Good to see you weighing in on this issue. You make some good points, and do make a very interesting point about the RELATIONSHIP between the declining depth of quality non-African performances and improving African performances in distance running
YES....I see your point, there is a stong influencing RELATIONSHIP between these two occurences (and of course, in hindsight, that makes sense to me now).
Antonio Cabral wrote:
In my opinion the Kenyan dominance and the european decline (or out of Africa) that´s the same.
In one sentence - European decline of performances have to do with African dominance also and that dominance is killing all the interest for the distance running out of Africa
BUT........I still say that though these simultaneous decrease and increase in number of quality distance-running performers from non-African and African countries are related and influence one another, there are also ROOT causes of each that are different.
For example, you wrote:
Ok, excellent points. BUT AGAIN...... WHY did the East Africans dominate that 10,000 m Athens race SO MUCH?? WHY do the non-African runners get lapped? WHY is there ONLY TWO WHITE RUNNERS FROM GREAT BRITAIN AND THE USA IN THE TOP 55 ALL-TIME PERFORMERS OF THE 10,000 meters, AND 50 EAST AFRICANS??? You are saying that such occurences lead to discouragement, and lack of motivation by non-African runners and further exacerbate the situation, and I could not agree more!! BUT......do you know the expression "what came first, the chicken or the egg? " :-) It is not perfectly applicable here, but if you do know it, you will understand my point, which is:
Antonio Cabral wrote:
In my opinion, in lots of situations young people give up to try a sport or changes of sport because actual African dominance in running distance events.
In my opinion, what´s the image that you create or the motivation that you send if you are an European young kid and see the last 10000m Athens Olympics and you see that first that be born out of Africa he is quite overlap by all the rest, if you take out those from America and Europe that did born in Africa?
You sit down to see the Olympics in your TV or WCCC. What you see – a bunch of Africans leading the run all the time. This motivates a lot an African but desn´t motivate an European.
What´s the motivation to go through running distance sport for a young Portuguese talent if he goes to a local run and there are some Kenyans that take all leading places ?
what came first (in the last 15 years), newly dominating African runners, or discouraged, unmotivated, less great non-African runners?? Clearly, in this situation, in order to get discouraged, one NEEDS A REASON to be discouraged. And the reason is the large amount of Africans running under 27:00 in the 10k like it is a walk in the park. So again, WHY are East Africans able to run so great, that a Carlos Lopes or Fernando Mamede would even get discouraged???? MY explanation is superior running GENES.
Did you read my recent posts talking of studies that compared East African highlanders to other higherlanders and sea level residents??? Without going over it all again, it PROVED that Ethiopians dealt with lack of Oxygen in the air better than any other people earth. They naturally had a superior ability to PULL oxygen from air and use it. This is just likely one natural advantage they have. I am sure there are many others.
So lets put all this in perspective, this decline in the depth of quality non-African runners and the incline in depth of quality of African runners:
1) In the late 80's/early 90's..
East African nations, after decades of turmoil, famines, civil wars, and other reasons which stunted their distance running development, start to allow/enourage/promote more organized MASS participation (not just a few runners here or there) of their distance runners on the international scene. These are the most gentically gifted distance runners on the planet (my opinion, backed up mucg fact), and they quickly start to dominate even more than ever before.
2) many non-African nations continue their slide towards softer, lazier, easier, non-active societies. Obesity increases in many nations. This dwindles the # of potential athletes that could become great athletes. Computers, tvs, cars, video games, discourage active populations. Also, other sports gain in popularlity, also extracting some potential runners from developing in these non-African countries.
Now notice, these two developments ARE independent of each other, which is the argument that I and others were making (well, they are only dependent on the fact that as the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. But being a "poor" nation is not ALL good for developing distance runners. It is likely that many a Geb or Bekele died in the famines of Ethiopia).
BUT......as you pointed out, as these two developments simultaneous occured, one development (more great East African runners) INFLUENCED a more rapid occurence in the other (decline of non-African performances) because the already diminishing pool of top non-African distance runners (due to societal reasons) was further decreased by the first occurence (more great African runners), because even the few great potential white distance runners out there were being discouraged about the possibility of ever beating those East Africans. And the dominance of East Africans encouraged their runners to participate even more (since they were dominating the world).
So yes, these two somewhat independent developments certainly INFLUENCED and sped up the occurence of each, which is very interesting.
But such an observation in no way defeats my contention that MAIN REASON for domination of East Africa runners over the last 15+ years is the increaed mass participation of their superior NATURALLY TALENTED runners. I still stand by that strongly. If non-African society had not gotten softer, and had not gotten discouraged by the great East Africans (lets say their motivation stayed high through large financial rewards), I STILL contend that the # of East Africans under 27:00 would GREATLY dominate the # non-African runners under 27:00. And the only explanation for such an occurence would be and is genetics.