The Virtual Disappearance of the White Male Sprinter in the United States: A Speculative Essay

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John George University of Central Oklahoma

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Over the past 30 years almost all world-class United States sprinters have been black. There were also many fast black sprinters in the United States before the 1960s, but in addition there were a considerable number of world-class white sprinters. In fact, during the 1940s and 1950s the fastest men were white. This was not the case during the 1930s, when the best male sprinters were black. This essay discusses the phenomenon and attempts to give reasons for it. Sociological explanations seem considerably more plausible than physical characteristics based on perceived racial differences.

John George is with the Departments of Political Science and Sociology, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK 73034.

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