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Will Africa ruin athletics!

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  • Will Africa ruin athletics!

    Now, make sure you read all of this posting before getting hot under the collar. I predict that African domination of athletics will grow and grow. From initial male middle and long distance success they have moved down in distance. It's just a matter of time before the world's greatest sprinter is an African. At some point, African's will start looking to the field events, and, of course, African women athletes are becoming more and more successful. But why could this ruin athletics? Well, athletics is funded by the West, and I don't believe that European and US viewers will turn TVs on in their millions if "their men and women" aren't winning something! Commercially, African domination is not a good idea. Now, personally, I love the African runners, and will be more than happy to watch them 'til the day I die. But, I'm not your average sports' fan. I'm British, but I want El Guerrouj to win the Olympic 1500m this year because I think he's "earned" it. I wouldn't want a pile up in the final and some British outsider winning by default. African domination is a problem for the future of athletics because it will eventually lead to TV companies pulling out of athletics - I bet you!

  • #2
    Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

    I live on the same continent, Europe, and disagree with you. Swedes love fair competitions - despite the competitor:s nationality or race. Our national athletics ratings have never been higher, and this is based on the success our top stars have enjoyed over the past years - against the Americans, Africans and other Europeans. African field eventers have already made a big impact on athletics, with Cloete besting Bergqvist, and Freitag handing Holm a loss in the mens and womens high jump competitions last summer in Paris. Are you meaning Africans who are not from South Africa, but from Kenya and Ethiopia?

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    • #3
      Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

      I think you are fooled. African performances in middle and long distances have been mostly stagnating since late 90's. In fact, a slight decline in most distances can be detected. It is quite probable that Nigerians will catch Americans in sprints, if they get better coaching, but for Europeans nothing will change, because they are already a second-class here (if I exclude all those "Europeans" from the Caribbean). In Europe, there is obviously a lack of interest in track, which can be seen from the stagnation since mid 80's. But you can't push European kids into track by torture. On the other hand, it seems that the performances have been again slightly growing since late 90's. We will see if this is only a temporary development or a beginning of some change.

      Personally I would be curious, if Africans succeed in technical events. So far we haven't seen many (in fact almost no) Africans in disciplines like the 110 m hurdles or jumps.

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      • #4
        Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

        <So far we haven't seen many (in fact almost no) Africans in disciplines like the 110 m hurdles or jumps.>

        Freitag? Cloete? Or don't the white Africans count? The whole concept of this thread is revolting.
        "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
        by Thomas Henry Huxley

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        • #5
          Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

          'US viewers will turn TVs on in their millions if "their men and women" aren't winning something!'

          Maurice Greene is American and the Olympic Champion, and the US still doesn't give a toss.

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          • #6
            Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

            The problem may not be so much whether your local Joe continues to watch a 5km because there are "too many" Kenyans or not, but with the sponsors. If sponsors and tv start to feel that the sport does not attract a large enough audience in Europe, then yes, it will hurt the sport. But again, it's not just solely a problem of Africans as all of us (sponsors included)want to see a Haile or Daniel Komen break world records, but it's also a case of not having anyone just behind in the pack that can do something special which is lacking amongst the majority of European and American athletes.

            What can, however, have a detrimental impact on the sport is if/when the Olympics or World Champs 5000m and 10000m final is stacked with 3 Kenyans, 3 Ethiopians, 3 Qataris (from Kenya), 3 Kenyans representing Bahrain, etc. Besides the 3 Ethiopians we could have pratically an entire Kenyan final....Not sure how this will go over.

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            • #7
              Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

              >What can, however,
              >have a detrimental impact on the sport is if/when the Olympics or World Champs
              >5000m and 10000m final is stacked with 3 Kenyans, 3 Ethiopians, 3 Qataris (from
              >Kenya), 3 Kenyans representing Bahrain, etc. Besides the 3 Ethiopians we could
              >have pratically an entire Kenyan final....Not sure how this will go over.

              Nearly ecstatic

              Now we just need to squeeze out those 3 ethiopians with some abu dabi Kenyans & we're there !!!

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              • #8
                Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                ITS normal to root for athletes from your own country, race or ethnic group & not " revolting".THUS, I'm not offended when a non- black says a sport is "too black". Opportunity to compete FAIRLY is the key. PLATO SATCHMAN 5/7 04.

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                • #9
                  Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                  Sorry Satch, I respectfully disagree. Even "benign" racism is a racism.
                  "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                  by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                  • #10
                    Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                    How quickly we forget. The entire history of athletics in general and track in particular has been one of 'someone' dominating; in no particular order: the Scandanavians, the Jews, the Eastern Bloc, the American Caucasians, then the African-Americans, etc., etc. In the future the Asians will dominate. And so it goes. Don't be caught in the Now - see the big picture.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                      Bannister states that North Africans have special "gifts":

                      "El Guerrouj now has held the record for four years, he has got that kind of margin. He is extremely good, he is built beautifully for it. He of course comes from north Africa where they have those special gifts."

                      http://www.eurosport.com/home/pages/V3/ ... 4478.shtml

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                      • #12
                        Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                        Steve Lactic makes some good points. Distance running was very popular in Italy (as a spectator sport, not just as a participatory sport) in the '80's/early '90's when they had some of the best runners in the world, such as Stefano Mei, Alberto Cova, Francesco Panetta, Salvatore Antibo, Orlando Pizzolato, Gianni Poli, etc.

                        You can imagine how sponsors were eager to support road races and track meets that would feature these athletes. Such events would receive a great deal of media attention and public interest.

                        Italy still has some top marathoners, but they are no longer among the very best 5/10 runners in the world. You could understand how sponsors might want to think about putting their dollars (lire?, Euros?) into other events, if it just seems like another faceless Kenyan is winning.

                        With that said, at least from my perspective, it seems as if Italian races do a good job of promoting the local heroes. There's usually at least one or two top Italians who can at least compete (even if they don't win) with the Africans.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                          As for Sweden, i think right now they are a very special case. It's a small country with a tremendous tradition of track & field that happens to have several of the very best in the world. The DN Galan is a guaranteed sell-out.

                          And the smaller meetings (Folksam Grand Prix) are also now well-attended if a couple of the big stars (Holm, Klüft, Olsson, Bergqvist) show up.

                          As I mentioned in my previous post about the Italians, if you were a company in Sweden looking for some exposure, wouldn't you want to me involved with track & field somehow now?

                          Hopefully this will continue a positive cycle, wherein kids go to a meet, see some stars they can emulate, take up the sport, and become either stars themselves or life-long fans.

                          But look at Norway. They have no top athletes now and the sport is suffering. Bislett hasn't been a sell-out for years. Okay, that's partially because the Golden League status has detracted from what used to make Bislett great (lots of distance races), but they don't have a Hattestad, Moen, Hoen or Rodal anymore.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                            You would probably be able to make the same claim if one particular part of the world was dominating no matter which part of the world was, as long as the public buying was not an integral part of that world.

                            If the Arctic Region suddenly dominated the track world there would be a lot less interest in Europe, the US and other parts of the world and sponsorship would go down.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Will Africa ruin athletics!

                              >If the Artic Region suddenly dominated the track world there would be a lot less interest in Europe, the US and other parts of the world<

                              If for no other reason than that we'd all be under water.

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