With all due respect Renato, and while I certainly agree with you about the importance of societal reasons in producing champions, ULTIMATELY genetic factors are the BIGGEST advantage that East Africans have.
So many of the greatest non-African distance running champions (and I can't go thru a whole list here) were raised in comfortable middle class backgrounds, and were not very different from tons of non-African people living today in terms of childhood activity. So what made these past non-African distance champions so great???(if it was not their poor, hard upbringing, or lack of tv's, etc) Was it the fact that nearly each and everyone of those great white distance runners exericised a ton as a youth (whether it be soccer, or running, or just playing) ??? No. (of course SOME did indeed do that, but just as many did not). What each of these great non-African runners had in common was simple: talent and drive. And so many non-African runners today also have that same talent and drive (Mottram who is 2nd fastest non-African ever in 5k, Ritzenhein who looks poised to run near 27 in the 10k someday soon, or Baldini, Olympic marathon champion). While growing up in poor areas, and where you exericise a lot as young child may help toughen an athlete, and help his development, it is CERTAINLY not a pre-requisite towards being a great distance runner. Talent, and drive is what you need. Now sure, the lack of depth in non-African runners of today does have something to do with white society getting "softer", but a soft society can still produce great runners. Look at Marius Bakken. Did he grow up running to school as 6 year old?? Was he working on a farm for 10 hours a day?? No. He was active as a child I am sure, but his family had $, and he spent time in the US as exchange student, and then returned to Norway. So why is he so good??? TALENT.....and drive to be great (and a very scientific approach to running, something I think you can appreciate). There will always be whites with such talent and drive, but there will ALWAYS BE MORE EAST AFRICANS WITH MORE TALENT and drive.
There have been plenty of African champions who grew up in reasonable comfort, and who were not particularly highly active as children (sure they were active.....but you don't think ANY american children are very active though???). But they DID have East African genes in common with their fellow-champions who ran back and forth to school every day. And that talent factor is the common bond of all champions.
How many East Africans have run 26:30 or better?? 4 or 5 now, right?? How many non-Africans have run under 27:10??? ONE. People......40 to 50 seconds in a 10k is a BIGGGGGGGGGGGGGG difference. C'mon now. It is another UNIVERSE of ability, a whole different league. You can comprehend that, right?? This is not about soft societies, or lack of drive when you get to the TOP of running. This is about genetic brilliance at its highest level.
Did you hear what trackhead and I said about the study on Ethiopian highlanders??? Their blood, at 10,000 feet was as highly oxygenated as a white person living at sea level. This was thought to be impossible. Even other highlanders like Tibetans or Peruvians did not demonstrate that. Why? Because those people's ancestors moved to the highlands later than the Ethiopians, who have been in their highlands for just about forever. So the Tibetans and Peruvians adaptations to high living has been not quite as complete. But the Ethiopians??? Perfection. Think about that, if their blood is as oxygenated at altitude as mine is at sea level, what do you think happens when they come down to sea level to race???? I think you know. Their blood is probably so chock full of oxygen that is a joke.
People are different. The East Africans are different. Occasionaly a white person also is a freak of nature, and he too exhibits extreme talent and success. That's great. But about THIRTY East Africans at 27:10 or under, and ONE non-African??? In the top 55 all-time 10k runners, there is one Great Britain and one non-East African-born American. And that ALL due to our soft societies??? I don't think so. They are beating us 50 to 1 in producing cream of the crop champions. That's an ABSURD difference. And was Mark Nenow great because he ran to school, or because he worked on a farm?? No. He had talent and drive. But again, his talent level was on a completely different scale than the level of talent a Geb or Bekele has.
This has nothing to do with giving up. If anything, Renato's explanation is more of a white flag than mine. Why??? Because Africa will remain poor for awhile for sure, and non-African societies are getting softer every day. So if that societal difference is the big explanation on why the Africans kill non-African runners, then there really is no hope. My talent explanation could be overcome though through superior training techniques(like I said, Marius Bakken is a great example of a scientific approach to running success). Of course I don't know what those exact techniques are, but if you train JUST like an East African, and he has way more talent than you, he wins period. But if you somehow find a way to train SMARTER, and in a superior fashion (and the much maligned exercise scientist could be the one to make such discoveries) than the East Africans train, then again, you could overcome their superior natural talent.
But whether my statements are a sign of
"giving up" or not is besides the point. Facts are facts, and one is better off facing them then living a fantasy in my opinion. Also, by not accepting my explanations, than one often jumps to the conclusion of drugs being the reason for the East Africans dominance, and I just think that is unfair and wrong. Does society explain the lack of great white 100 meter sprinters????? WELL??? of course not. And therefore there is no reason to think that since genetic reasons explain THAT difference ( between sprinters of West African heritage and sprinters of non-West African heritage) than genetic reasons can also explain the difference in distance running between East Africans and non-East Africans.