low in 1980, so he was effectively faster than Borzov even in those conditions (naturally, nobody prevented Borzov to reach an altitude and try tu run 200m in 19.63 if he was able.

      It is difficult to compare merely on times, particularly as Borzov was Russian and didn’t compete the same as the other athletes and his career was cut short, also for example as far as I know, Borzov beat Mennea every time they met.

      I really don’t understand why Mennea would run at altitude after seeing the records in 1968, it can’t be good for an athlete to get a time so far ahead of his real best, and something he is unlikely to get near again. For a top class athlete running at altitude is pretty much a guarantee of getting a record, it certainly was then. Perhaps that was it it though Mennea wasn’t getting any younger and was already taking drugs to improve his times.

  22. Another sub 10 run of 9.97 in the final and 9.98 in the heats in rieti for lemaitre. I think he has the potential to run sub 9.9 soon as he still can improve physically and his technique.

  23. An excellent article for mens 100 metres commenting on three variables of skin colour, wind speed and altitude.

    I feel that there are other variables such as track surface technology and modern footwear. I notice that in 1958 the white British sprinter ran 10.29 on a cinders track using traditional spiked running shoes. That was then the fastest ever time ever recorded using fully automatic timing. Perhaps that time was worthy of consideration on the all time white list

    • Thanks for commenting Stanley.

      I think that the argument for modern tracks being so much faster than cinder tracks has been discussed before on the Fastest White Man post, but basically I believe that the effect of modern tracks on sprint times are exagerrated. The first time that a modern track was used in the Olympics was in 1968, if you discount that, due to altitude, the times for the following Olympics are not really much faster than on cinder tracks. I think that modern tracks and spikes make a difference measured in 100ths of seconds rather than tens of seconds.

  24. Dear Mr Wikpedia (Charlie),

    I have been reading this thread with interest.

    Your bashing of Pietro Mennea is totally uncalled for. Whilst it is clearly evident that your knowledge stems from your ability to click a mouse and type search terms into google. I would suggest that in order not to come across as an idiot that you actually inform yourself apart from the superficial knowledge that is available to everyone on the internet.

    Combining all your internet sources to form opinion pieces on subjects you really don’t no anything about doesn’t stand testament to your rigour or rhetorical ability rather your lack of it. As a consequence the validity of your arguments suffer.

    Back on the point of Pietro Mennea. 200m world record held for 17 years. Enough said… that will never be repeated and there is no argumet that you can counter that with.

    I remember some ignorant/supercillious Brit (such as yourself) going on about Mennea’s annoying record before Johnson broke it during a broadcast. I think this was because Mennea is Italian and they just didn’t like seeing his name in the record books. Us Italians have got over the fact that the Roman empire is of antiquity. I think it’s high time that Brits (that share your attitude) realise that your empire is over, you no longer decide what happens in the world and you don’t decide what version of history you will tell, nor your place in it.

    Back on your glib arguments re Mennea’s use of growth hormone. Irrelevant… point is it wasn’t illegal at that time. I would also argue that if he was doing it so was everybody else. You cannot rationally make any arguments about doping, as the truth is you never know who’s doing it, as the smart athletes (that don’t make mistakes or compete when they are using- surprise surprise) are always one step ahead of the testing authorities. So there is no point even mentioning it.

    One thing you can say for Mennea is at least he was honest about it and as i’ve already mentioned it wasn’t illegal. That says a lot more for his character than the countless world champion/world record holder athletes that have used performance enhancing substances that we will never know about. As evidenced in recent times (in many sports), this could be anybody and those that you least suspect. I don’t even need to go into specific examples.

    In future: 1.) use multiple sources before making your arguments 2.) base them on facts and not hypothetical rationales (that is just idiotic) 3.) Use sources outside of the internet, that you have actually had time to think about= seriously you should try this 4.) Try to ‘reduce’ your inherent supercillious bias 5.) Be rigorous


    • Thank you for your comment Mennea.

      Your bashing of Pietro Mennea is totally uncalled for.

      I am afraid it is. If Mennea wanted to run at altitude and become a paper world record holder, then that clearly was his choice and his mistake. Mennea was a good sprinter but his best at low altitude was 19.96s. As I said previously, if Borzov had run under the same conditions as Mennea ran in Mexico City he would have run 19.63s; for Mennea to run that fast he’d have to have been running downhill. Mennea’s record was not as staggering as it looked on paper.

      It may surprise to you learn that some people were actually alive before the Internet became the primary source of information and used something that us oldies like to term ‘memory’ (noting to do with RAM or Hard Drives) to recount facts and figures. Admittedly facts and figures are checked but just because Wikipedia and Google appear to hold all the information in the world, does not mean that they are the source of all information. You may discover this when you leave school and enter the big wide world.

      Combining all your internet sources to form opinion pieces on subjects you really don’t no anything about doesn’t stand testament to your rigour or rhetorical ability rather your lack of it. As a consequence the validity of your arguments suffer.

      Patronising and criticising the arguments of others, whilst offering nothing of your own and using words that you believe add weight to your point in a vain attempt to sound superior merely highlights your inability to reason and debate with grown ups. You appear to believe you are right, merely because you have an opinion of your own, and offer nothing in response to points raised by others. If you had a point it was lost in meandering and unnecessary criticism of your perception of how the commenter arrived at his conclusion, rather than the conclusion itself.

      Secondly, again something that you may learn at College, although I am unfamiliar with the American education system, is that drawing information from several sources, and then forming an opinion based on them and putting it into written form, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, indeed should you be lucky enough to be good at sports and gain a scholarship (as clearly based on intellect alone you are found wanting) to university you will find that your degree is based on many such endeavours.

      I remember some ignorant/supercillious Brit (such as yourself)…..Us Italians have got over the fact that the Roman empire is of antiquity. I think it’s high time that Brits (that share your attitude) realise that your empire is over, you no longer decide what happens in the world and you don’t decide what version of history you will tell, nor your place in it.

      So your entire rebuttal of my points hinges on the accusation that my information was poorly researched, ostensibly solely obtained via Google and Wikipedia, and the fact that I happen to have been born in the greatest nation that this world has ever birthed, Britain (England), ergo my points are based on pure bias? I am not sure what strange outre reason you have based this supposed bias on, admittedly Britain did take part in World War II on the opposing side to Italy, but if memory serves after we sank the Italian fleet in one night with antiquated Fairy Swordfish bombers, Italy was barely a participant in the rest of the war. Indeed if I rightly remember the stories of my family members who took part in the conquest of Italy, it was the Germans who did most of the fighting, the only fighting against the Italians by the British was in fighting off the amorous advances of the unsatisfied womenfolk.

