Sins of Omission

White Sprinters

For several years now, professional baseball has been pouring millions of dollars into developing black players.  Evidently, the number of black players, at least American blacks, has been in decline.  NASCAR is funding programs to develop black drivers after fielding complaints that the sport is too white.  Similarly, the NHL now has a “Diversity Program” designed to put more blacks on the ice.  I can only imagine the outcry if the 75-percent-black NBA funded development programs for white players.  Since I ran the 100 and 220, though, I’m rooting for the “White Sprinter Project.”

Unknown to many today, whites dominated the sprints and accounted for nearly all of the world records until the 1960’s.  During all those years of white-sprinting prowess, blacks were competing also, even winning American championships and gold medals in the Olympics.  It was not as if blacks were prohibited from competing.  Nearly everyone knows that Jesse Owens captured the 100 and 200 at Berlin in 1936, and Owens was only one of many black sprinters America produced.  But America also produced white sprinters.  So, too, did the nations of Europe.  Whites scorched the tracks of both hemispheres.  There was even an Australian, Hec Hogan, who tied the world record in the 100-yard dash in 1954 and put the Southern Hemisphere on the sprinting map.  If blacks...

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