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Is it true what they say? That African-Americans are just ‘naturally’ better athletes than their white counterparts? For years, blacks have rebuffed this notion, but former Olympian Michael Johnson believes that it’s true. He even went so far as to say that slavery has left a genetic imprint on black Americans that makes us superior athletes:
Retired Olympian, Michael Johnson, has raised considerable controversy over a recent statement that the descendants of slaves have special genes that make them superior athletes.
According to the Daily Mail, the decorated sprinter stated, on a Channel 4 documentary entitled ‘Michael Johnson: Survival of the Fastest,’ that “it’s impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn’t left an imprint through the generations.” While acknowledging that he began his athletic career “through my own determination,” Johnson believes a “superior athletic gene” is that imprint.
It is a fact that track and field events have a disproportionate number of black athletes at the top of the sport. Current Olympic 100 meter champion, Usain Bolt, was born in Jamaica, and the eight finalists from 2008 are all likely to have slaves as ancestors: three Jamaicans, two from Trinidad & Tobago, two black Americans, and one from the island of Curacao, part of the Dutch Caribbean.