      As for your completely inexplicable comparison of the Greatest Empire this world has ever seen, and the Roman Empire, well that just demonstrates that your grasp of history is as tenuous as your grasp of the English language and sound reason. Comparing the greatest Empire this world has ever seen with the Roman Empire, well that is just laughable.

      The Roman Empire was a piddling Empire by anyone’s standard and most of the ideas that they are renown for were pilfered from others civilisations, notably the Greeks (Edward Gibbon et al, 1951). The Roman Empire is not even in the top ten of great Empires. So if I come across as being arrogant, pompous and superior, that’s because I am, and with good reason. As for the Empire being over, not whilst the rest of the world speaks English, believes in fairness, righteousness and justice and traces its laws and its culture back to Britain; but you’re right, the Roman Empire is long dead.

      As for Mennea and his HGH, you believe that his honesty about using it demonstrates his integrity, I believe the contrary may be true. Those who use substances to gain an davantage over their fairer minded competitors, seldom restrict themselves to just the one, legal or not.

      Finally, thank you for your inane and totally pointless remarks on how better to improve my module score, but thankfully my days of course work assignments are long since over. This is a blog, not an examination, ergo it IS my opinion and is based purely on my interpretation of the facts. This is not Wikipedia nor indeed the Encyclopedia Britannica if you are looking for unbiased facts sans opinion, then you’re in the wrong place. That said, everything that isn’t opinion is undisputed fact and you haven’t raised a single fact that I have stated that you believe is incorrect.

      As for comments regarding my education, I daresay that I am better educated than you, or at least I am able to draw that conclusion from your vacuous points, and your whole comment which is devoid of any facts whatsoever, which is more than a tad bit hypocritical.

      Now if I may offer you some advice it is firstly to finish your clearly incomplete schooling and then, with the proper parental controls in place, when you do venture out onto the internet and come across an opinion that you disagree with, create a structured and analytical argument that either rebuts their argument or at least explains your position, backed up with facts that support it.

      Otherwise you may well come across as an ineffectual, fist shaking stripling driven entirely by passion but lacking in direction or backbone, not too dissimilar to your forebears during World War II.

  25. I think he break the 9.9’s, he’s recently done 9.95 with a very bad start against Asafa Powell and he’s only still 20 years old! His running style is really horrible and once someone actually teaches him how to sprint we might see some really fast times from him, he might even break the European record.

    • Exactly, I don’t know wtf the author of this article is smoking.

      The TOP sprinters in the world, Dwain Chambres (at last years outdoors and this years Diamond league), Maurice Green (at this years 60m indoors) , Darren Campbell and Michael Johnston have all said that Lemaintre can run much fast.

      Campbell in particular said that if he first gets his technique fixed and then hits the gym him will make vast improvements.

      But apparently the author knows more about this than either of them, and yet again has been proven wrong because Lemaitre ran even faster as someone else said above.

      He has the talent to be one of the worlds very best, and this is coming from the worlds very best, not some idiot blogging about something he knows nothing about.

      • I didn’t say that Lemaitre cannot run faster, I said he won’t run much faster. Lemaitre has run slightly faster, not much faster. If he takes one or two hundreths of a second of his PB each year, he will be in his 30s before he is a medal contender. There is room for improvement in his technique, but there has been for years and he doesn’t seem to be getting much better. We’ll see what he does at the World Championships. I’d love to see him break the European Record, but he needs to improve in leaps and bounds in order to do so.

        As for hitting the gym, basic physics demonstrates that it is not that simple. He may well already be his optimal size. Craig Pickering for instance went down the route of putting on some muscle, and got slower. Pickering looks leaner this year than he has for a while and has run his fastest time for 3 years (and his highest UK ranking for 4 years).

        Wishing that Lemaitre will be one of the world’s best won’t make him so. He is still a quarter of a second off the very best and not even ranked in the top ten for this year. If you want to judge an athlete, you should try and do it objectively. His run against Bolt did show him pulling away from the world’s best, and keeping pace with Bolt, albeit a sick, flued up Bolt.

        As for believing the former athletes extolling the potential of a young athlete to be 100% accurate; well if I had a £1 for every such athlete that subsequently failed to match that potential, I’d be a very rich man.

  26. ”I don’t think that Lemaitre will go much faster however, he only has a couple more good years left in him, and I think it unlikely that he’ll break 9.9s, but then I said the same about the 10s barrier.”

    Are you serious with this comment, how could you possibly know that?

    • Thanks for commenting.

      You said:

      “Are you serious with this comment, how could you possibly know that?”

      It is all to do with experience and statistics. Black sprinters tend to peak at 25+ whilst white sprinters seem to peak before they are 25. Take the above list for example and discounting Woronin’s time and the altitude runs, Matthew Shirvington was 19 when he ran his PB, Nicolas Macrozonaris was 22 (Craig Pickering was 20), Emmelmann was 24, Borzov was 22 (and Johan Rossouw was 23). Only Collio (who was 29) is an exception to that rule, i.e. all of the fastest white sprinters ran their PBs in their early 20s.

      Christophe Lemaitre is 21, that gives 3 or 4 good seasons. He may well break 9.9 as I said, but he is literally chipping 0.01s off his times, there is only so long he can do that until he plateaus and he runs no faster.

      Lemaitre will make his biggest improvements at the 200m, as I have said many times, where he has plenty of scope for improving his technique.

  27. Pickering did it wrong, Lou Simmons the powerlifting coach said ‘it is very easy to make someone fast big, but very hard to make someone big fast,’ in other words getting bigger with the idea that more muscle = more strength = more speed is a flawed methodology if absolute speed does not increase.

    The difference with Lemaitre is that to my knowledge he doesn’t even weight train, or if he does he has not been doing to long or very much of it which is this day and age is extremely rare. Kim Collins is the only other modern sprinter who apparently didn’t weight train (which I doubt), if true he is by far and way the exception rather than the rule.

    So lets make this clean, Lemaitre doesn’t have to get bigger, but by getting stronger and hammering the olympic lifts through weight training his max force will increase as will explosiveness which if programmed properly should have a direct carry over to sprinting. Adaptation to weight training is much more than simply increasing muscle mass or density there is also a massive neuronal component. Heavy lifting forces you to learn how to recruit more motor units and olympic lifting teaches you to fire them at a moments notice. Olympic lifters have the highest power output of any athlete in the world and out of the blocks are the fastest athletes over the first 10 yards – even faster than sprinters over the same distance. So there is more than a tangible benefit to weight training if performed correctly.

