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Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. - Education - Nairaland

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Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by edward1984(m): 10:45am On Aug 07, 2015
Twenty-eight of the last 38 world record holders in the men's 100-meter dash have been black athletes, and researchers at two universities think they know why.

A new study by researchers at Howard University, a historically black school in Washington D.C., and Duke University in North Carolina suggests why black athletes may outperform athletes of other races in running events. Physical differences in the length of the limbs and the structure of the body mean the center of gravity tends to be higher in the bodies of black people, the researchers say.

Since 1968, the world record holders in the men's 100-meter dash have been black athletes. And since 1912, when the International Association of Athletics Federations started keeping track of the record holders in that event, only 10 non-black athletes out of 38 individuals have held the title.

"There is a whole body of evidence showing that there are distinct differences in body types among blacks and whites," said researcher Edward Jones, who researches adolescent obesity, nutrition and body composition at Howard University. "These are real patterns being described here. Whether the fastest sprinters are Jamaican, African or Canadian, most of them can be traced back generally to Western Africa."


Why center of gravity matters

Although there are also cultural factors at work, it all comes down to body makeup.
Blacks tend to have longer limbs with smaller circumferences, meaning that their centers of gravity are higher compared to whites of the same height, Asians and whites tend to have longer torsos, so their centers of gravity are lower.

These differences are small, and we don't really see them when we look at someone, We are only rarely struck by how long someone's legs are.
But these small differences certainly matter in races lasting less than 10 seconds.

The height of a person's center of gravity affects how fast his feet are moving when they hit the ground. Each step a runner takes is like falling except the athlete breaks the fall with his foot. So the feet of a person with a higher center of gravity will hit the ground faster than someone with a lower center of gravity.


Torsos and legs

In the study, the scientists gathered data available from the militaries of 17 nations. Militaries measure their recruits for uniform fittings and are a reliable source of data. To approximate torso length, the scientists compared the average height of the military men with their sitting height – the distance from a chair to the top of the head.

Results showed the average sitting height of blacks was about 1.5 inches (3 cm) shorter than that of whites who were the same height. This means that, among blacks and whites of the same height, the legs of blacks were longer (think of a high-waisted person), while the torsos of whites were longer.

This physical difference gives a black athlete an advantage, even against an athlete of another race who is taller and has a higher center of gravity. From a physics perspective, the legs do the work of running and the torso of the body is just extra weight that the legs must carry, so the race goes to the runners with longer legs and shorter torsos.

By contrast, whites tend to have the advantage in swimming, where a longer torso allows for faster speeds.

"Swimming actually generates a wave. The sport is the art of surfacing on that wave. When the wave is bigger – because the torso is longer – they go faster.

Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by Imortal001(m): 10:52am On Aug 07, 2015
The likes of #blessing_okagbare, #usain_bolt and #tyson_gay etc., but this scientist are trying to rate the black race high so that the white race will not look at us as inferior and look at themselves as superior.
#SayNoToRacism
Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by Nobody: 10:53am On Aug 07, 2015
thank God I'm a black nigga.

1 Like

Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by Crieff(m): 10:54am On Aug 07, 2015
Well, it makes perfect sense however it is just a factor and not a determinant.
Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by Visocrate(m): 10:54am On Aug 07, 2015
nice article but where is your source or reference
Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by Nobody: 12:49pm On Aug 07, 2015
Imortal001:
The likes of #blessing_okagbare, #usain_bolt and #tyson_gay etc., but this scientist are trying to rate the black race high so that the white race will not look at us as inferior and look at themselves as superior.
#SayNoToRacism


sensible

2 Likes

Re: Scientists Theorize Why Black Athletes Run Fastest. by edward1984(m): 8:28am On Aug 08, 2015
Imortal001:
The likes of #blessing_okagbare, #usain_bolt and #tyson_gay etc., but this scientist are trying to rate the black race high so that the white race will not look at us as inferior and look at themselves as superior.
#SayNoToRacism


Nice point.

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