On the eve of the 2015 World Senior Athletics Championships in Beijing, China, one can claim no gold medal for raising once again, the demanding debate as to what could be the real true reasons to explain the glaring dominance of “Middle Passage Africans” in Athletics, and in the sprints particularly, at the major global championships over the last ninety years or so.
Mark you, such a debate would have been under heavy taboo, only until more liberated times. In 1988, CBS Sports fired Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder in the midst of great commotion, which had ensued after, in commenting about the prowess of African-American football players, he had made the observation that “the black is a better athlete to begin with, because he’s bred to be that way……they jump higher, and run faster!”
Strictly on the basis of evidence, however, the early sprinting (and long jumping) legacy of Africa’s Middle Passage Survivors is illuminated all the way from DeHart Hubbard’s gold in the running long jump at the Paris Olympics in 1924, the success stories of Ed Gordon, Eddie Tolan and Ralph Metcalfe; and, of course, Jesse Owens’ legendary performance at the Berlin Games in 1936. Later African-American accent would be provided by a host of others, including Rafer Johnson, Bob Hayes, James “Jim” Hines, Tommie Smith, Calvin Smith, Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Maurice Greene, LaShawn Merritt, Aries Merritt and Justin Gatlin among the men; and Wilma Rudolph, Wyomia Tyus, Evelyn Ashford, Florence “Flo Jo” Griffiths-Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Gail Devers, Gwen Torrence, Marion Jones, Dawn Harper and Allyson Felix among the women.
While great names like Hasely Crawford (Trinidad & Tobago), Alberto Juantorena and Dayron Robles (Cuba), Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic), Kim Collins (St. Kitts & Nevis) and Kirani James (Grenada) among the men; and Pauline Thompson (Bahamas) and Marie Jose’-Perec (Guadeloupe) among the women, highlight the slate for non-American Africans, the island of Jamaica, on any comparative basis of size and population, takes the title of Undisputed Sprint Capital of the world; boasting an amazing array of champions, right from its debut on the world stage at the 1948 London Olympics. These include Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, Dennis Johnson, Don Quarrie, Bertland Cameron, Asafa Powell, Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake and World’s Fastest Human Usain ‘Lightning’ Bolt among the men; and Merlene Ottey, Deon Hemmings, Bridgitte Foster-Hylton, Melanie Walker, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Kaliese Spencer and the Pocket Rocket Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce among the women. Moreover, Jamaica’s exports to other countries have included Ben Johnson and Donovan Bailey (Canada), Linford Christie (England) and Sandra Richards-Ross (U.S.A.).
The speculations and prognostications in respect of our question have come thick and fast in recent years, having now developed to a type of pseudo-science, with the conversation around body dynamics and now patenting terms like fast twitch muscle fibres.
The most obvious argument, however, may not be the most obviously popular. It is the one as enunciated by Olympic Track Legend Michael Johnson on the eve of the London 2012 Olympics in a ‘brave’ disclosure, published by Andy Clayton in the New York Daily News of Thursday July 5, 2012. Johnson, who became the first man to win gold in the 200M and 400M in a single Olympics when he did so at the 1996 Atlanta Games, was quoted thus: “Descendants of West African slaves have a ‘superior athletic gene’. It’s a fact that hasn’t been discussed openly before. It’s a taboo subject in the States, but, it is what it is. Why shouldn’t we discuss it?”
“Over the last few years, athletes of African descent have dominated athletics finals.
In emphasizing this point, Johnson referenced the 100M Final of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where all eight sprinters are believed to have been descended from slaves. Usain Bolt had been joined in the final by fellow Jamaicans Asafa Powell and Michael Frater, African-Americans Walter Dix and Darvis Patton, Richard Thompson and Marc Burns from Trinidad & Tobago, and Churandy Martina from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, competing for Holland.
Being forty-four years old at the time, Johnson took a DNA test which proved he is of West African descent.
“All my life I believed I became an athlete through my own determination, but it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations.”
“Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me – I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us.”