    The idea that black people mature later probably doesn’t mean anything to Lemaitre, and nor should it. Genetics are a purely individual thing and whilst certain ethnic groups are likely to be better at something on average than another ethnic group the idea that their potential is solely down to race is a fallacy. Race is a construct that has no real scientific value other than offering a practical distinction to describe lose differences of the average genotypes or phenotypes between different groups of people. The important word here is average. In other words, just because on average a west african is more likely to be a great sprinter than a white person doesn’t mean that a white person can’t be a great sprinter or indeed to greatest sprinter of all time – it’s just less likely. Where on the bell curve of ‘good sprinting genetics’ you fall is due entirely to individual genetics and whilst the chances of you being a good sprinter can be predicted somewhat from your creed it can never truly be indicative of your actual individual genetic potential. All this race bullshit comes from the idea that population genetics fits perfectly for an individual genetics, which it does not and cannot by the very nature of ‘population’ genetic studies. There are sprinting freaks in all races, black and white, and if Lemaitre can run under 10 seconds you can guarantee that there have been white people in the past that have been capable of it and there will be white people in the future capable of it also.

    So the question is why has this not happened before, why has it taken years in an era where drugs, nutrition and training have improved light years for the record to finally tumble? – running is probably the only area of sport where white people have not been consistently improving their best times? I think you mentioned a psychological barrier, and I agree, but I would also add that in the last 30 years the notion in the popular media (and on your site I may add) was that it was not possible for a white person to run sub 10, which is completely counter productive and as we have seen a falsehood. I wonder how many white people didn’t even bother sprinting at a young age because of movies like ‘white men can’t jump.’

    Additionally there are socioeconomic reasons too some of which were touched upon in a BBC program with Colin Jackson a few years back; given that until recently white people have had by far and away the greater career opportunities why would they sacrifice a safe income for an career in athletics where the chances of failure are extremely high and potentially screw up their long term future. Conversely if you were a black guy in the 80s growing in a society where you were likely to become a toilet cleaner wouldn’t you far more likely go down the athletics route because lets face who the hell wants to clean toilets for a living – the risk reward ratio is much higher for blacks. I believe this works both ways btw, I believe a lot of the reasons why there are few if any black olympic swimmers is because they have been told black people can’t swim and going to leisure centre to get daily swimming lessons as a kid costs a heck of a lot more than going down to track for a run, I hope this changes.

    • I’m just going to address one point here. If there were a white sprinter who could run with blacks he (or she, among women) would be the toast of the town. Whites are not discouraged from running fast. They grow up all over America running in white middle and high schools. When they run amongst themselves they are fast – if they run against the crosstown high school from the other side of the tracks they find out they are slower. The only thing that discouraged them was reality. If a white can run, he is nurtured – and if runs well on a sports team, announcers go out of their way to say he may be the fastest on the team or the league. They are basically bullshitting – but it does demonstrate how badly they want a white running hero.

  28. I think your right when you say white sprinters peake early, however it is clear that lemaitre is a lot different from any previous white spinter. Lemaitres top speed i think is up there with the best currently only bolt and tyson gay in my opinion (maybe blake and dix aswell) that is why i think he can improve his times to at least mid 9.8s. If he slightly improves his starts and gets to his top speed faster he could potentially match the very best.

    Im looking forward to the world championships and feel lemaitre is a genuine meday contender, i think after bolt there is a lot of competition for the silver medal. I feel lemaitre will run under 20 seconds aswell, hes run well in a few 200 metres this season but all have been into headwinds.

    • I think you may be right about his top speed. In his recent 200m race against Bolt, he didn’t catch Bolt admittedly, but both Lemaitre and Bolt moved away from everyone else and Bolt didn’t gain on Lemaitre. Impressive from Lemaitre but you have to ask would he be able to do the same with a fully fit Bolt? If Lemaitre can fix his starting and bend running and actually come off the bend in front, I don’t think that there are many that could catch him, if any. But he just doesn’t seem to be improving his technique.

      I’m certainly looking forward to the World Championships too.

  29. I wrote an opinion based post in response to this on my own site because I didn’t want to spam this one anymore, check it out charlie leave a comment because I will probably amend it based on your input

  30. All response interactions were stimulating. Glad to see your readers unafraid to enjoin in verbal parry with you on depth of meaning of any particular point, so I would like to add this: in all the world, throughout the history of man, there have been oppressors – comprised in differing places of varied races. In all times there have been those who could have proven themselves able to beat any specific standard set by ‘their’ ruling classes, but were not give the opportunity of an unbiased platform, and so, though they could ‘make the grade’ or beat out the competition, were rarely or rightly acknowledged. White, black, or all other colors used as a defining factor aside, I can see the case that as we’ve reached this point in time in what is now a merged history, (between many more than just white and black) some recognition must be made at moments when “tables turn” and who the -triumphant- underdog is – is a surprise.

  31. long time since i read this thread, though i see c’s revised figures of sub 9.9, and the same ‘not much more off… lemaitres time… hunderds’. perhaps true though he is still progressing 9.97 to 9.92 this season, hunderds but still young and would not be surprised mid 9.8’s this year and 9.7 potential anyways. not bad for a skinny white guy, in fact very good for a human being

  32. A norwegian sprinter named geir moen has run 10,08.

  33. i think lemaitre will struggle to get a medal at the olympics, i think its possible that bolt and or blake could both possibly run sub 19 seconds in that race then lemaitre and dix around 19.5 maybe

  34. go to the wikipedia article for ’10 second barrier’. Lemaitre’s picture is there.

  35. Are we talking sports or politics? If we are talking sports you are way wrong about Lemaitre: saying he only has a couple of years ahead of him – when the kid is just 20 years of age! The kid has now run 9″92 and may still have a decade of running ahead of him.

  36. Charlie, my man, check below who’s going to get a podium medal this Summer at the London Olympics !
    The video has many replays so you are sure it’s really below the 10s barrier !
    Sleep well, don’t have any nightmares…

    • Thanks for the comment.

      I am well aware of Lemaitre and agree that he may well medal at the Olympics, but in the 200m not in the 100m. If you believe he will medal in the 100m you’re being a little optimistic. His run of 9.92s last year didn’t even put him in the top 10 times for the year.

      If he sorts his start out, he may have more of a chance, but I’ve been hoping that for years.

  37. So far this year he looks like he is regressing. It will be interesting to see if he fades quickly like many white sprinters.

  38. what do you think of adam gemili, hes just ran 10.08. think hes of morrocan – iranian descent. looks like he could break 10 seconds in the next few years

  39. I don’t think he is regressing it’s more like he has stalled. If he doesn’t gain strength over the next two years or so, I think he will end up like Mennea and become a 200 meter runner who dabbles in the 100.

