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