Against the background of the gory details of how “the fittest of the fittest” have survived through four hundred years of blood, sweat and tears, this argument would seem naturally adequate. Except that, in accepting, one should immediately be confronted with the indication that, whatever the ingredients from the slave trade-slavery-colonialism experience that transmute to sprint champions at global athletics events, these would have been very heavily concentrated on the island of Jamaica. Indeed, Jamaica is reputed to have been the seasoning capital and an island prison for the most rebellious slaves brought from Africa. But alas!…we’re then immediately transported to the fact that these most rebellious slaves were mainly so, not because they were savages, but because they simply refused to give up faith in their god and their ancient traditions of spirituality. This would therefore define a special people, and, perhaps, the truth of who these people are may well provide more valuable insight into their ability to run real fast!
The “Captivity of Judah”:
The prophecies of the Bible, regardless of one’s other perspectives about them, are amazingly consistent and revealing in respect of the chronological implications of “the last days” and the conditional specifications of “the captivity of Judah’’.
Joel 3 v 1-3 & 5-6: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Ju’dah and Je-ru’sa-lem; I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Je-hosh’a-phat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Is’ra-el, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.
And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink”
“Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:
The children also of Ju’dah and the children of Je-ru’sa-lem have ye sold unto the Gre’cians, that ye might remove them far from their border”
Amos 9 v 7: “Are ye not as the children of the E-thi-o’pi-ans unto me, O children of Is’ra-el? saith the Lord.
Isa.5 v 7: “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Is’ra-el, and the men of Ju’dah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry”
Gen.15 v 13: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years”
We all should be quite aware of the fact that captivity, slavery and oppression have been a part of the endurance of practically all racial groupings at a particular point in time. But, if we are following all the clues, we recognize that references to Israel’s “captivity of Judah in the last days” are not features confirming the Jewish holocaust experience, but those incidents that framed experience of the enslavement and oppression of Africans in the western civilizations, mainly undertaken by England, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland and America. Moreover, the specific history of the making of the Jamaican population and society, should only indicate a high concentration of the descendants of Judah on this remarkable island, averaging only 2.7 million.
While successive Jamaican Governments seem to be still struggling to determine which Brand Jamaica to politically mobilize, promote and sustain, the entire world knows that Jamaica’s brand is REGGAE & RASTAFARI!
Isa.60 v 22: “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time”
From our PATRIARCH, JUDAH:
The captivity of Judah will continue to exhibit exceptional hastening abilities in Beijing over the next few weeks. This is only what our Patriarch Judah would have expected from his progeny, based upon things he shared about himself, found in The Testament of the Patriarch Judah, as follows:
“I was swift in my youth, and obedient to my father in everything”
“And the Lord showed me favour in all my works both in the field and in the house. I know that I raced a hind, and caught it, and prepared the meat for my father, and he did eat. And the roes I used to master in the chase, and overtake all that was in the plains. A wild mare I overtook, and caught it and tamed it. I slew a lion and plucked a kid out of its mouth. I took a bear by its paw and hurled it down the cliff, and it was crushed. I outran the wild boar, and seizing it as I ran, I tore it in sunder. A leopard in Hebron leaped upon my dog, and I caught it by the tail, and hurled it on the rocks, and it was broken in twain”
“And Jacob my father slew Beelesath, king of all the kings, a giant in strength, twelve cubits high. And fear fell upon them, and they ceased warring against us. Therefore my father was free from anxiety in the wars when I was with my brethren. For he saw in a vision concerning me that an angel of might followed me everywhere, that I should not be overcome”
There’s a little story of a man called TRUTH, who had his clothes stolen by a treacherous brother, was beaten up badly and left to die in the wilderness on the outskirts of town. The wicked brother proceeded into town and, disguised in TRUTH’s clothes, went on to make quite a name for himself, taking full advantage of the great reputation and honour that there was for TRUTH in that town.
Then one day, after coming out of his long coma, and immediately remembering what had happened to him, TRUTH strengthened himself and made his way towards the town.
Conclusion?…..Chances are, all the people who see him, will also recognize that ravenous brother, whenever the NAKED TRUTH comes into town!