    • I think that the 200m is where he is suited best. He really could be something special in the 200m if he worked on his technique.

      As for putting on muscle, I am not so sure. It isn’t always a case of more muscle = faster, just look at Harry Aikines Areetey who took that to a ridiculous extreme. More muscle means more weight, so it is possible that any muscle he gains will negate any speed gains.

  40. Yes if you go nuts the weight room you won’t get faster. I also seem to recall Ian Mackie getting really ripped and not being able to gain any speed all he did was break down.

  41. At interesting and this week much debated topic with Mo Farah winning as well, although at long-distances the East African debate is fundamentally flawed due to the winning presence of North-Africans and the odd Italian. Unfortunately, black/white is too simple a divide as genetically their are mixed genes, especially among US African-Americans

  42. I was with you until you went on a rant about left leaning liberals and the lack of discussion over white speed. So society is stupid because we dont discuss enough about those with less melanin than others? Seriously?

  43. The reason ‘the first black’ that does anything (or many things) gets so much attention is because of the politically and cultually based exclusion of blacks from all manner of activities. The truth is, blacks ran faster than whites in the early years of the Olympics, in the 19th century, and all the way back to some prehistoric era. Their exclusion was political – today’s white exclusion from record or near-record times is biological. And I daresay it is not that whites are slow – afterall, that ‘slowness’ is the common feature of all but West Africans (apparently, though not yet certifiably) – it’s that West Africans and their diasporic descendents are faster than the rest of us.

    • Thanks for commenting PJ Keane, but you honestly don’t think that the only difference between black and white is merely a depth of tan do you? If so, you’d better email UK Athletics and get them to take the whole middle distance team to East Africa in order to get the same ‘tan’ as the Kenyan/Ethiopians et al – or at least as tanned as their pasty whiteness allows in order to run better.

      Seriously though, I shouldn’t mock you, it is precisely this naivety that modern society breeds that I was discussing. Skin colour is not the only difference between the races and in itself is meaningless, however it is the physical manifestation of genetic differences. And despite what political correctness champions would have you believe, there are major genetic differences between the races. The fact that diseases such as sickle cell and lupus are far more common amongst black people and are very rare amongst white people is just one indication of the genetic differences, the high prevalence of Down’s Syndrome among whites compared to blacks is another.

      It is also clear to anyone with even half a brain that black West African heritage sprinters have a genetic advantage over whites, and indeed most other races. There hasn’t been a white or indeed any non-black finalist in the 100m for the last 8 Olympic games. Before Lemaitre, no other race except West African heritage blacks (excluding Patrick Johnson) had ever run under 10s. Just because the subject of racial differences is taboo, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

      Likewise there hasn’t been such a national nor geographical domination in the middle distances ever before to match the Kenyan/Ethiopian dominance. Again, there is a clear genetic predisposition to distance running among those born in that area in contrast to West African blacks – so melanin in this case is irrelevant but genetics is not.

      Even Britain’s distance champion Mo Farah, was actually born in and raised in Somalia, a nation that borders both Kenya and Ethiopia, moving to Britain as a boy. Do you really think that his ability to run as well as he does is because he went through the English school system, the ability of the British coaches or because of the genetic heritage? Bearing in mind that he is the most successful distance runner Britain has ever produced.

      The original point of the article was that, if such a superiority in certain events does exist, then surely it is all the more reason to celebrate the ‘minor’ successes of those who are disadvantaged?

      There are of course those who are of the belief that the differences are minor and are more to do with mentality, even racism, than genetics, but until we can have a reasoned discussion as a society about the differences rather than the wishy washy liberal view that we are all pink on the inside, we’ll never know. One thing is for certain, when the first Asian runner runs under 10s (and I did think it would be Yamagata in London) there will be massive celebrations in Asia, and the press will mention it. That is seen as acceptable, as long they don’t mention the whites.

    • I disagree Barry, I don’t think that blacks have been faster all this time, nor do I believe that they were purposely excluded (excepting in the US team perhaps). Admittedly in the early days most of the nations that participated were exclusively white, but I believe that this was more to do with cost than anything else. In 1908 Britain hosted the games, and won a record 56 golds. Now, I’d love to believe that we had the best athletes in so many events back then, but I rather think that it was more to do with the fact that we just had more athletes present at the games. Most of the poorer nations didn’t send much in the way of teams in the early days, indeed even China has only recently started sending a decent team and even modern African nations barely send more than a few athletes.

      As to prehistoric dominance, Jesse Owens was the first black man to win 100m gold in the Olympics but it wasn’t the start of the dominance. Many white sprinters won afterwards, and many ran much faster.

      It is only in recent history that black athletes became dominant, the late 70s onwards, and it is only recently that it has become so pronounced. The questions is why, is the genetic advantage just more apparent in the top elite professional athletes than it was with the amateurs?

      I’m also not disputing that blacks have been discriminated against, notably in the US. Take Jesse Owens for example, he was congratulated by Hitler, he even received a congratulations message and commemorative photograph; he received nothing from the US President. He stayed with and travelled with the white athletes during the Olympics, but was back to segregation back home. Nor am I disputing that milestones should be celebrated, what concerns me is that in racial milestones, one race and one race only is notable by its continued absence.

      We cannot allow ourselves to get into a situation where the achievements of one race are seen as inferior, or less worthy than others.

      • The feed for many Olympic sports is attending college, that’s certainly true for American track and field and has been for most of all the modern Olympic history. Few blacks went to college, so too did few poor whites – nonetheless, the historical record shows both de jure and de facto discrimination against blacks – so they were largely excluded from these events and others, including boxing, and most obviously baseball. When they were (rarely) permitted to participate, and when they became regulars, their physical prowess quickly came to the fore. Some early black boxers like Harry Wills, Battling Siki (a Senegalese), and Jack Johnson come to mind – Jackie Robinson in baseball, and several football stars, most clearly, Jim Brown. It was largely political exclusion that kept them from dominating these sports. Had they participated en masse then or back into the antebellum period, they would have proved faster and stronger. This is no recent development, but one that goes back to a perhaps 40k year period of evolution almost entirely separated from other races (subspecies) of humans.
        Yes, whites did win after Jesse Owens, generally their times were slower. The reasons for the delay in black dominance had more to do with politics, sociology, and happenstance than any biological reason. We can’t conclude from Valery Borzov’s performance that whites were still as fast as blacks – that win was entirely political. (Of course, other blacks could have won, but there is something to technique and training, or lack thereof on the part of other nations.)
        The dominance of blacks we see today is merely due to the sheer numbers of blacks in college, the acute awareness of sprinting as an avenue of success – and the development of track programs elsewhere, particularly Jamaica and the other Caribbean islands where many blacks came back as runners after having attended US colleges.
        The perhaps 4% speed differential is evident at all ages – I would venture to say that the best high school sprint times are not those of whites – or Asian-Americans for that matter. This difference is between West African descended people, and all others, including other Africans. By the way, I would count Frankie Fredericks as West African. In fact, Namibia used to be known as Southwest Africa. Bantu populations from West Africa have been entering the area for perhaps two millennia now.

  44. Perhaps it is safe to say that with regard to motor skills, West Africans are about 4% faster than non-West Africans (9.98/9.58). Perhaps if we took the best 20 or so West African descended times and best 20 non- WA times, we could get a better fix on the percentage difference. Especially if we exclude atltitude times. This speed differential manifests itself in a number of sports – at times compensated for somewhat by skill and technique differences. But less so as time goes by and technology is available to all.

  45. Ricardo – The ancient genetic relationship of North Africans and East Africans may be stronger than is immediately apparent. Linguistically, these are both regions having related language families – Hamitic and Semitic or as they say today – Afro-Asiatic languages. There’s been a lot of genetic water under the bridge since – but perhaps this commonality has survived in some from both groups.

  46. I understand LeMaitre won his heat today in the 200. It could be interesting if he makes it to the final – but I suspect he will be beaten by someone who we’ve likely never heard of before – and for whom any number of unknown substitutes might finish ahead of LeMaitre. Nonetheless, he’s one of a kind – unfortunately.

    • Thanks for commenting Barry.

      Sadly I agree. I know many hold Lemaitre up as an example of what a white sprinter can achieve given equal opportunity, but the cynic in me believes that he is more of a freak, than the herald of the nascent white sprinting era. Were white athletes really fighting against racism and a lack of opportunity in the Western nations, surely a white Usain Bolt would have emerged from the Eastern European nations where such prejudices and exclusions do not exist?

      I think Lemaitre will make the final, only three man have fun faster than him this year, and one of those isn’t there. It is also worth noting that only 14 men have ever run faster than Lemaitre, and only three of those men are in the semi-finals. I am hoping that he breaks Mennea’s European record and can medal, but it is going to be tough for him, as his technique hasn’t improved much and that costs him.

      • If I’m not mistaken, I believe Lemaitre has made the final, and with a very good time. I now think he has a shot at a bronze, but most likely 4th or 5th. I really don’t see him winning. There is no Usain Bolt, or even a Leroy Burrell in the Eastern nations – just as there is no Michael Jordan there either, no matter how fervently the basketball powers that be try to find one.
        It’s nice to be the 14th fastest runner in history (is that so? or is it that there are 14 better winning times?) Maybe he’ll have his fastest time ever tonight – I don’t think it will win, and it will probably be the pinnacle of his career. I don’t find this all so much sad as I find it a fact of human life.
        I also understand that Asians don’t carry the peculiar black-white racial history that does America – a Chinese victory may be seen as a racial victory, but also perhaps more importantly as a national victory.

      • Lemaitre is in the final, but I wasn’t too impressed with his run. In a race where he had to get into the top two, he couldn’t even run a sub 20s. I’d expect Lemaitre, when side by side with anyone (save perhaps Bolt) to go past them, but he couldn’t get past Spearmon. He hasn’t looked good this season, he hasn’t been under 10s in the 100m, which I think may be behind his decision to not run it. One has to wonder whether his best years are behind him. I’ve mentioned on here before that white sprinters tend to run their fastest times aged 19-22, and sadly he may have passed his peak. He just doesn’t seem to have that breathtaking pickup that he used to have, demonstrated in Daegu when he went from 5/6 to third and was catching not only Dix in the last 60m, but also Bolt. He’s still coming off the bend in a poor position, and just doesn’t seem to have the acceleration of last year. I still think he has a chance of bronze, but it will be tough against Spearmon, Martina and Weir. I really hope he produces a personal best, if not, that is no improvement this season and could well indicate that he has peaked.

        His 19.80s from Daegu made him the 14th fastest man of all time, but it wasn’t the 14th fastest run unfortunately, time wise he’s quite a way down as Dix, Johnson, Bolt et al have run faster several times. But to be fair, a couple of those 14 runners ahead of him ran their times at altitude.

        As for China, I think you underestimate the racial feeling, it is not just whites who are looking for a great ‘white’ hope. Take Manny Pacquiao, he is a huge icon and has great support not only in his native Philipines, but also in China, Japan and throughout South East Asia. All because racially, he is of similar appearance and because he is doing what no one else of that race has been able to do before.

        I think in the West white people are conditioned not to put too much emphasis on race and we tend not to realise that everyone else does. A Japanese athlete breaking 10s would have been huge in Japan and a massive event there, but also throughout Asia, and probably large parts of India too. Personally I’d put the racial victory as more important than the national one.

  47. Lemaitre will never run faster than he has run already, so I think those who are expecting 9.7/9.8 will be disappointed.

  48. Yes, Though Lemaitre’s semi-final time was impressive relative to most other runners, it seemed to me that he was running near maximum capacity. I would be surprised if he medals – pleasantly so.
    I am aware of racial pride in the Far East. It is a mixed bag of having both an inferiority complex based in historic Western domination of the region and notions of superiority, based in ideas that Westerners are barbarians. What East Asia doesn’t have however, is the personalized animosity between black and white that the US has – that is, the East does not have two races as strange bedfellows. Thus, there is a conflation in the East of race and nation – a phenomenon quite diminished in the U.S.

  49. Lemaitre finished 6th at 20.19, well behind Bolt, in fact .87 behind him. He in fact, is merely the second best European-based sprinter. While he would be the fastest kid on many a-block around the world, I’m sure he is not held in high regard by the truly elite sprinters. And this is probably as good as he gets.

    • It was a disappointing display by Lemaitre, he has gone from the third best 200m runner in the world to the sixth in just a year. Rather than seeing the improvement in his technique and running style that was expected this year, we’ve only seen a decline in his speed. That said I don’t think this display was indicative of his potential (whether he has passed that point where ‘potential’ applies or not, well we won’t know till next year) based on last year’s performance, his poor start and terrible bend (elite sprinters don’t come off the bend in almost last!) still gained him 19.80s, which aside from Pietro Mennea’s altitude run is the fastest ever time by a European. I think that had he sorted out his start and bend he could have potentially run under 19.50s, assuming he had the same basic speed, which clearly he didn’t this year.

      That would have made him faster than any man except Usain Bolt, at least until Blake came along. Even his current 19.80s PB puts him in the top five best over the past few years. So I think that only Bolt and Blake perhaps didn’t hold him in high regard, everyone else had to.

      To be honest I was also quite disappointed in Spearmon and Martina, they didn’t really perform either and gave Jamaica a pretty easy 1-2-3. Spearmon is capable of 19.65s but barely managed to get under 20s, Martina who technically can run 19.82s – didn’t manage sub 20s either. They were the best the rest of the world had to offer.

      Lemaitre has beaten Martina this year (in the race where they both set their SBs) so I’d still rank him higher than the Dutchman (he is in fact West Indian) as Europe’s best although he didn’t bother to defend his European 200m title, so I suppose technically Martina is European Champion and he merely proved that.

      • I saw a reaction time to the gun by Lemaitre that was the best in the field (perhaps .158 to Bolt’s .185 – both approx.) – but I don’t remember if it was the semis or the final. So he is out of the gate before anyone else – it’s the rest of the way that is the problem.

    • Ok ,got it. In the final, Lemaitre’s reaction time to the gun was .153 seconds, Bolt’s was .180. Lemaitre’s was the fastest reaction time, the closest to him being Churandy’s .157. So it’s not his start per se.

      • I’m quite surprised he got the fastest reaction, I remember that in Helsinki in the European Championships, he was frequently getting the worst reaction time. Still it isn’t so much his reaction to the gun, but what he does afterwards. In the 200m final every other man in the field had his arms straight and head down, Lemaitre had his head slightly up and his arms bent. He just doesn’t seem to power out of the blocks like everyone else, he sort of just stands up. This usually puts him a few metres behind on the bend, then he loses another 5-10m on the bend. Basically he is only so good at the 200m because his stunning speed allows him to make up the lost ground in the final 100m, but his talent lies purely in that last 100m of flat out sprinting. In France and Europe it isn’t so much of a problem, there are few sprinters he cannot catch. On the world stage though, he just doesn’t have the time to make up the ground on elite athletes. This year, sadly, it looked as though he didn’t have the speed either.

      • Yes, reaction time and actually getting your race in gear – or up to speed – or whatever metaphor applies are two different things. I did read a study maybe more than a decade ago that separated initial brain message to body part from further reaction – and stratified this by race. The study indicated that whites had slightly faster times than blacks, if I recall correctly. I have not seen that article or anything similar since. So I really can’t stand by that. But Lemaitre’s reaction time jogged (so to speak) that memory.

  50. I would venture a guess that white sprinters peak early because they are ‘discovered’ early, trained maximally, reach their peak early – and then burn out. The best African-descended runners may as yet be discovered.

  51. The thing about the inequity of announcing ‘the first black’ to do this or that, and not announcing ‘the first white’ is that it would usually be redundant to announce say, the first white in the Olympics or the first white on the moon. These were phenomena accomplished by whites. The announcement of ‘the first black’ to do one thing or another carries weight because of their historical exclusion from or their rarity in a particular phenomenon.

  52. His career looks eerily like Shirvington, Mackie and other White prospects. He has more natural talent than the 2 mentioned but it looks like he is going backwards at 22??? I think the only White sprinters who have done anything in their late 20’s have been drug cheats anyway(Kenteris, Mennea, Borzov and sadly Wells). Then again I think the same thing of Lewis, Christies, Greene and others…

    • Let’s see what Christophe Lemaitre can achieve in 2013. So far he’s performing well in the middle and in the finish. Has to improve leaving blocks though.

  53. Well, the white guys can almost break 10 flat on drugs. The fastest black guys can do so with or without.

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  56. worth a mention freshly turned 17 japanese yoshihere kiyru just ran 10.01 for a new junior world record!

    • So maybe every two years or so, a non-West African will approach or beat the ten second mark. Anyway, it will interesting to follow Kiyru’s career.

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  58. Dane kristoffer hari is definitely one for the future, held the world youth lead of 10.37 and hes only 15, absolutely crazy. surely will break the 10 second barrier in the future

    • That would be nice. We should keep in mind, however that whites off peak early. Good luck to him though. Suppose I should look him up.

  59. All evidence points to blacks are faster, whites are stronger (but it’s not ok to talk about white strength but everyone talks about black speed). Before anyone clueless asks what evidence I will say I don’t need to cover black speed but powerlifting records-mainly white, weightlifting records- mainly white, strongmen-all white, both styles wrestling-mainly white, strength events in track and field- mainly white, slow strong positions in football-mainly white. Btw boxing has more white than black champions and contenders and has since shortly after the Soviet Union fell and their boxers were allowed to turn pro.

    • But whites are NOT stronger – not by a long shot. You are referring to high-skill activities that require much coaching, training – and money – things less abundantly found in black communities. Just as whites are ‘better’ at skiing, mountain climbing, car racing, triathlons, etc. These are all sports where relatively expensive training can overcome the natural gifts of others. (And let’s not forget that steroids cost money too.)
      In baseball, blacks hit more homeruns than do whites – and do so at lower body weights. Mixed Martial Arts perhaps best exemplifies the importance of skill. For most of its formative years whites have bested blacks because of the skills they’ve achieved by having access to college wrestling programs as well as private training in the various ‘Oriental’ martial arts. Whites easily dominated almost all divisions. That has changed – now some of the best MMAers are black – either Brazilian or American – and that’s because they are now getting the skills that substantially enhance natural speed and strength.
      As a rule, West African blacks (at home or in the diaspora) are more robust physically – they have thicker bones, broader shoulders, and are more deeply muscled (perhaps not in the calves) – this translates to superior overall strength. The one drawback of this is in swimming where these characteristics rarely make for world-class efforts.
      In short, it’s hard to train speed – running equipment and technique can be improved, but they will not make a champion out of an also-ran – it’s largely a natural gift. The sports you speak of, on the other hand, are very much high-skill sports requiring much in the way of equipment, technique and training over a good deal of time. Therein lies the difference. But on an equal playing field – blacks are stronger, perhaps by 5 to 10%, than whites.

  60. Barry, you sound like someone trying very hard to explain things the way you hope them to be. I want to speak the real truth, not the truth that I want. Keep in mind i am not saying whites are better. I am saying whites are better at something -strength, and blacks are better at something-speed. It is always helpful to look carefully at who is doing research and how good the science is and how large the study and try to make sure there is not a racial superiority agenda (this is on both sides) and try to look at many studies from around the world. You say that blacks have thicker bones- research shows they have more dense bones (not thicker) but whites have wider, lower hips which are worse for running and jumping but better for lifting in wrestling or weights. Blacks are not found to have wider shoulders. Blacks have shoulder width the same as whites with narrower hips so it looks more v shaped on average but does not give as much twisting force. Research shows neither group is more heavily muscled. Of course a lot of sports are more heavily played by one group or another and this can make it hard to decipher who is best at something. Keep in mind that back when the Irish were poor the English and native born Americans said they were just stupid monkeys and so they should be strong and they generally dominated boxing. They probably weren’t superior in any way it’s just that so many did boxing because of culture that the the guys with a knack for it excelled because guys like that are in every gene pool, in the various white or black groups. However, it is useful to look at sports where blacks and whites both compete heavily. Track and field is usually in high schools in black and white schools but when you start looking at large colleges and definitely by Olympics blacks dominate fast, whites dominate strength. When I have been around LARGE amounts of blacks lifting weights and small amounts of whites the blacks get more shapely but the whites beat the blacks in what they can lift even though there are a lot fewer whites to choose from. If you have not done LARGE amounts of wrestling arts with many people, talk to people who have (make sure they are not black or white supremists who will not talk truthfully). In the extensive wrestling and grappling I have done and my friends have done we all agree (white and black) that blacks move faster,twist faster, hit faster, etc., but whites are more forceful and it’s easier to bend a black man’s arm back than a white man’s-research shows whites have shorter arms on average which is worse for some things and better for others.(remember I mean in general not every example). The black wrestlers i know, some say that whites are every bit as strong while most say whites are stronger.No matter how it’s discussed the skeletons won’t change and I predict whites will still dominate strength and blacks will dominate speed.

    • Todd Ok – if we are going to correct for informalities, I have to remind you that there is no such thing as an ‘amount’ of blacks (or whites), unless you are weighing them. I’m sure you were referring to counts – and so it would be numbers of blacks or whites.
      At any rate, I have no axe to grind here – I don’t care if one race is generally superior to another in one aspect or another – there are no sub-humans in this matter – all are equally Homo sapiens. So it’s not at all a matter of what I hope things to be – that’s irrelevant. (on the other hand, I’m not so sure you aren’t rooting for a white advantage.) My knowledge does not come from reading supremacists or anyone bent on convincing his audience of group superiority. I have read no studies (apparently you have).
      My views come from a lifetime of observance and participation. I grew up in a black inner city housing project surrounded by a virtually all-white working class neighborhood. My father was an accomplished weightlifter, his lifting partner was a Black Britisher who at the time (cerca 1950) presented himself as having the largest biceps in the world. NYC of the 1950s and 1960s was a hotbed of both bodybuilding and weightlifting competitions – and we regularly went to Madison Square Garden to watch track and field meets – you may recall the Millrose Games – and my father regularly (despite police stopping him to find out what he was up to because public running was still a rarity) ran to Coney Island from our mid-Manhattan apartment in what passed for track shoes. And we were devotees of boxing, glued to the screen on Wednesday and Friday nights – and took in many a bout at MSG, Sunnyside Gardens, and a long defunct arena in the west 60s. I was on hand the night Emile Griffith threw the fatal punches at Benny ‘kid’ Paret. I myself boxed briefly in the Police Athletic League – and trained at a boxing club in Harlem, often with Freddy Brown watching. Brown was highly-regarded trainer, later on working Roberto Duran’s corner. I posed with Dick Tiger and Joey Archer – or should I say they were kind enough to pretend we were fighting. And I grew up playing all manner of ball with both blacks and whites and went to school with both blacks and whites. And I swam for my high school. So my education in these matters comes from first-hand experience. That’s my pedigree.

      Yes, blacks are generally, as has been said, ‘split high’ relative to whites. Whites usually have shorter arms and legs. Given equal strength, such shorter limbs help in arm-wrestling and weight-lifting. In the latter, shorter limbs means one can straighten one’s legs and arms more easily and quickly – very important to the sport. This phenomenon should not be confused with strength however. It’s about leverage.

      I would still maintain that blacks on average have wider shoulders – and more robust shoulders – that is,generally speaking. more heavily muscled biceps, delts, lats and traps. That translates to superior strength.

      The Irish were represented out of proportion in early 20th century boxing – I would not say they dominated. There were Jews and Italians in the sport too – and blacks also, but segregation kept interracial bouts to a minimum. (But see what happened when Jack Johnson broke through.) And then there were guys who took Irish names because that’s what brought in the Irish crowds. This was a sport of the very poor – no rational mind (racist minds often not being rational) would conclude that the Irish were stronger for genetic reasons.

      Blacks get more shapely because they pack their fat in different areas than whites – blacks putting it on largely in the thighs, buttocks, and back of the neck. And they make muscle more easily – except for calves, a problem for black body builders who would lose body building contests because their calves were deemed deficient. (Racism certainly also played a role in those decisions.)

      I will have to return to my contention that sports based on more skill offer whites more opportunity than sports based on natural ability. In all this I’m talking about West African descended blacks. Their speed generally dissipates between 600 to 800 meters at which point whites become faster runners. And of course, much beyond this middle-distance, East and North Africans dominate running. But Russians, etc.,in boxing? They are certainly not weak, but largely they win based on skill. There are few one-punch knockout specialists among them.

    • One measurement of relative power might be the number of home runs hit by whites and blacks since the integration of baseball in 1947. I looked at the top fifty career home run totals – omitted those who played pre-integration (Ruth, etc.), those tainted by charges of steroid use (Bonds, etc) and a couple of mixed-race Hispanics – A-Rod and Pujols. That left us with 30 players. Seventeen (17) blacks make this list, 13 whites. Blacks totaled 8905 home runs, averaging 524 home runs each, while whites totaled 6302 home runs and averaged 485 each. If I take only the first 13 blacks – to give an equal number to the whites – then blacks average 551 home runs – 66 more career homers than the average of whites.

      I could include the steroid-tainted players and subtract an arbitrary sum – say, 200 home runs. Bonds with 762 would have 562 and still easily make the list (bringing the total of blacks to 18) while upping the black average. A-Rod (already omitted for being mixed race) with 649 would have 449. Below that are Sosa, 609/409 and McGwire, 583/383 – neither would make the list. So, essentially only Bonds. On the other hand, I’ve left Bagwell (449) on the list of whites even though steroid use has been suggested for him.

      What we have here is essentially two population groups under the same conditions for 66 years – they both play for all teams, both leagues – and face the same pitching. The sole measure here is one of power (excluding the very few inside the park homers). Can you make the case here that whites are stronger?

  61. Barry, thanks for your mature input. I did a bad job of making mention of the Irish. I was only using the Irish as an example to show that when they were poor and kept down by the English they were very into boxing and did well because their culture was into it and the English explained their athleticism away by acting like they were animals and stupid. This is very reminiscent of how whites have written of blacks so I often think that most sports differences can be explained by a groups love for something and they therefore do it in large numbers. However, I do think there are some differences. For me, I then start asking WHY are there differences? What has been going on over thousands of years in the ancient ancestral lands to make one group bigger or smaller, shorter or taller, faster or slower, and a thousand other things. I try to read studies on this but i am VERY leary of the author’s motivation. It is very hard to find material not written by black or white supremicists. I will say that the studies I have seen show shoulders are the same average width for both races but even if blacks’ are wider, the body is a very complex machine and “looks don’t equal performance”. I know from grabbing many men of all races common in America that the way people look often has no bearing on the power they contain and some very non-impressive looking people can really put the power out. Perhaps on some of these points we are not even disagreeing. As far as the home runs and knockouts go they could be more of a product of speed sometimes. For example, compare a slow strong boxers punch coming out compared to a fast black boxer. The faster punches are harder to block and harder to realize where they are coming in the first place and will produce more knockouts. This is more because of speed than the slow strength I am referring to (maybe this is not exactly the type of strength you are talking about-maybe you mean power?) i think Russians are very strong of the slow type and the Klitsckos have very high ko ratios. I agree with you that the Russians are usually winning because they are well schooled but that is true with any group that is doing well. In America boxing is a sport of the city. Where i now live (rural) you can’t find a boxing gym for 150 miles. Not many whites box compared to blacks and i think not many blacks wrestle compared to whites. If similar numbers did these sports i think they would both be more mixed but the black wreslers are usually speed freaks not bulls in strength (some are so good technically they throw people around like bulls though) I know this is not worth much (I’m nobody), blacks usually have a different feel than whites at wrestling. Although any body type can be effective at wrestling or boxing if the correct style is used, it seems that it usually easier for blacks to be good strikers (frictionless speed and twisty turny athleticism) but it is easier for whites to be good grapplers ( hard to bend, strong). As far as anything baseball I know nothing but the ex-professional baseball players (minors) I work with talk about “speed on the bat”. For me all the discussions may be legit but sometimes things are what they seem. Fastest men ever-black, strongest-white,most of best boxers-black, most of best wrestlers-white

    • Not only tens of thousands of years of separate human evoultionary development in West Africa from that of the rest of the world (nevertheless with some gene exchange on the periphery), but likely hundreds of thousands of years. So it is not surprising that these largely separate evolutions would manifest themselves differently. I do think that West African blacks have faster reflexes than other groups – yet I don’t think whites alone are slower, I think instead that all other humans are slower – this ‘slowness’ being the norm for non- West Africans). My interest is largely that of the human condition in all its facets. I think the author of this blog would very much like to see whites perform well – or very well – in the sprints. It may even have a racial pride undertone to it. I’m okay with that – racial pride is very common among all groups, hard to refrain from – and I wasn’t raised in a household and NYC city culture that finds such talk unacceptable. But I DO think that the effort has to be as objective as one can be, a discussion of the facts (or what we think the facts are) and not an effort to demean another group for purposes of elevating one’s own. I think Charley’s Space handles this well.
      I think our (me and you) largest philosophical differences have to do with a culture vs economics and skill vs natural ability divide. I think the Irish, long known for their brawling and ‘donnybrooks,’ largely fought in US boxing rings to make a living. This was an extraordinarily poor population, largely unschooled and urban. Boxing was an avenue to fortune and fame – if mostly in their dreams. Their numbers and success in boxing diminished over time as they assimilated into American middle class culture – and as their ranks were replaced by Italians, Jews – and eventually blacks (finally permitted to box whites.) I think these groups also went into boxing for the same material reasons that the Irish did. They too have largely abandoned it for other professions – sporting or non-sporting as they have integrated into America. For blacks, however, their West African abilities have enabled them to excel in the big money sports – baseball, then basketball, then football – all having to varying degrees using the college sports system as minor leagues. Blacks and the collegiate system are quite enmeshed now – boxing is near forgotten and has been largely taken over by those of other lands. Collegiate wrestling has never had any future earnings potential (until MMA came along) and so blacks wisely chose other sports to display their talents. Once the ground is prepared for funneling blacks into the system, they pretty much began to dominate the big team sports. Of course, track and field traditionally had little money tied to it, but natural gifts are easily detected, skill requirements are less than for other team sports, and the sports structure is well organized. (I’ve got to run now – more later).

  62. Of course, hockey requires great skill, and it’s largely a Canadian support with support in the US north. So few blacks. Basketball, a lucrative sport, its courts permitting ten players in small space, took off among blacks. Tennis, a more-skilled sport designed for two or four players in a similar space – has not taken off among blacks. (the Williams sisters being the powerful exceptions). Golf requires far more space, lots of skill, yet it’s only famous black player (admittedly mixed-race) was on track to become the greatest until he derailed (or was derailed by others). Baseball was played on sand lots and concrete yards everywhere, a skill sport, yet lucrative. Football, a bit less skill required – and the skill/leadership positions have largely gone to whites – though that is changing. Anyway, the upshot of this is that if it is a high-skill sport with little money, you are unlikely to find blacks involved. At the other end of the spectrum are low-skill, high remuneration sports – blacks are far more likely to be involved.

    Now the skill part – a few words. ALL these sports require much skill, it’s a relative thing. That blacks are less likely to be in skill sports or at skill positions than whites its because acquiring skill requires years of training and money. Upfront that’s in short supply among blacks for societal reasons.

    Wrestling and weight-lifting are high-skill, high equipment layout, high-level training and time-consuming sports. The pay-back is questionable. But yes, short arms and legs do help – that’s part of the reason that a strip of the planet from say, the Balkans to Persia is renowned for its weightlifting and wrestling. Body-type helps a lot. But doesn’t mean they are stronger.

    Thanks – –

  63. Leading the discussion to something like “Whites are not stronger, it’s because of the body-type” is actually like “Blacks are not faster, they just have longer legs”. Just my 2 cents..

  64. It’s funny but 4 years later and he is stuck in mud. Lemaitre may have peaked out at 24. Personally I don’t think he is on a crazy designer PED program, but I am not certain he doesn’t do the minimal cheating with testosterone creams. I wonder if he will double at the Euros?

    • In Europe, he can make it to the finals – will not likely win. Testosterone creams – perhaps, but have you heard anything?

  65. Looks like the first asian below 10! i guess we can start talking about the first to break 9!

  66. The first to break any sprints will almost unquestionably be a West African descendent. But 9 seconds in the 100 is probably beyond the pale of possibility.

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